How Often Should You Detail Your Car (Beginner’s Guide)
This post will answer the “when” and “how long” questions in detailing your car.
You will learn:
- How often you should detail your car
- If it’s bad to wash your car every week
- How long does a car detail take
If you want to keep your car spick and span but want to avoid premature wear and tear too, you’ll love the answers you’ll get in this post.
Let’s dive right in.
Detailing Is Essential
Car detailing or auto detailing keeps your ride in its best condition. A regular detail will:
- Maintain your car’s brand new look
- Keep it hygienic for its users
- Preserve the engine’s life span because it can run cooler
- Increases its resale value
But overdoing car detailing can do more harm than good. I’ll explain it to you in a bit, for now, let’s answer the first question.
How Often Should You Detail Your Car
Ideally, your car should be detailed 2-3 times a year. This means around 4-6 month intervals.
Over time, the car can develop lingering smells and stains you couldn’t get rid of by just a simple car wash.
There are no hard and fast rules for this though, it’s just a rule of thumb. Other factors should be weighed in too like:
- How much you use it
- How you use it
- Where you use it
So as you can see, the factors involve not just your car, but your behavior as the car owner.
Let’s say you’re an office worker and you just bring your car to and from your workplace in the city. You won’t need to detail your car as often as someone who brings their car to the countryside where the roads are not paved covering the car in dust or mud.
But, if you work in the city and bring in all kinds of stuff in your car like wet groceries, greasy takeout food, furry pets, and kids who often cause spills, you’ll need frequent detailing.
Dust and grime can easily build up in these situations so your car needs thorough cleaning often.
But how often is often?
Do you have to do it every month?
Not necessarily. Detailing your car too often than necessary can do more harm than good.
If a car wash can do, you can stick to the rule of thumb frequency of detailing your car.
The interior elements of your car like the headliner (others call it the interior ceiling) are made up of layers of material. Detailing the headliner can mean getting the surface wet.
If this layered material gets wet too often, it weakens the glue that holds it together causing layers to separate and the headliner to sag.
So if a simple car wash can do, keep detailing around 2-3 times per year to avoid premature wear and tear.
Now onto the second question.
Is It Bad To Wash Your Car Every Week?
No, it’s not bad to wash your car every week. It doesn’t just keep the car clean, it’s also hygienic for the users because washing it also means disinfecting the car getting rid of germs brought in from places you’ve been to.
This is especially important when the pandemic is still going on.
Washing your car needs to be done from time to time. But this doesn’t mean you should wash your car as often as you shower.
Water used in car washing can cause mineral build-up in parts that can’t be reached by hand drying.
Engine and solar heat will make the minerals stick to paint, plastic, and rubber surfaces. This will cause corrosion starting from the parts you weren’t able to dry by hand.
The simplest answer:
Wash it when it’s dirty.
If you’re headed to an important event, wash your car.
If you’re headed to a muddy or dusty place, don’t wash your car… yet. If you feel it’s going to rain soon, don’t wash your car… yet.
There’s always a “yet” because you’ll have to wash it afterward when it’s intolerably dirty.
You might wonder like others:
They get confused about what car detailing is and what a car wash is. You can find the answer in my interior detailing post.
For a more in-depth interior detailing post:
Recommended Reading: The Interior Detailing Process That Makes Your Car Good As New (In-Depth)
Should You Worry About Washing Damages?
Now, if it’s ok to wash the car every week, should you worry about damages from washing it too often?
Are you worried about the leather? The paint and clear coats?
Here are 5 tips to take those worries away.
- Use car-safe cleaners to avoid ruining the paint.
- Use wash mitts designed for cars or microfiber towels to avoid scratches.
- Dry the surfaces to avoid water spots, but don’t overdo wiping because wiping a dry surface can cause scratches too.
- If you prefer to use automatic washes, choose the touch-free option always.
- Use wax or paint protection after drying the surfaces if you can.
We’re down to the last question.
How Long Does A Car Detailing Take?
Car detailing is a thorough process of cleaning the interior and exterior of your car. The long-established method of detailing can take at least 2 hours. But quality-centered detailers can take 5-10 hours.
Especially for cars covered in garbage, grime, and all sorts of filthy stuff.
Imagine how much of your day it will take!
You won’t have time to lounge in front of the TV at home, play catch with your kids, run out to buy groceries, and other stuff you need to get done during the day.
Many times it can get so time-consuming, it makes you so frustrated.
What can you do?
This means if there’s just one spot of dirt to clean like a bird dropping on the windshield, wipe it off right away with a microfiber cloth.
If you bring food in the car, be sure to take out the bottles, containers, cups, and wrappers at the end of the day.
If the car mat is just dusty, just bring it out and shake off the dust.
These simple things can spare you of having to wash your car more frequently and longer.
But what if the damage is done? If it gets too dirty and messy?
You don’t have to spend your whole day just cleaning your car. Professional car detailers use a tool to make the work fast and thorough effortlessly.
A car cleaning gun spares you from endlessly scrubbing on stains, wiping and brushing on nooks and crevices.
It’s an awesome tool that cleans your car thoroughly without having you pulling your hair out in frustration.
If you use a car cleaning gun, you’ll finish detailing your car with results like pro detailers half the time you would’ve taken to get the job done.
You should detail your car 2-3 times a week, around 2-6 month intervals. But a regular car wash should be done at least once a week.
Not more than you should so you don’t ruin the paintwork and other parts in the car.
Car detailing used to take up a full day, but with a car cleaning gun, the work is done faster without compromising how thorough the car gets cleaned.