How Much Does It Cost To Detail A Car?

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 article, we’ll cover everything you could ever want to know about car detailing services, including how much they cost.

Types Of Car Detailing Services

Hand Wash – $10-$50

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:

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

Carpet Shampoo – $40-$60

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, expect a $5-$15 increase. Keep in mind that it’s always best to vacuum your carpets before shampooing, so you may want to pair it with a basic hand-wash as well.

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

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 them cleaned and conditioned ensures the leather doesn’t dry out and crack.

How much can you expect to spend on this service? About $40-$60, depending on the condition of the seats.

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

Headlight and taillight housings are typically made out of polycarbonate plastic, so it’s not the same type of surface as the body panels. Because of this, different products are needed to make them shine, like with chrome. The same goes for certain exterior trim pieces.

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

Exterior Wax – $50-$100

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

Wax defends your paint from things like 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

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.

As for scratches, if it’s a deep scratch, you might be able to remove it yourself at home. Otherwise, expect either of these services to add another $80-$150 to the bill. Though, if there’s more than a little damage, it may be a lot more.

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

Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not dirty. We’re referring to the areas of your car that 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 an application of 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

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, check out our step-by-step guide on how to do so 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.