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What Is Involved With Detailing A Car?

What Is Involved With Detailing A Car?

What's Involved In A Car Detailing

You may have heard about detailing. This type of collision repair is the special cleaning and polishing process that can often bring your vehicle back to “fresh-from-the-dealer” condition. But exactly what is involved in detailing a car?

Come on! We’ll walk you through the car detailing process, step by meticulous step and how it can make your car last longer.

1. What Is Car Detailing?

Don’t confuse car detailing with car washing. Car washing is a straightforward procedure, cautiously wash down the outside of the car with warm soapy water and a sponge or microfibre towel (we like the two bucket method when washing our vehicles in the driveway). The goal with washing the vehicle is simply to remove road salt, dirt, and grime from the outside of a vehicle.

By contrast, car detailing is defined as a system of detailed professional cleaning, stain removal and polishing with the goal of restoring and improving your vehicles’ exterior paint, interior trim and seats, wheels and even under the hood.

Detailing includes washing, but goes way above and beyond. Think of it as spring cleaning for your car … though of course you can do it any time of the year.

2. What Is The Car Detailing Process?

Auto detailing is a multi-stage process which touches every nook and cranny of your vehicle, both inside and out. Some “Details” will do more or less of the following tasks, depending upon the state of your vehicle and the skill of the detailer:

Exterior Wash

A gentle hand wash removes surface dirt from the outside of your car.

Interior Detailing

Interior detailing involves some or all of the following:

  • Vacuuming and wiping down all surfaces — the seats, headliners, dash, floor, trunk and even the glove compartment – removing all dirt and contaminants.
  • Shampoo, stain removal, steam cleaning, and leather conditioner, as needed.
  • Washing and polishing any glass; such as all windows, mirrors and clear plastics.
  • For the finishing touch, a natural deodorizing technique using an ozone generator.

Exterior Detailing

Next comes the detailing process on the outside of your vehicle, including:


Even the most painstaking car wash will leave behind tiny particles of dirt, soap scum, metal flakes, road grime and brake dust. Carefully rubbing every inch of paint on the car with a resinous clay bar lubricated with water will grab and remove all those tiny foreign materials from the paint and clear coat.


Multi-stage polishing involves using a range of abrasive compounds that are used to restore faded or discoloured paint. Starting with the most abrasive polishing compound and working down to the least abrasive; an experienced hand can get amazing results from this process.

There is definitely a skill in understanding the way light will hit the car, working with sharp creases or compound curves and the various depth of paint thickness on different parts of the vehicle. There is also a very real possibility of doing permanent damage to the paint if done incorrectly.

Protective Finishes

Exterior parts such as the paint, windshield, and rims are all treated with protective finishes to keep them blemish-free, and protected from the harsh sunlight and weather.


The final stage of the exterior detail is the application of protective wax. Wax is rubbed into the paint by hand and then machine buffed for an elegant polish and durable finish.

You can often think of the wax as a protective wear layer that covers every inch of your car. Rain, dirt and grime will slowly remove the wax, leaving your paint exposed. Aim to wax your vehicle at least twice a year.

3. How Often Should You Detail Your Car?

You’ll hear a lot of different opinions about how often you should detail your car. More often than not it depends upon the use your vehicle sees. Just came back from a 3-week road trip with the kids? No doubt your minivan needs a detail. However, under normal daily use we recommend a full interior and exterior detailing every 3-4 months, or in other words, 2 to 3 times a year.

In between, you should have your car washed every 1-2 weeks, or as needed, and you might want to schedule an occasional mini detailing, too. Detailing services are especially in demand after our long, hard Ottawa winters, to get vehicles clean and protected in time for the warmer weather.

4. What Are The Benefits of Detailing Your Car?

Often people think about the process of detailing a car in terms of making it look, feel, and smell great. And that is huge, as folks who spend a lot of time driving, especially on the highway, can tell you. But auto detailing also offers many benefits in terms of vehicle durability, safety, and value. Consider these:

Detailing Helps To Prevent Rust. It’s a fact of life. Your car’s paint job is vulnerable when you’re driving – to nicks, dings, and the occasional skirmish with flying insects. What’s more, even a minuscule scratch can eventually turn into rust. To counteract that danger, detailing includes in-depth cleaning and polishing, which helps to protect your paint job and prevent rust.

Detailing Protects Your Tires. Your tires need attention, too; as your point of contact with the road, they pick up oil and chemicals, as well as dust from your brakes. Cleaning on a regular basis will protect them against sidewall cracks and wheel corrosion. As a result, your tires will tend to last longer.

Detailing Is Great For Resale. Are you thinking of selling your car? Good luck! Remember that you will attract more buyers and get a better price when your ride has a glossy shine and is obviously well taken care of. Many potential sellers have put off selling their car once they get it back fully clean and detailed – after all, there was a time you loved this car enough to buy it!

Detailing Allows You To Drive Safer. You’ll see the road better through your sparkling windshield and be more visible due to your clean headlights and taillights. While a clean, fresh car is not a requirement to pass a safety inspection, it certainly won’t hurt.

Detailing Makes Your Car A Pleasant Environment. Make your car a more pleasant place to be for yourself and your passengers. This is extra important if your vehicle has been through some interior wear and tear, or if you purchased the car used.

Somehow a clean car in great shape just seems to run better too – and it communicates that you take care of and take pride in your vehicles. Your passengers, mechanic and others will take note and treat your car with greater respect.

Enjoy Bemac’s Expert Car Detailing Service

For top quality Ottawa auto detailing, bring your car in to any one of Bemac’s 6 locations.

Our expert technicians will take excellent care of your car and return it to you looking and feeling as good as new.