Microfiber Cloth

When the time comes to sell your vehicle, you never know what to expect when it comes to the resale value and it can be a far cry from what you think your investment is worth. If you have a lowball offer then the problem might not be with the vehicle or its age, but the way it looks to the person intent on buying it. One major step in the reselling process is automobile detailing and it’s something that can make a huge difference to what you’re getting back for your initial investment.

Before you run out and get car detailing supplies or drive through an automatic car wash, keep in mind that automotive detailing is about a lot more than simply cleaning the vehicle’s exterior. If you want to get the most money out of your vehicle and get the best return on the cleaning process, then professional car detailing is the way to go. The detailing process that a professional car detailing business goes through will give you the best bang for your buck and leave you with a car that looks brand new.

What is Car Detailing?

In order to understand why automobile detailing can make such a big difference, you’ll have to first understand what the detailing process is like and the car detailing products that professionals have waiting for you. Professional detailers will not only give you a clean car, but also remove minor scratches, use a car shampoo process, use a microfiber cloth on every body panel, clean the plastic trim, apply tire dressing, and even clean the engine bay. That’s not even mentioning the steam cleaning for the seat and carpets, car wax for a glossy finish, the liquid polymer clear coat, and a lot more.

They use a special application process for everything, to make sure all their labor-intensive work doesn’t go to waste or get washed away in the next rain. They have specialized tools to get into hard-to-reach areas to leave your car in the best possible condition for both the interior and exterior. No matter how many car washes you go through, or how many microfiber cloths you use, you’re never going to get the same results that an automotive detailing shop gets multiple times a day.

Prepping and Steaming the Car

Of course, the best way to get good results with anything is to take the time to prepare before you go in for the hard, and time-consuming work and that’s something a good automotive detailing shop will do with your vehicle. The prepping process can involve taping off parts of your vehicle that shouldn’t be exposed to cleaning products that can be hard on surfaces they’re not meant for. Next up is usually the simple process of vacuuming up any refuse or dirt that you may have in your vehicle, and getting it out for good.

Once the interior of your vehicle is free of dirt and other trash, the next step is usually steaming your upholstery and carpets, or using a leather cleaner to both clean and condition with specialized products. UV light can have a huge impact on leather seats, and keeping them moisturized and conditioned is the only way to make sure they always look brand new and ready to be sold. A protective layer is typically added to keep the leather safe for as much time as possible, usually a few months.

Paint Treatment

Car paint is a completely different process and a professional cleaner will never use anything but microfiber towels and cloth to give you a clean car that’s free of scratches. Just like UV light on your interior, acid rain eats away at your vehicle’s exterior, as well as bird droppings and bug splatter. Getting all of that cleaned off is the first step in the detailing process, then it’s time to give your paint a finish that will keep it shiny and new.

Turtle wax is great for polishing your exterior and it will leave your paint free of water spots while taking care to treat it against the acid rain and UV damage that it gets, just by being outside. A pressure washer will also be used during your exterior detailing process and moderate pressure will be used to clean your car and paint of any dirt. It will also be used on your glass to clean away any bird droppings or bug splatter.

Removing Adhesives, Tar, or Sap

Wheel Coating

Adhesives, tar, and sap are also concerns when it comes to cleaning your car for resale, and they’re just as capable of ruining your exterior paint as anything else. Any beginner’s guide or tips for detailing your car will often overlook these things, but your car’s finish depends on them being addressed during your car detailing process, and a professional car detailing shop will always make sure that happens. The most common chemical guys use to get the job done is called a clay bar and it’s an essential.

You can find a step-by-step guide to using a clay bar, but the way it works is always the same and it’s a much better option than what people used to do to get adhesives off their vehicles. Exterior car detailing used to involve turpentine and a rag that could easily eat through your paint if not used exactly right. The clay bar has made it a much safer process and you never have to worry about destroying your exterior during the detailing process.

Why Detailing Matters

So that’s a simple rundown of the auto detailing process and now it’s time to understand why it’s so important to someone selling a vehicle and getting the best possible price out of it from a buyer. On the simplest level, the buyer is going to make a snap judgment on the worth of your vehicle based on your car detailing and car cleaning abilities. If your vehicle looks dirty then the buyer is going to assume that it’s worth less money.

There’s also a very practical reason to look for detailing when someone buys a car to resell it, like a dealer. That dealer is going to have to put in the money to get the car detailed and it will be at an upsell to you. Things like cleaning the wheels, getting a ceramic coating, and conditioning the upholstery will all have to be done before that dealer can sell the car to someone, and they always have to make a profit off it.

Interior is Crucial

The look and feel of a car’s interior is crucial to the decision of whether or not to spend several thousand dollars on it, not to mention the hundreds of hours you’ll be sitting on the seats and inhabiting the space. From the steering wheel to the surface of the dash, and even the floors, if it doesn’t all look like the cleaning was kept up and the seats were touched with anything but a clean microfiber towel, the detailing has to be spot on. Just think about looking at the detail work on a car with worn seats and torn carpeting and ask yourself how much you’d offer to buy that vehicle.

Every surface of the interior has to be clean and it has to be conditioned, making it seem like years of UV damage never happened and no one has ever sat in it but the person buying it. If the detailing isn’t pristine, the buyer will offer you much less, if anything at all. That’s why detail work is always best when it’s left up to professionals who know what they’re doing and can make your car look like it’s brand new off the assembly line.

Smells Matter, Too

Of course, it’s not all about the look of the detail work when you’re trying to sell your car for the highest amount of money that you can get out of it. It also has to smell like it’s new and that can be a challenge after years of driving it through different environments, the sun beating down on the interior, and of course, eating in your vehicle. It’s something we all do, regardless of how we feel about it, but unless you’re completely cleaning your upholstery after every meal and giving your carpets a wash, there are going to be lingering odors that a buyer will be able to pick up on.

This isn’t to say that your car smells just because you once had a burger and fries in it, though. Food smells build up on soft surfaces over time, and the people around them get desensitized and can’t pick up on them anymore. That’s why steaming and cleaning your upholstery and carpets is part of the services you’ll get when you have your car detailing done by a professional car detailing service.

Cost VS Profit

While you’re looking for a buyer for your car, you’ve most likely decided to save some money by getting the car detailing supplies and cleaning it all out yourself, instead of paying someone else to do it. Naturally, that might be a less expensive option, but it’s not going to be the best option because you most likely only know the most basic information about how to wash a vehicle. You’re not going to know the best supplies to get or how to use them to their greatest effect, leaving you with a job that’s nowhere near as good as it could be.

The money that you spend on getting your car detailing done by a professional car detailing shop will come back to you in the price you get for your vehicle. There’s also another profit margin to look at and that’s the amount of time you have to spend selling your car to the buyer. It’s a fact that detailed cars sell for both more money and faster, so you’re gaining both time and money by leaving the detail work to the people with the best tools and knowledge to do it correctly.

Show them you Care

Going through the cleaning process, getting a ceramic coating, and having a glossy coating applied to your car is going to tell the buyer a lot about how much you cared for it while you had it and that’s going to affect the price a lot. The better detailed a car happens to be, the better cared for and looked after the buyer is going to think it was. First impressions mean everything and you’re never going to get a chance to make yours a second time when it comes to showing off your car.

Once look at a shiny car with a great interior and clean undercarriage is going to make your buyer think you treated your vehicle like one of the family and that’s exactly what you want to happen. It’s that impression that’s going to make the buyer start off with a higher number, that might be even higher than the one you had in mind. That’s always a very good day!

Find a Good Detailer

Car Exterior Wash

Now that you understand why detailing is so important to selling your car for top dollar, you just have to find a professional car detailing shop that will take care of your vehicle and make it look just as good as it did the first time it was driven off the lot. You’ll have lots of them to choose from, but the one you want to use is the one with work that can speak for itself.

look for a company that details more than just cars and you’ll have a group of people who know every last facet of the work they carry out for their customers. Detailers who also do boats and RVs have a sense of what it takes to clean any type of surface and make it shine for you. Once you hear the price that’s being offered for it, you’re going to know that you made the right decision right away.

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