Detailing your vehicle is a great way to get that "new car" look back again, especially if your vehicle has been left outside and is a few years old. The problem is that detailing, like any other auto maintenance, must be done by a professional or the results can leave your car worse than when you brought it in.


Let's start with what "detailing" is, and how it should be done. Everyone knows what a coat of wax can do for a car, new or old. It brings back that new car shine, and it also protects the finish from dust, acid rain, and some waxes even protect against UV radiation.


Detailing takes the process to the next level and begins with a thorough cleaning and preparation of the paint finish before application of the final coats of wax. The products used to accomplish this cleaning contain abrasive compounds and can remove stains left by leaves, insects and other types of grime and dirt. The other benefit of these products is that over time, your car's paint can develop tiny scratches which careful application of polishes and compounds can eliminate.


After careful cleaning and polishing the next step is the application of a " Glazing" compound. This is a clear compound that fills minor imperfections in a paint finish and is applied before the final wax coats.


A good exterior detailing job consists of:


1) A thorough washing and drying of the exterior


2) Application of polish to remove stains and oxidation


3) Applying a glaze coat before final waxing


4) Application of a protective coat of wax to protect and preserve the finish


5) Cleaning wheels and tires, headlights and applying preservatives to tires



Interior Detailing starts with a thorough vacuuming of the carpets and upholstery, followed by a shampooing of the carpets and upholstery if the interior is fabric. If your car has a leather interior, then leather preservatives and cleaners are applied. Note that some detailers separate exterior and interior detailing so ask if the price includes both.


Other services offered by detailers can include paintless dent removal which can remove small dings, engine compartment and undercarriage detailing. These services come at an extra cost and are not part of the average detailing job.


What is the cost of a detailing job?


A basic detailing job for an average size vehicle costs between $50 and $150 depending on the detailer, the condition of your car's finish, and the size of the vehicle. Basic detailing includes exterior washing, application of a wax coat, interior vacuuming and shampooing of carpets and mats.


Because of the wide range of services and costs, it is important to ask what the detailing job will include if extra services are required, and what the total cost will be.


Careful application of polishes and compounds can restore a car finish to like new in most cases. The key word here is " Careful," as the overly aggressive use of these products can damage the finish on your car, rather than making it better.


This is why it is essential to have your car detailed by a professional who will not only be careful with your car but guarantee their work.


How to find a detailing shop?


Auto Detailing is a business in and of itself, and many shops specialize in this type of work, so an internet search for Auto Detailing is one place to start.


Many Auto body shops and shops that primarily perform auto body and collision repair also can do detail work. Because these shops also do auto body and paint repair, they have an excellent understanding of different paint types and how best to restore them.


One excellent shop in the Minneapolis St. Paul area is Suburban Auto Body. We are located in Little Canada, Minnesota. We have a full-service auto body shop specializing in collision repairs.