Detailing Your Car On a Budget

September 27, 2016

If you’re interested in detailing your car but don’t have the cash to have it done professionally, it’s easy to do at home.

A study conducted earlier this year indicates that on average, 13.5 per cent of cars held onto by their initial purchasers are at least a decade old. Seventy-eight per cent of drivers say that they plan on keeping their cars for 10 or more years after purchase – putting the “Three Year Vehicle Purchase Cycle” in the ground. How long have you owned your car for? Research suggests that advanced technologies and new car detailing products on the market are contributing to the extended lifespan of vehicle ownership.

Car detailing is cleaning and restoring your vehicle’s original condition, ensuring that it’s kept in excellent shape to promote longevity on the road. Of course though, this comes with a price.

Depending on the type of vehicle that you own and the quality of service that you’re looking for, if you opt to get your car detailed professionally, it can cost as much as 250 dollars. If you don’t have the cash to drop on a professional service, detailing your car at home is a feasible option and a lot cheaper.

Here are three tips for do-it-yourself car detailing:

1) Invest in good paint cleaner and a clay bar

Does your car’s paint feel bumpy? Small contaminates like road tar, dirt and insects get trapped under your vehicles paint and can lead to rust if left for a long period of time. For under 30 dollars you can invest in two products that will prevent this: clay bars work to remove particles that are stuck in the surface of your paint, while cleaners work to polish away residue. Although paint cleaners aren’t substitutes for waxes, using both the clay and cleaner for the exterior of your vehicle will ensure that the paint surface is clean inside and out.

2) If you can, work inside

Working inside of a garage or under a covered surface instead of outside is something that any professional would suggest. Detailing a car that is exposed to direct sunlight can make the job difficult, especially in hot conditions. Not only will your cleaning products dry quickly and leave water spots, you may even notice swirl marks in your car’s paint after washing. If you have no choice but to detail your car in the sun, keep your cars surface cool by spritzing water on the exterior regularly.

3) Ask for advice if you need it

Experienced car detailers know how to fix certain damages that a non-professional might not – it takes training and practice to repair paint scratches that have deepened into metal, handle mixed solutions, and use special tools that are hard to get outside of the repair shop. If you come across an imperfection on your car that you’re not sure how to fix, don’t be afraid to call your local mechanic and ask for their advice!

If you’re interested in detailing your car but don’t have the cash to have it done professionally, it’s easy to do at home, but ‘easy’ doesn’t translate to using dishwasher soap. Getting your hands on the proper tools and supplies and knowing how to use them is necessary if you plan to do the process yourself – otherwise, you might be doing more damage than good.


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