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Ever took a gander at a car detailing shop's list of services and walked away scratching your head? Well, here's what those services comprise of.
Category: Car Ownership Advice
Ever heard someone tell you that they are sending their car in for a wash, polish, wax or coating and wondered what exactly are they talking about? Well, those are some of the services you'll find on the menu of a detailing shop.
But hey, just because they reside on the same piece of paper, doesn't mean they are all the same! Today, we'll explore the differences between these services so you'll know just what you need to get your car to shine bright like a diamond.
Regular car wash
Let's get the simplest of all out of the way. This is pretty much self explanatory and probably the cheapest, quickest option you can pick at any car detailing shop - a simple, fuss free car wash.
While it seems like a really simple service, the level of detail and prices can vary wildly depending on where you go to get your car washed.
A simple wash at the petrol station will likely cost you around $10, while a thorough, detail-oriented car wash (or car spa) at a detailing shop can set you back more than $30.
You might be thinking, it's just a wash, why splurge? Well, as they say, the devil's in the details. While a cheap car wash might suffice if all you care about is getting the layer of dirt off your car, detailing enthusiasts and those with a keen eye will cringe at the idea. Cheaper car wash services that place more focus on speed and pricing often have to sacrifice some quality, this can mean missed spots or even scratches due to dirt that has been trapped on the same piece of cloth that had been used to wash all the cars before yours.
An expensive, premium car wash will often ensure that even hard-to-reach spots will be cleaned. The exterior of your car will be thoroughly cleaned with the use of car shampoo. Some shops might even apply spray wax to give your freshly washed car a brighter shine. The interior of your car will also be vacuumed and wiped down with cleaning products. So, there you go, a car wash - as its name suggests - is simply a cleaning service for your car.
While often erroneously used interchangeably with waxing in car grooming terms, it really is something entirely different. You see, whether you decide to go for wax, sealant or a ceramic coating, your car will still have to be polished - it is also referred to as paint correction.
Polishing a painted surface helps to bring it to shine. It is achieved by applying a mild abrasive to the paint and rubbed either by hand, or a polishing machine to achieve a smooth and shiny surface devoid of scratches, contamination and oxidation.
If you are thinking that it seems like a perilous process, it really is. During the polishing process, clear coat or paint is being removed by the abrasive compound, effectively thinning out the coat of paint on your car.
Polishing is a complicated job that should be done by professionals. Using a car polish compound that is too harsh can remove too much paint, too quickly, causing irreversible damage. If the compound is way too gentle (usually those that you can find off the shelves at departmental stores), you likely wouldn't be able to see much results after spending much time. The difficulty to get a satisfying finish is compounded by the lack of proper equipment such as a rotary or dual-action polishing machine.
A proper car polish can be costly, as it can require multiple steps of polishing with polishing compounds and pads of different harshness. While you are paying for the detailer's expertise, you are also paying for the time it takes - it isn't uncommon for a polishing job to take more than a day's time!
While polishing removes the defects on your car's paint, it also leaves it unprotected from contaminants and UV rays. Hence, it is a procedure that should always be followed with the application of some form of paint protection. That's where waxes, sealants and ceramic coatings come into the picture.