What is the difference between a Car Wash and Car Detailing?

car detailing

Car detailing is an upgraded advanced version of a regular car wash. Car detailing does everything thoroughly which a car wash doesn’t. A car wash can clean, correct, and protect but car detailing does everything 10 times better. Car detailing not only gets you a car clean but even does a beautiful touch-up of your car by restoring the paint of your car. You mostly get your car washed every week or so, but getting your car detailed is like rejuvenating its original state. 

What exactly does a car wash and car detailing have different them?


Getting professional car detailing services is more than a car wash, but it sure does include a car wash. The car wash is the initial stage of car detailing. The traditional and most effective way of washing a car is by hand. 

Car detailers and automobile owners do this differently. A detailer will clean all the exterior surfaces of the vehicle, including the door, trunk, and engine. Road tar and bird poops are cleaned with special chemical solutions. Even the brake dust is cleared from the wheels. 

After your car gets washed, it is dried with a microfiber towel and compressed air. And even special care is taken to prevent sand, dirt, and other rough elements which are harming your paint.  


After the car is washed a professional detailer will thoroughly check the pain of the car and see if the car needs any paint correction or not. Paint correction is nothing but the restoration of your car’s paint to make it look new. Those who claim to restore your car paint right in your driveway might harm the existing paint as restoration of paint is done through machines and tools. 

If your car has been manufactured in the past 30 years then it is made of a two-layer finish, a colored base coat, and a hard transparent clear coat. The outer layer, which is the transparent coat, is made of plastic which doesn’t let dirt, sand, salt, or snow damage the car paints and even protects from sunlight, resulting in a longer period of glass. 

But after a few years, the plastic glow might fade due to exposure to dirt and dust, poor washing techniques, small scratches, and even poorly maintained. The natural process of oxidation also dulls the glass of this outer layer. 

Dull paints and oxidation along with scratches that are deeper can be corrected easily by car detailing. The correction of pain is done with the removal of contaminants such as spots, hard water, dust residue, overspray, and even rail dust. After knowing the depth of each scratch the detailer will determine which method to be used. For basic ones, he might use sandpaper to scrub it and then polish to buff the compound and san scratched. 

If there is only minimal paint correction, just using machine glaze would be enough. 


After your car has been cleaned and the paintwork is done, now a protective layer of one or two will be added to the vehicle. This work will be done using three categories of products that will be wax coating, sealant, and ceramics.

Wax is a substance that occurs naturally with the properties hydrophobic. Wax naturally repels water. The vital ingredient of any professional car wax is Carnauba wax. Which is extracted from a certain palm tree in Brazil. This wax doesn’t let water stay on the paint, which prevents contamination. And even protects from UV rays. 

Sealants are just like wax but they form a thin and waterproof layer against the elements. Unlike wax, sealants are man-made and synthetic products. They easily form a bond with the paint and create a hard shell over it. They last up to a year which is more than a wax last, making them more durable. You’ll find many who state that carnauba wax is glossier than polymer sealant. Many motorists use both wax and sealant for the best of both. 

Ceramic Coating is a new thing introduced in the world of cars. Among the three categories of protection, these provide the highest degree of protection. The composition of ceramic coating is silica and titanium dioxide. This coating bonds well with the paint and creates a nano- ceramic shield that is clear. This protection of ceramic lasts up to two to five years. They are a hassle to work with and need proper professional methods to be coated. 


If you want to get your whole vehicle professionally done, choosing interior detailing is the best method for you. Not just the exterior but even the interior of the car is given proper attention. Even the mats and carpets of the car are vacuumed, shampooed, and even extracted well. The seats made of leather, cloth, or vinyl are treated well by washing. The sensitive surfaces are coated and cleaned well from any stain that occurred due to improper cleaning. The windshield is treated and even the odor is eliminated. 

Be it the exterior of the car or the interior car detailing works much more effectively and efficiently than a car wash. All the difference between these both lies in the “details”. You can get the materials, tools, and time and get your car detailed by yourself but if you want it done perfectly getting a professional service is a better option as it will ensure the protection and least damage. 

We always want the best value for our car, to get the best value you have to timely invest the right things at the right time for your car. When you go out to sell your car, the details of the car matter the most while the purchaser will go through every minute detail before buying. Get yourself a car wash when you are in a hurry and you want a quick clean, go for car detailing when you can spare time from your car. Get car detailing during season change.