Car Washing vs. Car Detailing: What’s the Difference?

Car Washing vs. Car Detailing: What’s the Difference?

Tajinder Kalia

An automotive detailing service goes above and beyond a basic car wash by offering a more extensive and thorough cleaning, correction, and protective coating service to deeply clean your vehicle’s exterior and interior while you are driving.  

A car detailing service focuses on restoring and rejuvenating your vehicle’s paint while providing an advanced layer of protection. Although you might detail your car at home from time to time, an automotive detailing service is a special event that gives your vehicle the complete refreshment it needs.

1) Cleaning 

Auto detailing and a car wash share one thing in common: water. Both methods use water to clean your vehicle and wash away dirt, dust, grime, and oils that have accumulated on your vehicle’s exterior paint finish and interior surfaces. 

In addition to the water, a car detailing service also employs special cleaning agents and car wash equipment that assists in a deep clean of your vehicle.

2) Correction 

Car detailing services use a variety of methods to smooth out and eliminate defects and imperfections in your vehicle’s paint. From a clay bar to compound and polish, auto detailers use specialized car care products and equipment to polish and smooth out your vehicle’s exterior paint, trim, and wheels. 

In addition to correcting defects, detailing services also remove light scratches, oxidation, and swirl marks while your vehicle is protected under a coat of wax or paint sealant.

3) Protection

A car detailing service goes above and beyond a basic wash and a car wax by adding a protective layer on top of your vehicle’s paint. 

From a full paint sealant, a polymer coating, or a paint protection film, the methods offered by many professional detailing services are designed to add a protective layer to your vehicle’s paint job. 

In addition to adding a protective layer, many tinted and ceramic coatings also offer a unique colour and gloss that enhances the appearance and beauty of your vehicle.

Using a process known as machine polishing or buffing, auto detailers apply some form of protective coating to your vehicle’s exterior. 

4) Interiors

Auto detailers are experts at cleaning and reconditioning the interior of your vehicle. From removing stains from the upholstery to fixing worn and aging carpets, an auto detailing service cleans, revitalizes, and restores your vehicle’s interior from top to bottom. 

In addition to cleaning and conditioning the upholstery, auto detailers also remove stains and marks from the dashboard and console. 

Should I Get a Car Wash or Car Detail?

While car washes and car detailing services are both effective in keeping your vehicle clean, the difference in quality will be noticed the moment you open your vehicle’s door. 

Car detailing services provide a higher degree of cleaning and correction, while also adding a protective layer on top of your vehicle’s exterior and interior. 

From a freshly waxed paint finish to a clean, stain and water-resistant interior, a car detailing service truly makes your vehicle look and feel brand new.


A car wash is the most sanitary and safe way to keep your vehicle clean and free of potentially damaging contaminants. However, if you want to restore and rejuvenate your vehicle’s appearance, you will want to consider choosing an auto detailing service.

Yellow Star offers top-notch exterior and interior detailing services, covering every inch of your car for a deep clean. Book an appointment with us today to see the results for yourself.

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