The Complete Guide to Car Detailing

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

Learn what car detailing is, the benefits of having it done, and how to pick the right car detailing service in San Diego.



It might not be obvious that your vehicle needs to be detailed, but there’s a good chance that you don't realize all the dirt and grime that has built up on your car's exterior. And your car’s interior might look clean to the naked eye but there are nooks and crannies everywhere — impossible to reach places for dust and debris to hide.


Whether you're an avid car enthusiast or just someone who drives to get from point A to point B, there are many benefits that come with detailing your vehicle.


What’s in this article?

What Is Car Detailing?

Car detailing is the process of deep cleaning and restoring your vehicle's exterior and interior to like new or it’s best condition. Generally, a professional car detailer offers many services.


Simply put, they wash and wax your vehicle, vacuum the carpet and seats, and shampoo the upholstery if necessary. They remove stains from fabric and may apply a leather conditioner to protect against cracks and fading of interior leather surfaces.


There are also a few in depth, specialty treatments that can really enhance the look of your car.

A clay bar treatment will remove light contamination from the paint, making it smooth and ready for a paint protection to be applied. Without a clay bar treatment, the paint protection (wax, sealant, and ceramic coating) protector won’t adhere properly.

Have you been noticing little, rusty dots on your car? An iron remover can help with that! Iron remover works on deeper contamination embedded in the paint pores.


Enhance the gloss and shine of your paint job with a simple paint polish. It’ll clean up the clear coat and may remove minor imperfections like scratches, oxidation, and overspray.


Doing maintenance reconditioning on your car will help preserve the life of your paint job and keep it looking shiny and new.


Car Detailing Tools

Most times, a professional car detailing toolbox includes a variety of the following:

  • Microfiber towels

  • Washing mitts

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Upholstery cleaner

  • Vinyl and leather surface protector

  • Window cleaner

  • Car and carpet safe cleaner

  • Small brushes

  • Polisher

  • Pressure washer

  • Extractor

  • Steam cleaner

While you can easily pick up most of these at your local store, a professional car detailer is often equipped with state-of-the-art tools and quality products.


The Interior

While every car detailing business is different, you can expect that most automotive detailing services will remain the same.

For example, you can expect that your car's seats and carpet will be vacuumed during the process. The interior surface may also be shampooed to remove stains and a conditioner applied for added protection against future wear and tear.


Glass cleaning might not seem like something for the interior, but build-up can accumulate on the inside of your windows and windshield.


Additionally, many detailers spray air freshener into the interior so that it smells fresh and new when they return your car to you.


The Exterior

A professional detailing company should clean the entire exterior surface of your car, which includes door handles, headlights, taillights, and the bumper. The entire surface should be polished to remove any scratches, swirls, or water spots.


The car's exterior is often waxed for added protection against the elements, which also makes it easier to clean in the future.


Some may offer a ceramic coating option as well. Ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that bonds to the paint and acts as an extra layer of protection. Ceramic coating makes your car easy to clean and super hydrophobic, gives it extreme shine and gloss, and is scratch resistant. It’s long lasting and eliminates the need to wax your car.


Detailers may also wax or buff away rust spots and fill in dings on your vehicle for improved appearance.


Wheel treatments are often included in a professional car detailing service to protect against chips, scratches, corrosion, brake dust build-up. Tire dressings can help revive your tires while adding that just-waxed look.


The Benefits Of Car Detailing in San Diego

Car detailing provides many benefits that extend beyond simply looking nice.


For instance, regularly detailing your car will help the paint job last longer. Dirt and debris will bond to the pain over time, which can cause the paint to chip, peel, or fade.


Another benefit is that car detailing increases the resale value! A clean car always brings in a higher price, whether you plan to trade it in or sell it. A professional detailer can take care of minor scratches on your vehicle’s paint job or headlights — which also increases the chances of your car selling for a higher price.


Getting your car detailed is a great way to feel good and look good. You’ll be able to drive around town with confidence knowing that you have a freshly cleaned, well-maintained vehicle on the road. It’s simple: Improve appearance, enhance experience.


Lastly, detailing your car regularly will extend the life span of your car because it reduces rust and corrosion on exterior body panels.


Car Detailing San Diego

There are many car detailing services available in San Diego and it can be tough to choose the right one. There are few things you’ll want to consider before you make a decision.

  1. Read their online reviews. Yelp and Angie’s List is a good place to start. You’ll be able to see photos and reviews from real customers.

  2. Are they certified? The reality is that there are car detailers out there that might not know what they are doing. Ceramic coating is complex and requires training. Check their website for certifications.

  3. Do they communicate well? Good communication is an essential part of running a business. A professional car detailer should be able to field questions and keep you in the loop if your service is taking longer than expected.

  4. What services do they offer? Check out their website to see what they actually can do for you. Need tree sap or odor removal? Make sure they offer the services you’ll need.

  5. Can you afford their prices? Auto detailing can be expensive because of the time and materials used to get your car in top shape. Their website should have a breakdown of what you’ll get for each car detailing package. Be wary of a business that doesn’t list what each package includes. And if their website doesn’t include cost, give them a call.

Your vehicle is one of the most expensive things you own, so take care of it. If you're looking for a way to make your car look and feel new without having to do all that hard work yourself, it's time to get in touch with a professional car detailer.


It's time to ditch that sponge and drive past that car wash! Passion Driven Automotive will get your wheels turning with high-quality workmanship and competitive prices. Your satisfaction is our priority.