Wash or Detail – Which is Right for You?

Wash or Detail – Which is Right for You?

On the surface, these two practices have a lot in common: the goal is to get your car cleaner and looking better. However, upon closer examination, the differences start to appear. If you’ve found yourself asking, “why bother with a full automotive detail when I can go to a drive-thru car wash for less than $20?”, keep reading, because we have some important answers for you.

Car Wash

There are many services that exist under the broad umbrella of “car wash”. You could be talking about a DIY driveway car wash, a cheap gas station drive-thru, or a service offered by a professional shop. Regardless, the goal is to clean off the accumulated dirt from the exterior of your car.

Most automatic car washes are not worth the money or the time, as they typically miss key areas and in the worst case scenario can actually damage your paint. If you don’t have the time or facilities required for a hand-wash, simply bring it by CJ’s for a Quick Wash.

Generally speaking, your car should get washed every couple weeks, and should never go longer than a month without a good wash. While car washes are a simple clean, detailing goes much further and typically requires a professional touch.

Exterior Detailing

Exterior detailing can be broken down into three stages: clean, restore, and protect. Every detail starts with a meticulous hand wash. At CJ’s, we use specialized automotive soap and warm water to remove all exterior build up – this includes often overlooked areas like wheels, wheel wells, door sills, and roof.

We spend extra time around the wheels, making sure that rims, lug nuts, and callipers are free of dirt and brake dust. Brake dust is nasty stuff, so this step is usually labour intensive. We also pay particular attention to rubber seals, windows, mirrors, and door handles to make sure that every nook and cranny of your vehicle is perfectly clean.

After drying with a chamois, the cleaning process is finished and it’s time to begin restoration with a clay bar treatment. Claying picks up embedded debris from your paint, revealing a smooth and perfect finish. If you’ve ever wondered who your paint still feels rough after a wash, it’s due to embedded debris and your car needs a clay bar treatment.

We then use an orbital polisher to remove signs of swirl marks, oxidation, and light scuffs. This is the final step in the restorative process. Once we’ve finished this, your car’s exterior will have a flawless showroom finish, and it’s time to protect it.

Every exterior detail we perform ends with a high quality carnauba wax. This seals in the perfect paint and protects it from damage – but you must make sure to regularly reapply this protective layer. If regular waxing doesn’t fit into your schedule, consider a ceramic coating.

Interior Detailing

A full detail doesn’t stop with your paint – we think that the interior detail enhances your driving experience at least as much as the exterior detail. Think about it; most people spend way more time inside their car than they do looking at it, so it makes sense to direct some attention to your vehicle’s interior.

Interior detailing involves a meticulous clean of every interior surface: upholstery, leather, glass, wood, carpets, plastic, vinyl, metal… the list goes on. Once the interior has been fully cleaned and reconditioned, you will feel like you’re inside a brand new vehicle (except the seat is already adjusted to your specs).

After all this, you might expect us to say, “detailing is far superior to a car wash”, but it’s simply not true. They are both indispensable parts of vehicle maintenance, and one is not much good without the other.

Is One Better Than the Other?

After all this, you might expect us to say, “detailing is far superior to a car wash”, but it’s not that simple. They are both indispensable parts of vehicle maintenance, and one is not much good without the other.

Most people would find it impractical to have a full detail performed every week or two, but simple car washes on their own aren’t enough to keep your vehicle in top shape. We recommend quick washes as a way to keep your car looking good between full details, which should be done several times per year. Of course, your exact schedule depends on you, your vehicle, and your goals, so the best plan is to talk to an expert – get in touch right here.

At CJ’s Autobling, we give our clients the extra flexibility of choosing exactly what they need. To learn about all our services, including Quick Washes, Quick Wash Plus, Exterior Details, Interior Details, and Complete Details, just click here.