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The Difference Between Mobile Car Detailing Vs. A Drive Through Car Wash

Person in overalls wiping down the dashboard of a car

The Difference Between Mobile Car Detailing Vs. A Drive Through Car Wash Staff
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Car detailing and car washing are both car cleaning services that differ in the detail and thoroughness they bring to the job. A drive-through car wash is an automated service that targets the exterior of the car. It is quick and convenient.

A drive-through car washing service is fast and economical. Even with your car I the queue, it is possible to be out of the car wash in half an hour or less. The results, however, may be less than satisfactory.

The automated cleaning equipment gathers so much dirt and grit in the course of its work. This dirt and grit leave unsightly swirls, grime, and scratches on the surface of your car and compromises the longevity of your car’s paintwork. A laser car wash does a better job but still doesn’t get all the spots.

A drive-through car wash never gets those sticky splashes and saps which ruin a car’s finish when left unattended. Neither does it clean the interior of the vehicle. You must pay extra for add-on services to have those washed.

Alternatively, you can opt for mobile car detailing services.

The Mobile Car Detailing

The mobile car detailing service, on the other hand, is car cleaning with an eye to detail. A car detailing service gets to every aspect and corner of your vehicle. More experience and care are required for car detailing.

To many people, the comprehensive cleaning that is car detailing is nothing more than gratuitous and showing off, especially when done frequently. It is also cause for pause when you are upsold from a basic wash with a few add-ons to a car detailing. The considerable difference in pricing leaves you wondering what it is you are paying for.

You expect a lot when you pay for a car detailing service. Note that this service is time-consuming and material intensive. Experience is required as well to perform it effectively.

The exterior

The following services comprise exterior car detailing:

  • The mud and dirt caked onto the vehicle is removed using unique soaps and foam.
  • The wheels, brake callipers, and wheel nuts are carefully scrubbed.
  • The car’s surface is cleaned with microfibre towels and microfibre mitts.
  • An automotive clay bar is used to clear away deeply ingrained dirt from the car’s coat.
  • Mechanical or manual polishing of the paint to remove oxidation, scratches, and swirls.
  • Application of protective wax to make the car shine as new.
  • Cleaning of the windows and rubber surfaces.
  • The car rims are cleaned and given a sparkle.

Interior car detailing

  • The carpet and upholstery are vacuumed to remove dirt.
  • The carpet and upholstery are then thoroughly cleaned, and stains removed.
  • All leather surfaces are scrubbed and conditioned.
  • Every vinyl and plastic surface is cleaned and dressed.
  • Window panes and mirrors are cleaned and polished.

The engine

  • The engine is sprayed lightly with water.
  • A degreaser is applied so that the engine components are exposed.
  • The engine is then rinsed with another light water spray.
  • Finally, all the rubber, plastic, and silicone surfaces are dried not to crack. The result is a car that is almost as shiny as it was the day it left the factory.

This comprehensive process is time-consuming. It takes approximately 3 hours, so you must be prepared to wait. Mobile car detailing may be the service for you if you have no place to while away your time. The services will be brought to you, and your car will be cleaned wherever it is as you go about your day.

You pay extra for the convenience of mobile car detailing, but it’s every bit worth it. You get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Even though it costs extra, mobile car detailing is excellent value for money. It saves you time. You can go about your business rather than sit around all day waiting for your car to be washed.
  • You can schedule your car detailing instead of going to confront a car wash packed to the gates.
  • A mobile car detailing service will always let you pick your professional, as long as it is convenient for the service provider. It is easier to request a customised service as well.
  • The thoroughness of a mobile car detailing service rids you of more than dirt. It kills germs and insects, disinfects the vehicle, and gets rid of allergens.
  • Regular car detailing is going to maintain your car’s good looks and durability. Looks are what impress a prospective client first if you should decide to sell.

A drive-through car wash is a quick solution to a visibly unsightly car. This service quickly deals with dust, mud splashes, and loose dirt. However, under scrutiny, you discover scratches and smears that only a vehicle detailing will clean.


Mobile car detailing services may be costly, time-consuming, and seem overkill, especially when done frequently. But the benefits of occasional car detailing make it cost-effective.

Featured Image: Supplied by the author
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1 Comment


    I completely agree! I own a mobile car detailing business so my opinion may seem a little bias – but even before that I truly did believe that although the cost may seem more in the long run getting your car professionally detailed can actually be a really cost effective alternative. Having your car detailed is also a great way to preserve the quality of your car for longer, making it not only look better for you but also helps with value when the time comes that you want to sell your car.

    Thanks for sharing!

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