What Is Car Detailing?

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Car detailing is the process of restoring and cleansing a car's exterior and interior to maintain its appearance. It involves using specialized tools, products, and techniques to clean, protect, and enhance all parts of the car's surface. Detailing includes:

  • Cleaning, polishing, waxing, and conditioning the paint
  • Cleaning windows
  • Dressing tires
  • Interior restoration, including vacuuming carpets and upholstery
  • Leather treatment
  • Engine bay cleaning
  • Other services that improve the aesthetic appeal and resale value

The level of detailing varies depending on the car's condition and individual preferences. And If you are someone looking for car detailing in San Diego, then we would be happy to learn more about your unique preferences.

Overview of Car Detailing

It is possible to achieve a high level of aesthetic excellence through an extensive process of cleaning and restoring a vehicle's interior and exterior components.

Car detailing is an umbrella term for a range of services that go beyond basic washing and waxing. These services typically include polishing, paint restoration, headlight restoration, leather conditioning, engine cleaning, and more.

It is essential to note the distinction between car detailing and car washing.

If you decide to wash your car professionally, that involves primarily cleaning the exterior surfaces with soap and water as well as waxing them.

Detailers take it further by using specialized tools to clean hard-to-reach areas such as air vents or wheels.

Additionally, some professional detailers may offer additional services, such as window tinting or ceramic coating application, which are not available at typical car washes.

DIY solutions are also available but typically provide inferior results compared to professional services due to their lack of experience and access to specialized tools.

Benefits of Detailing

Regular maintenance of an automobile's exterior and interior through professional services can yield numerous advantages, such as improved resale value and enhanced aesthetic appeal.

Car detailing includes cleaning, polishing, and waxing a vehicle's interior and exterior to achieve maximum protection from water damage, oxidation, environmental pollutants, and UV radiation.

In addition to maintaining or restoring a vehicle's paintwork to its original condition, car detailing also involves thoroughly cleaning all glass surfaces, wheels, and tires.

A comprehensive detailing job can help protect the surface finish from corrosion due to road salt or other contaminants. As well as providing long-term protection for a vehicle's paintwork, car detailing also gives it a 'showroom' look that enhances its overall appearance. We also have created an ar

Types of Detailing

Professional detailing services can provide a variety of treatments to vehicles, ranging from car waxing and polishing to window cleaning and tire dressing.

Car waxing is the process of applying a protective coating to the vehicle's painted surface to protect it from elements such as dirt, dust, and water.

This protection layer helps reduce paint fading due to UV damage and oxidation. Paint protection involves applying a ceramic or sealant coat onto the car's finish, protecting it from scratches, staining, bird droppings, and other environmental contaminants.

Professional detailers also offer window cleaning, which involves using special solutions to clean away dirt, streaks, smudges, fingerprints, and other stains on glass surfaces. At the same time, tire dressing gives tires extra shine, making them look brand new.

DIY Car Detailing Tips

Maintaining a vehicle's appearance can be achieved through DIY car detailing, allowing people to care for their vehicles. This process requires the use of several specific items and techniques to achieve optimal results. The most common DIY supplies include:

  • Cleaning solutions such as soaps, waxes, polishes, and degreasers
  • Microfiber cloths or towels for safely removing dirt and debris without scratching the paint
  • A vacuum cleaner with various attachments for cleaning hard-to-reach areas
  • Brushes with soft bristles for scrubbing away stubborn spots or stains
  • A spray bottle containing a solution of water and vinegar for treating glass surfaces.

Learning about these supplies before beginning any project is essential to ensure the job is done correctly.

Additionally, it is important to pay close attention when following instructions on any product labels to avoid potential damage to the vehicle.

With this knowledge, DIY car detailing can be an enjoyable experience that yields satisfying results.


Car detailing is an important process that makes cars look better. Vehicles can be kept in top condition for years with proper care and attention to detail.

The right products and techniques will help protect the paint from UV rays, road salt, dirt, and grime. Professional car detailers have access to various products for this purpose.

Discover the art of automotive perfection. Schedule your car detailing today at (612) 889-5604.

Verified Google Reviews

EXCELLENT SERVICE! Will at San Diego Select Detailing did a full service on my Chevy truck and everything came out awesome! Exterior, Wheels, Interior seat shampoo, dashboard, lights, etc! Amazing service and super cool guy! Would recommend his services to everyone!

Nick Powell

Link to Google Review ↗
These guys brought my Range Rover back to life.  Scratches i didnt think would come out.  Looks great.  Lots of people do 'mobile detailing' which is a glorified car wash.  These guys are on their game w paint correction and scratch removal which is what i needed.  Will definitely use them again.

vito arminio

Link to Google Review ↗
Wow, just wow! I brought my 2008 Ford Escape to Will for an auto detailing, cleaning and full exterior shine and wax and let me tell you my Ford needed some serious TLC. I left the Escape in Will hands and didn't really have any expectation on how well it was going to turn out. Much to my surprise my car looks better than ever! Actually it looks brand new. The interior is back to when I first bought it. It smells fresh and clean and the seats look like they were just taken from the factory. The seats no longer have blemishes or stains, all the dirt and grit is gone from all the nooks and crannies that have built up over time! The outside of the car shines bright! I can't thank Will enough for the tremendous job he did! My warhorse of a vehicle is ready for battle again! Thank you, Will. I'm thrilled about the job you did and would recommend your services to anyone looking to bring life back into their vehicle inside and out! Cheers, keep up the great work!

David Goshgarian

Link to Google Review ↗
Will did an amazing job detailing my car! He meticulously cleaned it inside and out and made it look brand new. He even went above and beyond with cleaning the interior and coating the exterior with a protective sealant. I appreciate him being flexible and professional. This is the best car detail company I’ve dealt with. I highly recommend them!

Phillip Walters

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I’ve used San Diego Select Car Detailing for the second time, and their service continues to amaze me. They are convenient and flexible in scheduling which I need. They have everything they need, making the process smooth and hassle-free. The work they do is exceptional; my car came out looking showroom-new. Their Full Detail service is a testament to their commitment to quality, with every inch of my car meticulously cleaned and polished.The team’s professionalism and attention to detail really stand out. They treat your car with great care, ensuring the best possible cleaning and protection. It’s clear they take pride in their work, which is reflected in the fantastic results. For anyone in San Diego looking for top-notch car detailing, San Diego Select Car Detailing is my go-to recommendation. The quality of their service has consistently left my car looking its best.

Jonathan Marden

Link to Google Review ↗
Great guys to work with. Got an interior detail and headlight restoration with them first. The results were phenomenal and there are now my go to people for detailing. Just recently got a paint correction due to discoloration on my hood and a fair amount of scratches. I was amazed with how glossy the paint looked. The discoloration is completely gone and the paint seems fully restored. Would recommend them to anyone.

Kobuk Van Houten

Link to Google Review ↗
So stoked to write this review for Will and San Diego Select Detailing! I originally inquired about their Paint Correction service through their website and received a text later the same day with their availability and pricing. Will answered all of my questions and was awesome when it came to coordinating a work space. Before getting started, Will and I walked around the car together and talked about my specific needs and wants. He clearly strives to provide a customized, ultra-professional experience for each of his customers and was great at setting expectations and explaining his process. My car looks incredible and I am so impressed with his artisan-like care and attention to detail. My wife and I couldn’t believe how great the paint looked after a Paint Correction service with Will. Will is very personable, extremely detail oriented and passionate about his work. I would HIGHLY recommend him to anyone looking for a quality Paint Correction or auto detailing service!

Kevin Craig

Link to Google Review ↗
I’ve been using San Diego Select Detailing for a few years now simply because they are AMAZING! My truck looks good as new after every visit.I’m a professional dog trainer, so you can imagine how much dog hair gets accumulated after a while. And of course there will be the occasional potty accident.San Diego Select Detail will not only wash my seats, but they use a treatment to disinfect and get the smell out.There’s no other detail company I can trust to give me the exceptional service I get with San Diego Select.

Carolina Don

Link to Google Review ↗

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Detail My Car?

Perfection & Protection.

Frustrated with everything that the car wash leaves behind?
Does your paint not shine like it used to?
In love with your car and want to preserve your investment for the long term?

That is why we are here. Not only do we leave you with flawless results, but we make sure that your paint, leather, and other materials are protected for years to come. We will treat your car (and you) like one of our own.

Do I need a "Shampoo Treatment"?

The shampoo and hot water extraction is the best possible care for your FABRIC seats.

We will bathe your seats in thick foam shampoo, agitate it with a fabric brush attachment on a drill, and then extract all the grime, dirt, stains and contaminant from the seats with hot water at 210ºF.If your seats need a refresh, this is as good as it gets. Because the service takes 45 minutes on average, and only a small percent of vehicles need it we charge extra for it. Don't worry - its only $50 extra. Totally worth it.

Will My Scratch "Buff Out"?

Do you have any little scrapes and scratches that bother you?

We can handle it.. to an extent. We are polishing experts - so if the scratch isn't too deep, we can get it out. Ever heard of "The Fingernail Test", this is a great way to know if your scratches are fixable. If you feel the scratch will your fingernail and you can feel a groove in the paint, it it probably a little bit too deep ~in the sections where the groove is~

What is a "Clay Bar"?

A clay bar is exactly what it sounds like, a little ball of malleable puddy.

This is used in the decontamination phase of the detail to prepare your paint for protection.

Every exterior detail has 3 phases: 1. Wash 2. Decontaminate 3. Protect.The decontamination stage is responsible for removing from the paint everything that doesn't come off from the wash.

Remember when you bought your car and the paint was smooth to the touch? That is the goal of this stage. Remove all the crusty junk that is stuck to you paint. This way, when we apply sealant (protection) to your paint it will adhere to the paint itself, rather than the junk sitting on the surface. This will give the sealant its longest possible useful life.

Why "Wax" My Car?

For the same reason that you get an oil change. Engines are expensive to replace (8-15K) so we take good care of them. So is your paint - the average paint job costing around $5,000. If you don't protect your paint with some type of ceramic, wax, or sealant, your paint WILL fail.

In San Diego, our biggest enemy is the sun, or the salt if you live near the beach. Next time you are in a big parking lot, look around at the hoods of the vehicles. You will notice around 1/6 vehicles have completely delaminated clear coat.

That means the paint looks like dead skin on the surface and you could peel it off with you fingers. Not pretty. There is a simple solution to ensure your vehicle never ends up like this. Exterior Detailing. Bonus points for a ceramic coating with is the best protection possible.

Difference Between "MINI DETAIL" and "FULL DETAIL"?

In all honesty, we don't love doing "Mini Details"... That's because they aren't perfect.

If you have the budget for a "Full Detail", we will always try and push you that way. The biggest difference is one thing - TIME.

Since we know full detailing service is a little too pricey for some customer, we have decided to offer a cheaper service - the downside is that we have to compromise on quality as a result. In our experience, it takes 3.5-4 hours per car to deliver flawless results to our customers.

Full Details are guaranteed satisfaction. If we miss anything, or you aren't satisfied with the results, we will be back for a free touch up ASAP. To compensate for the lower price, The "Mini Detail" compresses a 4 hour service into a 2 hour service. Yes, this means we have to cut some corner and cannot guarantee perfection the way we do with our "Full Detail" service.