Getting your car detailed on any budget

There’s nothing like the look, feel and smell of a brand new car. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. While it’s impossible to keep your car in flawless condition, you can make it clean and shiny again.

You don’t have to spend big bucks to keep your ride looking fresh. Just $50 can make a huge difference.

“We would do a hand wash,” said professional detailer Ric Vega. “We would also apply a hand wax, clean the windows, the wheels, and also do a quick vacuum on the interior of the vehicle and give it a quick wipe down on the dash.”

For around $100, your auto detailer may spend more time focusing on the exterior.

“Instead of the wax, we would give it a hand wash, a clay bar treatment, which removes all the bonded service contaminants on the vehicle — bits of tar, bugs, just other things like that — and then we would apply a synthetic sealant,” Vega added.

For a little less than $200, many auto detailers offer a complete interior or exterior detail.

“So, we could either get the inside looking as good as it possibly can, which does take about a full day, or do an exterior detail,” said Vega. “The sealant’s included in that as well, but we would also be buffing and polishing to remove all the surface scratches [and] get the exterior looking as good as possible.”

A deluxe auto detail – which includes every step of a full interior and exterior detailing – typically costs more than $250. You’ll likely pay extra if you drive a large truck or SUV, or even a black vehicle.

“Oftentimes, if we’re working on a black vehicle there could be a $30 surcharge,” Vega said. “Black shows every minor imperfection in the exterior. So, we just have a couple of extra steps that are involved to ensure that we get it looking as good as possible.”

Regardless of what you plan to spend, Angie’s List says make sure your expectations are clear.

“Having your car auto detailed is actually a pretty personal service. So, you want to talk to them about all of the specifics of your car, understand their experience and be sure to point out any areas that need a little extra attention like [if] the kids have left an ice cream cone in the back seat and you want to make sure that gets out,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks.

“We always ask all of our customers do you have any particular issues,” added Vega. “The most common are dog hair, stains, spills, things like that. Certain parts of the exterior could have deeper scratches or they ran into some road paint.”
When it comes to stain removal, expect to pay about $50, depending on the severity of the stain.

Auto detailing experts say it’s best to just leave the stain alone and bring your car to them. Many times people try several different household products to clean the stain and end up setting it in.