Car Wash and Car Detailing- What’s the Difference?

Whether you’re on your first, second, or fifteenth vehicle, you know that there are certain (perhaps, annoying and expensive) things you need to do to be safe on the road. 

Getting your car washed, fortunately, is very satisfying- looks and smells cleaner, easier to see, and just feels better, right? 

You know you need it done, but where are you supposed to go? 

The car wash, on one hand, is cheap, fast, and easy. $15, and 5 minutes later, you checked it off your list and got it done….right?

Well… kind of.

You see, an automatic car wash is like a fast food restaurant.

It is fast, cheap, and easy, but an hour later, you’re hungry and feeling like crap.

The automatic car wash is really just a fast and cheap fix- if that’s what you’re looking for.

What about Car Detailing?

Car detailing does everything that your run-of-the-mill car wash doesn’t. 

Interior cleaning, exterior cleaning, protection, coatings, dent removal, scratch and swirl mark removal, restoration, disinfecting, odor removal, hazardous waste removal, and more.

While a standard car wash might offer some of these services, don’t expect real results, and don’t expect to necessarily get what you pay for.

The wax you added on for $5? It’s not there, sorry.

Getting your vehicle detailed involves hours of labor, years of expertise, and just plain hard work.

Have you ever tried vacuuming your car? Trying to get every spot? It’s back-breaking, difficult, and a pain in the butt.

There is no machine to automate this. Just a detailer with a passion and a will.

Isn’t it Expensive?

The truth is- it can be. 

It all comes down to how well you have maintained it over the years.

If your car has stains, pet hair, food reminisce, damage, dents, and what not, then expect it to be a BIG job! 

Cars, much like your house, can get really dirty, really fast.

Some may choose to hire a regular cleaning service, others may have a weekly routine.

But what is your routine for your car? Do you have one?

Think about how many people, animals, and children you ride with. The rain, wind, snow, dirt, smoke, and bugs that you drive through.

At the end of the day, what you pay for is what you get. And that is really up to you.

The Benefits

Car Value

Buying a car is a big investment. And ideally, when you trade or sell, you want to get as much money back as possible.

A good detailer can increase your car’s resale value by as much as 15%!


Eliminate germs and illness-causing bacteria in a few hours. 

Dog hair? Leftover food? Stains? Spills? Smoke? 

If not for you, making sure your vehicle is regularly detailed helps protect whoever you’re driving with. 


Especially here in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the elements are real. 

In the Summer, there are bugs and harmful UV rays.

In the Winter, there is ice, salt, and dirt breaking against the surface.

With an exterior detail, a wax or ceramic coating will offer short-term and long-term protection from the elements and rusting. 

The Looks

Of course, you want your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or trailer to look sharp, right?

Detailing is the best way to get you there.

What to look for in a detailer

Experience & Education

Make sure that the detailer you choose not only has extensive experience with many different types of vehicles and apprenticeships at different shops but also has education and certifications to back it up. 

Auto detailing and reconditioning have numerous best practices, techniques, and skills required to properly clean, treat, and protect your vehicle.

An expert detailer will be able to identify the problem, explain it simply, and give the best options to choose from. 

Your cousin’s friend’s little brother probably has good intentions and a great work ethic but is not a substitute for a professional (yet). 


Everyone checks reviews now before making a purchase or hiring a service. Finding your detailer should be no different. 

Check what their clients have said about them, and you will probably get a good idea of the quality of service. 

Mobile Detailing

These days, mobile detailing is getting more and more popular due to its sheer convenience.

No one wants to drop their car off for the day anymore or wait until next month for availability. And booking online makes that process even easier. 

Look for a mobile detailer near you, and never go back to a brick-and-mortar shop again.

It’s that awesome.


If you have never gotten your car detailed before, it can be a real game changer.

Going to a car wash can be quick and cheap, but nothing close to a professional detail.

When you’re ready to step up your car game, make sure to look for qualified experience, great reviews, and mobile services, so you can get back on the road. 

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