How to Find The Best Auto Detailing

How to find the best Auto detailing business is good question. It used to be a far more lucrative operation than it is now; in the present economy, however, many shops for automotive maintenance and repairs, including detailing shops, have suffered financially. With that in mind, most consumers want to know two things:  what is the procedure for detailing an automobile, and whats the general range of auto detailing prices? 

Auto detailing follows these steps, pretty much sequentially (and one should bear in mind that, if the cost is too exorbitant, this is an excellent do-it-yourself list as well).

Phase one is the cars interior.  The three basic steps to interior detailing include vacuuming, cleaning what cannot be vacuumed, and conditioning the car for protection against damage and the elements. 

First, the detailer will vacuum the cars interior thoroughly, using vacuuming crevice tools for hard to reach places, and the round carpet brush for carpet-pile matting; one completes the vacuuming by cleaning the seats, using the softest round brush the vacuum has available.  

The vacuuming should always be done first in the detailing before the exterior of the car is cleaned; otherwise, the vacuum will blow dirt on the freshly scrubbed automobile, and dry (non-muddy) dirt is far easier to vacuum up.  In addition, a wet car being vacuumed poses a threat to electrical connections. 

After the vacuuming is completed, the detailer will clean all the areas that cannot be thoroughly cleaned by vacuuming, swiping a cloth over the seat cover surfaces, headliners, dashboard, visors, mirrors and door panels.  A caution to the do-it-yourself: most detailers use interior cleaning solutions that are color-tested and safe for upholstery and carpeting.  If one is unsure, one can check for color fading by using the solution on a hidden area first.  If discoloration does occur, one can use mild soap and water mixtures instead.  

Conditioning takes place after the interior surfaces are dry.  The detailer will treat interior vinyl, leather and rubber surfaces with an interior solution treatment that conditions the surfaces for protection and longer duration.  A do-it-yourselfer can use 303 or Meguiars conditioning solution.  This particular kind of conditioning should be done regularly anyway, to keep the surfaces pliable and prevent crackingperhaps every two months on average. 

Exterior detailing is next, as the detail cleans window glass with towels designed only for that purpose (if other rags are used, there is a chance of wax or cleaner streaking the glass).   Most detailers will try to clean the car in the cool shade, as hot surfaces cause the water to dry too quickly, increasing the chance of glass spotting. 

The detailer rinses loose surface dirt first; thus minimizing abrasion from these particles.  He will then wash the car with a proper cleaner/washer ratio (labeled clearly on the auto cleaning formula), which avoids residue.  While the car is wet, the detail will wash from the top down, using terry cloth wash mitts for avoid damage.  Most detailers will avoid wearing belt buckles and riveted jeans (or carrying key chains) to avoid scratches. 

Finally, the car is waxed, in a cool shaded area (again to avoid too-quick drying), using terry cloth mitts to apply and buff the wax into the surface.   If wax needs to be removed, a soft, dry towel and toothbrush (for the edges) are usually sufficient. 

Why make this a do-it-yourself project?  To answer, one should consider the auto detailing prices for all these procedures.  

On average (nationally), hand washes run $40-$60; express wax jobs run $50-75; a complete detail job as described will average $250-350.  It would take another article to detail the other services that many shops for automotive maintenance and repairs  offer, such as leather treatment ($90-130), engine steam cleaning ($300 and up) and minor dent repair ($150 minimum).  

The prices are one reason auto detailing might remain a do-it-yourself job for many consumers. These are the consumers that are looking for how to find the best auto detailing supplies at a cheap price.