Full Car Detailing Service- What’s All Included?

So you’re looking for a local car detailer that’s going to take care of your needs. Maybe you’re looking for a basic wash, perhaps you want to prep your car for an upcoming car show, or maybe you have a few garage queens that you want to be kept clean on a weekly basis. 

Regardless of what it maybe, you want to make sure what you should expect to receive from a full detail, correct? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple (but it’s also not complicated). In this article, I’m going to share my opinion about what a full detail service “should” include and what you can expect from it. 

No Package Is Ever The Same


The first thing to take into consideration is that there are no set-in-stone regulations for detailing. It’s not like the automative industry or the plumbing industry where you can go to a trade school to learn a certain process. 

Although there are certain procedures and best practices that you follow, there’s not a universal guide on how to detail and the what a detail should look like. Which brings me to my main point:

Depending on who you go to (as in the business or detailer), you will get a different “full-service detail” by each one. 

For instance, the car wash will probably include a wash,  cleaning of wheels and tires, clay bar treatment, interior vacuum, and a wax. While the professional detailer will offer a full exterior detail and that will include a wash, clay bar treatment, cleaning of the wheels/tires, and a compounding and polishing step, plus a wax. 

And the difference in price range can be significantly different. The car wash (that relies on quantity and doesn’t focus so  much on quality) will charge between $65 to $150 for their full detail. Whereas the professional detailer (that focuses on a higher level of quality service) will charge between $250 to $800 for their full detail service. 

Neither Is Right or Wrong

As I said earlier, there are on set standards to what you should offer in the detailing industry. Just because the car wash offers service A and professional detailer doesn’t offer A but includes B, doesn’t make either of them wrong. 

They have the freedom and flexibility to choose what services are included in each package. Although you may not like it or it may not be convenient for you, there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. They’re simply doing what best fits their business operations. 

The only time someone maybe wrong is when they don’t deliver the level of service they said they would. If someone said that they’re going to restore your headlights and within a few days they’re back to hazy and foggy, then they’ll be at fault for not delivering on what they promised. 


I think it really comes down to what the type of quality you’re looking for. You can research more online about what a full detail service should have, but if you’re going to get your car ready for a car show, it’s best you call a couple of your local detailers or car washes to see what type of services and price points they offer. 

If you’re looking for someone with high skills in detailing and takes pride in their work, you’ll probably want to choose the professional detailer. If you need to wash your work truck and don’t care about it as much since the truck will get dirty again tomorrow, you may want to go with the car wash since it’s cheap and fast. 

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