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Making annual maintenance appointments is the best way to keep your vehicle in good shape. An experienced car mechanic can spot developing problems faster than you can, so you’ll be able to save money on car repairs. Another way to increase the lifespan of your car is by having it professionally detailed.

During a car detailing, both the exterior and interior of your vehicle will be polished to look like new. You can even do the detailing work yourself with the right materials. If you’d rather leave the work to the experts, here’s a rundown of how much you’ll pay to have your car detailed.

What’s included with a car detailing?

Having your car detailed involves more work than a normal car wash. First, the car is washed by hand. A machine-operated car wash will probably do the job just as well, but it could scratch the paint job. After the wash, your car will be blowdried. To finish, it’ll be wiped down with a clay bar to remove any harmful substances that can’t be seen with the naked eye. 

If the detailers spot any warping or swirls in the paint, they’ll correct it using a buffer. This will likely cost extra, depending on where you take your car. Next, they’ll apply a layer of sealant or wax to protect the paint. This will shield the car from things like salt or grime for a while, as well as make the car look glossy. 

After this, it’s time to move on to the interior. The carpet and any fabric will be cleaned with shampoo and a vacuum. With leather seats, they’ll use a stain guard or spot treatment. The wheels of your car will also be thoroughly cleaned to remove any corrosive grime. Headlights, taillamps, and windows are treated with a sealant to prevent UV damage. The whole process takes about an hour. However, if your car was very dirty or had a lot of paint problems, it could take a little longer.

How much will a car detailing cost?

For the amount of work, the labor costs are surprisingly affordable. The price depends on the size of your vehicle. For small to midsize cars, expect to pay $50-$125. For a larger car, the price will be around $75-150. 

Some shops will offer extra services, like engine cleaning, paint repair, or interior steam-cleaning for an extra $150 for smaller cars and $175 for bigger ones. These added services can cover boats, RVs, or motorcycles, too. 

Before taking your car in, check online for coupons offered by the shop. If you’re getting more than one car serviced, most detailing shops will offer you a discount. You may also be able to get a discount if you pay for the appointment ahead of time.

Is a car detailing worth it?

Even though it’s initially more expensive than driving your car through a car wash, car detailing is more cost-effective because it keeps your car clean for a longer amount of time. It’s better to have your car detailed once a year than taking it to a car wash a few times a month.

A professional car detailer also has years of experience with cleaning cars, so they know the best materials and methods to use. Having your car regularly detailed can also increase its overall value.