How Much Does It Cost To Detail A Car?

Everybody loves a freshly detailed car. Here are the different types of car detailing services as well as their respective estimated costs.

Who doesn’t enjoy a freshly detailed car?

The problem is that if it’s been a while since your last cleaning, it might be a bigger job than you have time to do yourself.

What can you expect in terms of car detailing costs?

Car detailing prices depend on which services you want. For a simple interior/exterior wash (which includes shampooing the carpets, seats, and cargo area), expect to spend between $100-$175.

Tack on some extras, like an exterior wax, scratch removal, and an engine bay cleaning, and this range increases to $265-$565.

Thankfully, in this guide, I will cover everything you could ever want to know about car detailing services, including the cost of course.

I’ll use my years of experience in the field to provide you with the most accurate estimate possible.

Let’s get started!

Table of ContentsShow

Types Of Car Detailing Services

Hand Wash – $10-$50

hand holding soapy sponge washing car

If you’re looking for a basic exterior wipe-down, a hand wash is pretty much all you should need. Most of the time, this includes both the interior and exterior.

This service usually runs between about $10-$50, depending on the size of your vehicle and its condition.

Here’s what you can expect to get:

  • Vacuum carpets
  • Wash exterior
  • Clean wheels/tires
  • Dust cracks with air compressor
  • Dry

Carpet Shampoo – $40-$60

cleaning car carpet

Shampooing the carpet in your car is a great way to preserve its resale value. Not only does it help prevent mold and odors, but if done seasonally, it should keep them looking new as well.

This service usually costs between $40-60, which may or may not include the trunk or rear cargo area.

If not, anticipate a $5-$15 increase. Keep in mind that it’s always best to vacuum your carpets before shampooing, so you may want to match it with a basic hand wash as well.

Upholstery/Leather/Vinyl Cleaning – $40-$60

hand holding towel or rag wiping car seat

Yes, shampooing cloth seats and conditioning the leather surfaces costs extra – usually. This is a great thing to have done every 3-6 months or so as the seasons change.

If you didn’t know, leaving dirt and dust on your cloth seats will cause them to wear faster. As for leather, having it cleaned and conditioned ensures the leather doesn’t dry out and crack.

How much can you expect to spend on this service?

About $60-$80 depending on the condition of the seats.

Headlights/Taillights/Exterior Trim Polish – $60-$70

cleaning and polishing car headlights

Headlight and taillight housings are usually crafted from polycarbonate plastic, so it’s not the identical kind of surface as the body panels. Consequently, specific items are required to give them a glossy appearance, such as chrome. The equivalent applies to particular exterior adornments.

How much for these to be cleaned and polished? Expect it to add between $60-$70 to the total of your car detailing costs.

Exterior Wax – $50-$100

car waxing

Having the exterior of your car waxed is one of the most effective detailing services for protecting its resale value.

Wax defends your paint from UV rays, light scratches or dents, and bird droppings, which are acidic and can cause discoloration.

Over time wax will wear away, meaning you’ll have to reapply every 3-months or so.

How much will this service add to your car detailing costs? Depending on the size of your vehicle, as well as the type of wax you use, about $50-$100.

Paint-less Dent/Scratch Removal – $80-$150

removing car scratches and dents

Previously, if your car had a ding or a dent, there weren’t a lot of options other than to have it sanded down and painted.

Thankfully, now there’s paint-less dent repair (PDR), which, as its name suggests, doesn’t require any painting. This not only makes it faster to fix a dent but cheaper too. However, PDR won’t apply if the metal has creased or if the paint is cracked.

When it concerns scratches, you might possibly remove them by yourself at home.

If not, anticipate either of these offerings to increase the amount by $80-$150. However, if there’s significant destruction, the total could be much higher.

Undercarriage/Chassis/Engine Bay Cleaning – $5-$145

spraying or washing car undercarriage

Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not dirty. We’re referring to the areas of your car you don’t usually see, like the undercarriage, chassis, wheel wells, and engine bay.

There are a lot of nasty things on the road, many of which are harmful to the condition of your undercarriage and chassis, especially if you let them sit.

Thankfully, if you have it sprayed down every few months, it helps protect it from corrosion.

As for steam cleaning the engine bay, this is usually followed by applying a degreaser. The plastic, rubber, and silicone parts are then sprayed with a conditioner to keep them from drying out, which ensures they don’t crack and break.

How much for any of these car detailing services?

It depends on how dirty they are. Expect to spend an extra $5-$50 for your undercarriage and chassis and another $35-$145 for your engine bay.

Treat Your Car The Way You Would Want It To Treat You

how to get smoke smell out of car

Just kidding, but seriously, detailing your car once every 3-6 months is a great way to keep it looking as new as possible.

This not only preserves its retail value but, in some cases, can protect it from certain types of damage as well.

As for removing the smell of smoke, read our step-by-step guide on how to do that at home.

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Joshua Barrett

Josh Barrett is a writer hailing from the great state of Alaska. While describing himself in the third person is not his forte, writing about any and all things automotive – is. After 13+ years hustling in the exciting world of car sales, he took off to travel the world with his dog Teemo.