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 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.

Is It Worth Getting a Car Detailed?

Car Detailing

The short answer is yes, you should get your car detailed. Up until today, the most you have done with your vehicle is to wash it yourself or bring it to a car wash. Often neglected is the interior, which – you’d be surprised – is over 20 times dirtier than a smartphone. That alone should be more than enough to justify car detailing.

How filthy is the car interior?

  • 2,144% filthier than smartphones
  • 55% dirtier than keyboards

Keep in mind that a filthy car interior is one thing. But the more pressing concern is the presence of bacteria, including E. coli, Staphylococcus, and mold.

Car interior detailing cannot eliminate all the dirt, food crumbs, and bacteria. But it can help reduce the average number of bacteria per square centimeter (colony-forming units or CFU).

Essentially, professional car detailing services is a more precise or meticulous method of cleaning a vehicle. Every step of the way, it is done by hand with the use of tools. In this regard, you would want to have people who are highly-trained to detail your vehicle.

Why Should You Avail of Car Detailing Service?

There are more than a few reasons why you want to get your car detailed. First and foremost, regularly cleaning your vehicle is a part of maintenance and prevents damages in the future, such as foreign objects eating into the paint. Looking clean and fresh also provides the following benefits:

  1. In some estimates, you could increase the value of your car by up to 15% if you have it detailed first before putting up for sale.
  2. Applying a sealant or wax – a service provided and included even in cheap detailing services – protects the clear coat. Otherwise, dirt and other contaminants that damage this layer can attack the paint and eventually the metal causing rusting.
  3. The interior, which is not often cleaned, is home to a thriving community of germs and other microbes. Some studies, for example, suggests that there could be between 283 to 700 CFU (bacteria per square centimeter) in an average car. A public toilet, comparatively, averages 500.

What Does Car Detailing Include?

Unlike a typical car wash, a complete detailing service washes and cleans the entire car from the inside out. You can expect professional car detailers to use a variety of methods, special equipment, and cleaning agents to clean the vehicle. The goal is to make your car look as new as possible.

Every detailer would do things a little differently than others. They would also often offer various packages that include or exclude certain services at varying costs. In the past, you would have to drive your car to the car detailer. Mobile detailing, however, is becoming more popular.

Interior Car Detailing

The most neglected part of the car with regards to sanitation is the interior. Because of that, trained professionals spend most of their time cleaning this area. They would be using steam and vacuum cleaners, brushes, cleaning and disinfecting agents, and other tools to remove dust, dirt, stains, and other particles as well as microbes.

So, what happens in this stage?

Vacuum cleaning. The detailer would begin by removing debris the fastest way possible, vacuuming the trunk, compartments, seats, carpets, and other parts and areas.

Car Detailing

Scrubbing and brushing. This tedious task is one reason to engage the services of the pros. They can do a better job of removing stains on the carpets and mats.

Steam cleaning. Not all stains can be removed using a brush to scrub. The detailer would use steam to deal with the tough stains.

Leather cleaning. If you have leather inside your car, your detailer will use suitable cleaning agents to clean.

Glass cleaning. After finishing on the interior, the detailer would next clean the windows and windshield.

Deodorizing. The last thing detailers do is to spray deodorant so that your car would smell nice and clean. Ask if there are choices of scents.

For many people, the complexity of cleaning the interior is reason enough to seek the help of pros. They have the know-how, tools, and anything else needed and can do it faster and better than the average car owners.

Exterior Car Detailing

Car Detailing

After cleaning the interior, the car detailer would wash the exterior. So, in some ways, you can think of it as being the same as a regular car wash. Actually, they do more than that.

Wash and dry. Washing the car exterior begins with wetting and wiping the car body – including the glass and rims – with specialized products.

Paint claying. Any overspray, soap scum, contaminants, or residues can be removed by using a clay bar. This claying process is preparation for the next step.

Polishing. Claying makes the surface cleaner and smoother, which increases the effectiveness of polishing. In this step, the detailer buffs an abrasive compound, which removes a thin layer of clear coat to get rid of tiny swirls and scratches.

Sealing or waxing. The last step involves adding a sealant to protect the clear coat and make your car look shiny. Depending on the package or add ons, wax could be used – and there are plenty of options here too.


Related article: What is the Average Price to Get a Car Detailed?


Should You Choose Mobile Car Detailing Services?

By all means, yes. Why would you want to drive your car to a detailer when you can have one of them come to you?

If you live in or nearby Vaughan, Car Detailing provides you with these benefits:

Save time. After contacting and agreeing on the specific service, highly-trained professional detailers can come to your location, bringing all the equipment and materials needed. You no longer have to take your car to the detailer, which allows you to do other pressing tasks.

Save money. Back when mobile detailing was new, the costs were on the high side. That is no longer the case as prices are now extremely competitive. Again, think also of the time you saved and used productively instead of waiting idly.

Customized services. The packages offered are for convenience and works for most people. Should you require other services or customization, that is easily arranged.

Personalized service. A traditional car wash may have to work fast, especially when other people are waiting in line. Hurried work, as we all know, may lower the quality of work. That is less likely to happen with mobile car detailing as the trained pros sent to you only have to deal with your car.

Scheduled visits. You can arrange to have scheduled visits, which may come with discounted pricing.

Car Detailing Is Worthwhile

Car Detailing

As you have learned, the interior is where up to 700 bacterias per square centimeter live. These pathogens are a potential cause of health problems. Moreover, the accumulation of dust, dirt, grimes, food crumbs, and others all degrade the resale value of your car. The paint, for example, could be damaged by contaminants, which leads to metal corrosion.

A typical car wash only cleans the vehicle exterior. To protect your investment, your best option is to have a car detailer clean and restore your car back to its pristine state. You do not even have to waste time bringing your vehicle in and waiting for hours. Car Detailing can go to your location in and around Vaughan to take care of your prized vehicle.

Their trained professionals of Car Detailing Vaughan will bring all the necessary tools, cleaning, disinfecting, and detailing products. You only have to contact and discuss the options, make an appointment, and let them do their job at the anointed time and place.

Mobile car detailing, in a sense, is the hassle-free way of getting your car cleaned and detailed.

How Often Should You Clean Your Car Interior?

Car Interior

Remember how your car looked and smelled when you first took it from the dealer? Those days could indeed feel like centuries ago for some car owners. Of course, that depends on the condition, proper care, and maintenance of the vehicle. Although it may look pristine on the outside, the inside is altogether another matter. When was the last time you cleaned the interior?

Even if you do wipe the dashboard, clean the upholstery, and vacuum the carpet, you are not getting back that “brand new” smell. If anything, getting rid of the trash, clutters, and organizing your stuff creates a fresh atmosphere, making for pleasant drives.

When Should You Clean Your Car Interior?

Yes, you clean your car or drive to a car wash – regularly or whenever needed. Often neglected is the interior. Some do wipe the dashboard, panels, and upholstery; vacuum and wash the carpet and mats – but not frequently enough.

Unfortunately, there is no set rule on how often you should clean the car interior.

Determining the frequency depends on several factors, including:

  • Driving conditions
  • Number of passengers
  • How often you drive

If you or someone else spill bits and pieces of food or beverage inside the car, the mess needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible. Dirt, mud, and other contaminants are introduced into the interior each time you and the passengers enter the vehicle.

All that, you can clean. However, if there is something we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the unseen pathogens that can cause a great deal of harm.

Car interiors, as it turned out, can be – for the lack of a better word – unbelievably filthy even if they look clean.

Consider these:

Did you know that the steering wheel, for example, contains an average of 629 bacterias per square centimeter (colony-forming units or CFU)? Perhaps that number does not sound ominous. To put it in perspective, that is far dirtier than:

  • Mobile phone screen (100 CFU)
  • Public toilet seat (172 CFU)
  • Public elevator buttons (313 CFU)

Can you imagine your steering wheel being four times dirtier than toilet seats – for the public?

The two most common bacterias that you come in contact with inside the car are:

Staphylococcus. A gram-positive bacteria that can cause, among others, MRSA, food poisoning, and skin infection.

Propionibacterium. A gram-positive, anaerobic bacteria that cause inflammation and infection.

Some people recommend cleaning the car interior at least twice a year (deep cleaning). Others do it more frequently – once a month or week, or every two days.

If you are planning on doing it yourself, another thing you have to take into consideration is the time it takes. You may not be able to clean your vehicle as often as you like due to time limitations. In this regard, you do have the option of getting your interior detailed by professionals.

How Do You Clean Your Car Interior?

Car Interior cleaning

For sure, not everyone is up to cleaning the interior. One reason is that it is tedious if you are to be meticulous. You could, of course, keep your car relatively clean.

Equipment needed:

  • Cotton swab
  • Duster
  • Garden hose
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Scrub brush (soft-bristled)
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Wet wipe (anti-microbial)

Materials needed:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Baking soda
  • Bleach (oxygen-based)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Garbage bag
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather conditioner
  • Paper towel
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Window cleaner (ammonia-free)

Step 1. Remove debris and trash

You want to gather debris and trash from the door and seat pockets, cup holders, and the floorboards. They are the easiest to remove and dispose of or recycle. Furthermore, you should gather all items in the car and set aside in a clean place.

Step 2. Remove and clean the mattings

Remove and clean the mattings

Floor mats, as expected, are super dirty. Remove them while carefully avoiding spilling contaminants on the floorboard. Shake each piece (away from the car) to remove as much filth as possible. Alternatively, you can also use a vacuum before cleaning them.

  • Vinyl, rubber, and silicone floor mattings. Prepare a solution of warm water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Use a brush to scrub the mats and rinse with a garden hose. You can hang them to air dry.
  • Carpets. Use a carpet or upholstery cleaner, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3. Clean the windows and mirror

Spray window cleaner solution and wipe with a microfiber cloth. Make sure that the formulation does not contain ammonia, which can damage plastic parts it comes in contact with).

Step 4. Clean the console and dashboard

Clean the console and dashboard

You would be using an assortment of tools to finish this task. For removable parts, you can soak them in a warm dishwashing liquid solution then rinsing with fresh water. As for the other parts, use a duster to remove dirt, then wipe and clean with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. In tight corners, try using a toothbrush, cotton swab, or paper towel.

Step 5. Clean the steering wheel

As mentioned, the steering wheel (and the gear shift knob) are among the dirtiest inside the car. Use an anti-microbial wet wipe to clean and dry with a microfiber cloth.

Step 6. Clean the car seats and seatbelts

For cloth car seats:

Generally, you should work on the heavily-stained areas first using an upholstery cleaner. Once done, scrub the rest of the car seats before wiping clean with a damp microfiber cloth. Do read the label to see if there are other instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Note: To remove dye-based stains, apply powdered oxygen-based bleach paste and let it sit for an hour, then use a vacuum to remove the residue.

For leather car seats:

The vacuum crevice tools come in handy as you use it to remove dust and grime from stitches. Once done, wipe the entire car seat with a leather cleaner. Finish by applying a leather conditioner.


These are far easier to clean than the car seats. You also use the upholstery cleaner on the fabric while wiping fasteners and clasps with a damp microfiber cloth.

Step 7. Clean the carpet

Unless there are stains in which you have to use a carpet cleaner, you can vacuum and suck away debris and grimes.

Step 8. Clean the doors

Clean the doors

Cleaning the interior car doors is easy. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the vinyl or leather parts. For carpet material, you can use a vacuum.

Step 9. Remove odor from the car

After cleaning, allow sufficient time for damp areas to dry. If in case the car interior smells stale, try sprinkling some baking soda on the carpet and cloth seats. Leave overnight and vacuum the next day.

As an option, you can put some activated charcoal or baking soda in a secure container with tiny openings. Place it under the driver or passenger seat, changing the content every 60 days.

Should You Go to a Car Detailer for Interior Cleaning?

It depends on your primary concern – time or money. If you cannot spare extra time to clean the car interior, then let professional detailers do the cleaning. On the other hand, getting your car interior detailed does cost some money. In this case, you can clean the car yourself. Do remember that you may have to buy some equipment and tools.

As far as car enthusiasts and professionals are concerned, cars should be detailed 2 to 3 times each year. A ceramic coat may reduce the frequency. Inside the car, though, the accumulation rate of grimes and microbes should be the same – which means more frequent cleaning.

Remember that car detailers can do the job much more thoroughly. For the best value for both time and money, do consider companies that can provide home service. In Vaughan, for example, contact Car Detailing Vaughan to learn more about their mobile services.


Related article: What is the Cost of Car Detailing for a Sedan?