What is Detailing?

The ultimate goal of detailing is to bring a vehicle to its most perfect state, usually better than new. There are 3 stages to detailing - Clean, Correct, and Protect.


Cleaning involves removing everything from the vehicle that shouldn't be there. This means more than just vacuuming crumbs and wiping off dust. This also means steaming carpets to remove residual oils, chemically removing iron deposits from paint, and removing greasy residue from off-gassing. Some detail shops even remove seats and carpet (we avoid removing bolted seats for safety reasons - the bolts in many vehicles lose their strength if they are torqued to factory specifications more than once, and need to be replaced).

Cleaning also lays the foundation for the later steps. Waxes and sealants will not properly bond with improperly cleaned paint, significantly reducing their lifespan. Carpets cleaned with the wrong chemicals will quickly attract dirt and oil. For classic vehicles, improper washing can accelerate rusting. A properly cleaned vehicle is essential for the Correcting and Protecting steps.


During the Correction step, we remove all possible defects from the vehicle. The most well-known part of this step is paint correction. Paint correction used a combination of mild heat, abrasion, and pressure to smooth out the surface of a vehicle's paint. This can be used to remove scratches, swirls, and orange peel (texture caused during the painting process).

Strictly speaking, Correcting does not including adding anything new to the vehicle. For example, touch-up paint, carpet dye, tint, and leather repair are outside the scope of traditional detailing. However, many detailers offer these services in addition to conventional detailing services as a convenience to customers.


After the vehicle is Cleaned and Corrected, we Protect the vehicle to keep it looking new for as long as possible. In the interior, we apply conditioners to the plastics and leather to inhibit UV degradation. In the case of uncoated leather, we apply a moisturizer to maximize the life of the leather. We treat the carpet with a stain-resistant coating. On the exterior, we treat the trim with conditioners to protect against UV degradation (similar to the interior conditioners). We protect the paint with wax (weeks of protection), sealants (months of protection), or coatings (years of protection). Even the tires get a dressing to prevent ozone from reacting with the rubber (this is what causes tires to turn brown and crack with age).

In addition to protection, most of the products are designed to enhance the vehicle's appearance and feel. Waxes help paint shine, conditioners make black plastic look darker, and leather moisturizers keep the leather soft and supple.

If you are interested in getting a detail, take a look at our Services page.

National Trivia Day - Why are rubber brushes and fabric softener used for detailing?

National Trivia Day - Why are rubber brushes and fabric softener used for detailing?