How to Tell If Your Car Needs Detailing

how to tell if your car needs detailing

Signs Your Car Needs Detailing

1. Foggy Headlights

foggy headlights

 

Headlights are exposed to many contaminants and damaging elements. From salt on the road to pollution in the air and rain, your headlights can quickly build up a significant layer of grime. Even a thin layer of dirt can affect how well your headlights work. This can be dangerous especially when visibility is already compromised by weather conditions. If your headlights look as though they have a sheen of dirt on them, it is time for detailing.

2. Swirl Marks and Light Scratches

Swirl marks and light scratches can come from a variety of sources – tree branches, rocks flying up from the road and even from the brushes intended to help wash your car. Exterior detailing will help buff out these small scratches before they become deeper and pose the risk of rust forming.

3. Your Windshield Isn’t as Clear as It Could Be

Much like headlights, your windshield is exposed to a wide range of damaging elements. While you can usually remove light dirt with a simple wash, this is often not as effective as a proper detailing. Many washing techniques can leave streaks which reduce visibility and leave distracting marks behind. It may seem like a trivial issue, but consider what could happen if you get distracted from the road because of dirty streaks or debris on your windshield. This is much more common and easily done than you might assume.

4. Sticky Interior Surfaces

While the outside of your car is dealing with the elements, your interior is likely dealing with a host of spills, sticky hands and dirty shoes. While stickiness or dirt in some areas may just be inconvenient, if you have a build up of grime around your gear shift, this can reduce your car’s functionality. Similarly, a sticky steering wheel may prove to be a distraction while driving.

5. Tires in Need of TLC

Tires are an often overlooked part of what keeps your car safe. Along with regularly checking tire pressure and making sure to get your tires rotated on time, you should also keep them clean. Detailing tires does more than just restore their shine, though it does do that well too. Thorough cleaning of tires removes caked on dirt and mud that can impede traction. Expert detailers will also be able to tell you if there are any issues with your tires such as worn down areas, punctures, or damaged hubcaps.

6. You Plan to Sell Your Car

Less of a sign and more of a special circumstance but if you plan to sell your car, this is a good time to invest in detailing. This will help you show your car’s best side to potential buyers. Even if you plan to simply trade in your car at the end of a lease, this can help you retain more of the car’s value.

7. Interior Odor

Many interior car fabrics are darker in color and are often treated with a stain protectant. This means even a clean looking car may still have tons of ground in dirt and stains. While the seats may still look nice, they may not smell nice. If you notice an odor when you first enter your car, it is time to get car detailing. Even if you get used to the smell, it is likely also permeating your clothes and hair. Avoid embarrassing, musty odors with a deep interior car detailing.

interior odor

When is a Wash Enough?

While car detailing is an amazing tool in your car care routine, it is not something that most cars will need every week or even every month. A car wash is a faster and cheaper option that is great to do in between detailing sessions. Here are some scenarios where a car wash is probably all you need.

  • There is only a light amount of dust and dirt on your car
  • It has been less than three months since you had your car detailed and you have not driven your car in excessively muddy or dirty areas
  • The interior of your car is still clean and does not have built up odors
  • You can get your windows clean with a simple wash

How Often Should You Detail Your Car?

If you are still not sure about checking for signs of when car detailing is needed, you should at least aim for one car detailing every four to six months. Having your car detailed at least two to three times a year helps keep up maintenance to prevent bigger problems from forming. For example, it is much easier to remove small scratches and swirls if you have them buffed out by a detailer on a regular basis. If these small scratches are left to build up, your entire exterior will look poorly.

Who Should Get More Frequent Car Detailing: For some drivers, you may want to increase this to four or even six times per year. If you find yourself driving on salted roads or through muddy tracks frequently, your car is more likely to have a buildup of dirt and grime in small spaces. Similarly, if you are like many car owners and use your car to eat into  and to transport kids and pets, you likely need more frequent detailing.

Between sticky spills, dirty shoes and accumulated pet hair, your car needs at least three or four detailing sessions each year. Many car owners who have this issue often do not have time to keep up with regular washing. This makes frequent detailing even more important. Without regular washing in between detailing, small scratches on the exterior and ground in dirt and odors on the interior can build up even faster.

When You Can Get Away with Fewer Car Detailing Sessions: Car owners who work to keep their cars as clean as possible with regular washing typically do not need car detailing as often.  If you wash your exterior and take special care to not dirty the interior, you may only need to detail once or twice a year.

When Should You Get Your Car Detailed?

Assuming you do not have an emergency need for cleaning, the best times of year to get your car detailed are at the start of summer and middle to end of fall. Detailing before summer clears away leftover road salt from winter and mud from spring. This preps your car for long summer vacation drives and trips.

Detailing in the fall preps your car for winter. While it might seem counterintuitive to clean a car just before it is about to withstand all the dirt and road salt of winter but this is the perfect time. Clearing out old dirt will give your car a clean slate before winter. A buildup of dirt on tires or headlights before winter will make it more likely that the issue will get bad enough to cause bigger problems.

Should You Get Both Interior and Exterior Car Detailing?

When people think of car detailing, they tend to think mostly of the exterior. Headlights, windows, tires and the body of the car are important areas to keep clean. However, the interior of your car is just as important for car detailing.

Odors and bacteria that accumulate in your car interior are not only unpleasant, they can also collect in your clothing and potentially affect breathing. For those who are sensitive to smells or struggle with any breathing issues, built up interior dirt can pose a real problem.

Similarly, sticky spills can build up around buttons, the gearshift, steering wheel and more. Along with no one wanting to touch these areas, stickiness can cause a window button to stick or a gear shift to be more difficult to use.

How to Get Started With Car Detailing

Car detailing may not always be as convenient as a simple wash but it is an important part of car maintenance. Once drivers have their car professionally detailed, many cannot believe how their car is transformed back to an almost like-new condition.

If your car isn’t as clean as it should be, it’s time to get your car detailed. The experienced team at Cardetailing.ca is here to answer your questions and get your car ready for wherever you want to go. Make your appointment now by calling 647-371-1909.