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The Must-Know Difference Between A Car Wash Vs. Professional Car Detailing?

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

As a car owner, it's important to at least know the basics when it comes to car care. Though the terms 'car wash' and 'car detail' are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a range of differences between the two that not many people actually understand.

So, if you've been wondering whether you should book your car in for a professional car wash or a complete car detail, keep reading. This article outlines the difference between the two and provides a little advice as to when you should get your car washed, and when you should get it detailed. Knowing this could help you boost the overall life span of your car AND ensure its value doesn't deteriorate over time.

What happens when you have your car washed?

As mentioned, a car wash is completely different to a car detail. Washing a car can vary from simply doing a quick clean at home with a hose and bucket, or having it professionally washed by a drive-through machine or a team of people at a car wash venue. The main difference between a car wash and a car detail is that a wash specifically focuses on the exterior of your car, while a detail is a complete, all over, internal and external clean.

When you book your car in for a basic wash with Autoclean Wollongong, you're receiving a professional, detailed clean of the exterior of your vehicle, not just a quick wipe-over with some sudsy water. Our Express Car Wash service is perfect for people with busy schedules as it takes hardly any time at all. Here's how we do it...

We don't use water. Autoclean Wollongong provides a waterless car wash service. How? We use a specialised cleaning spray and gentle microfibre towels to hand-wash the exterior of your car. The wash also includes a protective polish and we'll throw in a detailed cleaning of the rims and a protective, shine coating to your wheels too!

So, next time you consider taking your car through an automatic wash, think about how much more care our team will take to ensure your vehicle is kept clean and safe throughout the wash. An automatic car wash may sound ideal for a quick cheap wash (we get it), but the machine element in an auto car wash can actually be super bad for your car as it can scratch paintwork and often will leave water marks and not provide a thorough clean.

What happens when you have your car detailed?

When you have your car detailed, you're not just having the exterior washed, your vehicle will receive a full clean across every nook and cranny...inside and out. A car detail generally covers a full external wash, cleaning of all parts to remove harmful trace elements that may cause corrosion, a vacuum of the carpeting and seats and a range of other touch ups.

For example, at Autoclean, our Ultimate Car Detail service includes everything mentioned in our Express Car Wash service above, plus the following extras for a more intricate clean...

  • Removal of tar build-up from paint and rims.

  • Brush and wipe down of the console, dash, steering wheel and doorframes.

  • Interior vinyl, leather and plastic parts receive the application of a protective coating.

  • All windows polished, inside and out.

  • Full interior vacuum using high-quality industrial-grade machines.

So, you can see now how car detailing differs from washing, but do you know when your car just needs a wash and when it should be booked in for a full service? Read on to find out...

When should you wash your car?

As a general rule of thumb, we suggest washing your car every 2-3 weeks (or if dirt, dust and grime start to become visible beforehand).

When should you have your car detailed?

Usually, we'd recommend having your car professionally detailed every 2-3 months (about 4-6 times a year) depending on how often you drive it, how "new" you'd like to keep it and the kind of conditions it sees when you drive it.

Why washing and detailing your car is important...

A dirty car can pose safety risks and can also adversely alter people's perceptions of you! Seeing out of a dirty windscreen is a difficult task, plus that date you've got booked in for Friday night might think twice about seeing you again if your car doesn't look (and smell) its best.

You'll also find that over time, if a car is left dirty, the internal and external parts will begin to corrode from dirt, grime, tar, seaside salt air, bacteria and other nasties that accumulate on them. It's much easier to keep a car in prime condition with regular cleaning than with a once-off clean every few years.

If you have any questions at all about washing and/or detailing your car, pl

ease don't hesitate to get in touch. If you'd like a FREE quote just fill out our online "request a quote" form on the Autoclean website or give us a call on 0424556729.

You can rest assured that all our services are carried out by car washing and detailing professionals. We'll make sure your car gets the full wash or detail service it deserves!

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