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What are the differences of exterior car wash and exterior car detailing?

Updated: Feb 11

The main differences between an exterior car wash and exterior car detailing lie in the level of thoroughness, attention to detail, and the range of services provided. Here's a breakdown of the key distinctions:

Exterior Car Wash:

An exterior car wash typically involves cleaning the exterior surfaces of the vehicle. It is a basic service aimed at removing dirt, grime, and contaminants from the vehicle's exterior. The process often includes the following steps:

1. Pre-Rinse: The vehicle is rinsed with water to loosen and remove loose dirt and debris.

2. Soap Application: A car wash soap or detergent is applied to the vehicle's exterior using a sponge, mitt, or automated equipment.

3. Scrubbing/Washing: The vehicle is scrubbed or washed using a sponge, mitt, or automated equipment to remove dirt and grime.

4. Rinse: The soap and loosened dirt are rinsed off the vehicle's exterior using water.

5. Drying: The vehicle is dried using towels or air blowers.

Exterior Car Detailing:

Exterior car detailing goes beyond a simple wash and involves a more comprehensive and meticulous approach to cleaning, restoration, and protection of the vehicle's exterior surfaces. The detailing process typically includes the following steps:

1. Thorough Cleaning: The vehicle is meticulously cleaned, including the removal of dirt, grime, tar, and other contaminants from the exterior surfaces.

2. Decontamination: Specialized products and techniques are used to remove bonded contaminants like tree sap, road tar, and industrial fallout.

3. Paint Correction: This step involves techniques such as compounding, polishing, and buffing to remove imperfections like swirl marks, scratches, oxidation, and water spots from the paintwork, restoring its shine and clarity.

4. Waxing/Sealing: A protective layer is applied to the paint to enhance its gloss and protect it from UV rays, contaminants, and environmental elements. This may involve the application of carnauba wax, paint sealants, or ceramic coatings.

5. Trim and Wheel Treatment: Exterior plastic trims, rubber seals, and wheels are cleaned, dressed, and protected to restore their appearance and prevent deterioration.

6. Glass Cleaning: Windows and windshield are thoroughly cleaned and polished to ensure clarity and visibility.

7. Final Touches: The vehicle is inspected for any remaining imperfections and touched up as necessary.

Exterior car detailing provides a more comprehensive and deep-cleaning approach to restore and protect the vehicle's exterior surfaces. It addresses specific paint imperfections, adds protection, and enhances the overall appearance of the vehicle. The level of detailing can vary based on the customer's preferences and the detailing package chosen, ranging from basic exterior detailing to more advanced services like paint correction and ceramic coating application.

exterior car detailing

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