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Professional Valeting & Detailing Vs. Car Washing – Is There a Difference?

Updated: May 5, 2022

Look at these two sentences:

  • We wash cars

  • We detail cars

How many people look at these two and think there’s no difference at all? Isn’t “detailing” just a fancier word for washing? In fact, this isn’t right at all. There’s a world of difference between these two things, and in today’s article, we’re going to explain it all to you and if you want to find out for yourself book in with Driven to Detail for our Mobile Valeting in Bristol & Bath

What Does a Car Wash Include?

A car wash is either a basic two-bucket water and shampoo wash or a visit to a local automated car wash where your goal is to simply remove the worst of the visible dirt, dust, grime and other contaminants from the surface of the car’s body, glass and wheels. This is the basic service, and it may include something like an interior vacuuming, too.

At the car wash, to get any extra level of service will cost extra. If you want wax, paint protection, clay bar detailing and whatnot, then these are in the premium area and not covered by the regular “car wash experience”

What Does a Mobile Car Valet or Detail Include?

A detailing is a much closer, deeper clean of the car, and will often include those things as standard that are only in the premium extras with a car wash. A regular detailing will include a deep clean and vacuum, degreasing, removing brake dust, buffing, clay bar detailing, stain removal, waxing and often even more.

What is the Difference Between a Car Wash and a Professional Valeter and Detailer?

1. The Way Detailers Work

Detailers will work by hand, but sometimes using some additional hand-held equipment like powerful vacuum cleaners, pressure washers, buffers for polishing and similar equipment. They know every corner of the car intimately, and know how to use their tools to get everywhere a regular car washer wouldn’t even think to look.

2. Car Wash Length Vs. Detailing Length

A high-quality car detailing can take up to 4 hours to finish. In contrast, an automated car wash takes about 7 minutes. Even a hand wash, done to a good-enough standard, could be finished well inside 30 minutes if the washer had some experience.

3. Detailers Focus on Quality Tools

A car washer might be happy with a sponge or a regular microfibre wash mitt, but a detailer would never subject a car to this treatment. Detailers make use of mitts made of lambswool and other premium products. Only the best will do when detailing.

4. Car Detailing Protects and Restores

The goal of a car wash is to get the car looking clean and presentable. A detailing is about restoration; putting the car back to the glorious sheen it had when it was sitting on the showroom floor and attracted your attention back when you bought it. Additional steps like applying carnauba wax are one of the keys to this restoration process, breathing new life into even tired-looking paint.

5. Detailers Find What the Eye Doesn’t See

Finally, car detailers make use of extra things like the clay bar to treat the paint surface and capture dirt that is so embedded into the clear coat that you can’t even see it. Only after removing these most deeply entrenched contaminants can you then guarantee good contact between the paint surface and wax/sealant. A detailer knows these things.

Drive to Detail – Mobile Car Detailing in the Bristol Area

If you want to experience the detailing difference for yourself in the Bristol area, then look no further than Driven to Detail. Get in touch with us today and learn more about our great-value detailing packages.

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