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On average, a car detail can range from $50 to $300, depending on the services you choose. By researching the types of services you need, you'll find a detailer who fits your budget.
Detailing is simply maintenance for your car's features that you touch and see every day — and it's part of the total cost of owning a car. When you go to sell, you'll get a better price for a shiny car. Until then, you'll enjoy owning and driving it more.
Car detailing services
Where a good old car wash takes the dirt and grime off your car’s exterior, a car detail is an intensive cleaning of the vehicle’s interior and exterior. It can get your car looking like it just rolled out of the dealership’s lot. Detailing usually includes:
Washing and drying the exterior by hand.
Sealing, waxing and polishing the paint.
Shining the tires.
Vacuuming the seats and floorboards.
Cleaning the glass and surfaces.
Higher-priced options can include services like shampooing the carpet, leather treatment and chrome polishing.
Car detail cost
The cost of basic car detail services is $50 to $300. While that’s a big range, prices are usually stated up front, and some businesses offer tiered packages. Others charge by the hour. How much you pay is a matter of the services you choose and which company you use.
Cost by package
A basic detail service, depending on the size of your vehicle and specific services, will run from $50 to $150, and upgrading services can easily add up to $175 on top of that if you’re buying a package.
But some packages that offer treatments to protect your car, like treating carpet and upholstery with stain protection and sealing and waxing the paint, can run well above the basic service price range — to $1,000 or more.
Some companies offer packages and individual add-on services that are charged individually. If you want a service offered in a higher package but don’t want the full package, ask if you can buy the cheaper set of services and pay to add on the extra service.
Cost by hour
If you’re paying by the hour, the cost can range from $50 to $125 per hour for standard vehicles. For larger vehicles, the rate can be $75 to $150.
Factors affecting cost
Some detail shops offer different packages of services that increase in price as more services are added. For example, a premium detail package can be over $100 more than a basic detail package, regardless of the size of the vehicle.
Pay attention to how services are advertised. Some companies might say you can have your car detailed for $35, but that might be for the exterior only. Discuss the services you want before you ask for a price.
Size of your vehicle
Smaller cars cost less for detail services because there is less to clean. Depending on the package and services, the pricing difference between a detail on a sedan and large SUV can be more than $60 for the same service.
If your car has a higher trim package with nicer features like leather seats or more chrome on the exterior, a full detail will require more services to properly clean everything, which would cost you more.
Some services like removing pet hair or scratches, smoke or odor removal and headlight restoration are offered as add-ons or are priced individually. These services can vary in price depending on the company and can be from $15 to $100.
In cities with a higher cost of living, you'll generally find a higher average cost for detailing services than in cities where costs are lower.
The cost of basic detailing services gives you a measuring stick for budgeting, but there are a lot of factors that go into pricing. Research options in your area to better understand what’s reasonable for your location.
How to save on detailing services
Look for deals or coupons. If you’re not in a hurry to get your car detailed, watch for your preferred service provider to offer a deal or send out a coupon instead of paying full price. Sign up for email lists; you may get some spam, but the detailer may send discount offers when business is slow.
Ask about discounts. Some companies offer discounts for certain situations or professions such as military personnel. While a discount won’t drastically reduce the price, it could save you around 10%.
Consider a detailing service membership. If you plan to have your car detailed regularly, ask about membership pricing. Some companies offer monthly or annual memberships that let you get regular detailing for your chosen package. In some cases, this might be cheaper than paying for one-time services.
Give your car a quick clean before you take it in. While this sounds counterintuitive, it could save you a small amount of money if your vehicle requires extensive detailing otherwise. Take it through a quick car wash to wash off mud that’s caked on the tires and clean out any trash inside the car or in a truck bed to avoid any additional fees for extra cleaning.