Second to purchasing an entirely different or new car, there is not much that can replace a detailed cleaning to reinvigorate the bond with your car. Above just driving through an automatic carwash and simple vacuum, a detail will have your car looking just about as clean as when it rolled off the assembly line.
But whether to do it yourself is a decision that you will have to make. Both certainly have their pros and cons. Depending on how much time you have and what specifically you are looking for the detail may sway your decision one way or the other.
Here are some areas to consider when deciding whether to do a DIY detail or have it done by a professional service.
This is likely one of the major areas most people think of when deciding whether or not to get a professional detail. There might be a bit of a sticker shock when you are quoted for a detail by a professional company. This is especially true with either a larger vehicle or a deeper overall cleaning.
However, when you consider the specialized cleaning solutions and tools you would need to buy to achieve similar results, may make the professional detailing more appealing. That said, if you plan on detailing your car often, the initial cost of the supplies and cleaning solutions can be considered an investment.
There is a chance the initial costs could be made up for, but it would take several cleanings.
Winner: Professional (initially)
Along with the high cost of a quality detail, a good one will also take more time. Professional companies often charge a premium for their services as their experienced employees know how to efficiently flow through the interior and exterior of a car, as well as what order things they should clean in.
Even if you are a “seasoned vet” with cleaning your car and know it like the back of your hand, nothing can match the teamwork and experience of a professional detailing crew.
If you enjoy the work and you get a sense of pride looking at the results of your own hard work, you might consider a DIY detail.
This is very similar to time but belongs almost on its own. The time actually spent on detailing your car might be significantly less than if you did it yourself. However, if you factor in getting to and from the detailing location, as well as any other transportation while the car is being cleaned, the total time might be closer. It is the ability to find an opening in the schedule, as well as coordinate supporting rides that make the convenience of the DIY detail edge out.
How Dirty the Car is
There is only so much, even a professional detailing crew can accomplish and clean in a certain amount of time. If your car is incredibly dirty or filled with odds and ends from a recent car trip, it might be worth taking some time to remove all of the straw wrappers, empty water bottles or anything else that might make whoever will do the detailing easier.
Not unlike giving food-covered dishes a quick rinse before adding them to the dishwasher, this initial cleaning will only help in the end.
It is the specific type of dirt and grime you are trying to get up that may move your decision to a professional service, vs. DIY. If it will take just throwing away any refuse that has built up with little grime left over, it might not make sense to pay for someone else to do that.
However, if you are looking to clean up spills or remove built-up pet hair, a professional service can save a lot of money, time, and frustration.
Winner: DIY (for the most part)