Car detailing offers a viable solution to proper car care and protection. When done right, it keeps your car in pristine condition and for older cars, restores that showroom, just-driven-off-the-lot look. It can even increase resale value – something to keep in mind when selling your car in the future!

But what is the average cost to detail a car, and is it worth the investment?

While you could get a thorough car detailing for only $60 to $75, prices can hike all the way up to $500 for a full-service detail job! It’s not cheap, but often required to maintain your car’s  shine long-term.

To save you time and money, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about the cost of car detailing, including:

  • What car detailing services are available
  • The average cost of each service
  • Factors that affect the price of a car detail
  • Who a car detailing service is right for
  • When to get a car detail
  • How to save money on your next detail job

What Is Car Detailing?

Car detailing is the process of cleaning, polishing, and protecting your vehicle’s exterior and interior surfaces. Unlike your standard car wash, car detailing goes far beyond simply washing your exterior.  

A detailer will polish your paint to remove any swirl marks or scratches, and often use a clay bar to remove any bonded contaminants. They may even include protective treatments like waxes and sealants to give your paint an extra layer of protection.

Besides your car’s exterior, a full-service detail job will include shampooing and vacuuming your car’s interior, as well as cleaning and protecting all interior surfaces. Overall, a car detailing will make your vehicle look, feel, and smell like new again.

The Average Cost of a Car detailing for All Services

Whether you require a full-service or just a basic cleaning, costs will vary. Let’s go through the average cost of the most popular car detailing services below:

Exterior car detailing services costs

A basic exterior car detailing ranges from $55 to $75 and includes a hand wash and pressure wash to remove dirt, grime, and salt. It also includes surface shampooing of the bumpers and door jambs and tire dressing, which is then dried with a chamois cloth.

Hand Waxing and Paint Protection

If you want to go a step further, hand waxing and polishing offers protection against the elements whilst ensuring a lustrous shine. Ceramic or graphene coatings can also be applied to further protect your car’s paint. Overall, you can expect to pay $150-300 for these services.

Cut and Polish

A cut and polish treatment removes any blemishes, swirl marks, and scratches from your car’s paint. It works by removing a very thin paint layer to level out the surface and then polishing it to a high shine. As it’s a highly specialised service, you can expect to pay $400 to $500.

Why is Exterior Car Detailing Important?

Your car more than likely spends a lot of time outdoors, meaning it’s constantly exposed to the elements. Add this to the everyday wear and tear of driving, and it’s no wonder your car’s finish starts to degrade over time.

Cleaning and protecting your vehicle is a proactive approach to proper maintenance and can significantly extend your car’s life. By getting a detailed car wash that regularly removes dirt, tree sap and other pollutants, you’ll prevent them from etching the paint and causing permanent damage. Furthermore, an exterior car detailing used to remove scratches and swirl marks can make your car look like new again.

We recommend a full decontaminate, clean, polish, and protection treatment at least once a year. However, if your car is prone to more dirt and grime, then every six months is ideal.

Interior Car Detailing Costs

Every interior car detailing job will include a thorough cleaning and vacuuming of the carpets, floor mats, upholstery, and seats. Stains are swiftly removed via steam cleaning and leather surfaces are conditioned to prevent cracking. You can also expect a cleaning of all interior surfaces, including the dashboard, centre console, and door panels. Book your car interior cleaning with us today and give your car a spotless and refreshing look.

Vehicle owners can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $300 for a full interior car detailing. However, if you only require specific areas to be cleaned i.e. the carpets and upholstery, you can expect to pay $75 to $150.

Why Is an Interior Detail Important?

“As long as my car looks good on the outside, why bother with the interior?” 

Over time, your car’s various fabrics, whether it’s the upholstery, floor mats, or carpets, will absorb spills, stains, and dirt. These, if left unattended, will lead to a build-up of grime and bacteria, which can be difficult (and expensive) to remove. Here’s some of the most common car problems you should be aware of.

A well-kept and clean interior communicates that you take pride in your car and its maintenance, making you look better and boosting its resale value. After all, prospective car buyers would rather purchase a vehicle that looks and smells new, rather than one that needs a lot of work.

We recommend getting your car detailed at least twice a year to maintain its appearance and condition. However, if you have a habit of spilling coffee or often eat in your car, you may want to consider getting it detailed more frequently.

Mobile Car Detailing Services

Mobile car detailing takes the best of everything that a standard car detail offers and brings it directly to your door. As long as you have a driveway or a spot to park, a mobile detailer will have no problem cleaning and polishing your car to perfection.

In terms of mobile car detailing cost, it doesn’t differ all too much from a standard car detail. You can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $500 for a full mobile car detailing, not including the travelling fee which is typically charged per KM. If your mobile detailing company provides prices not too dissimilar to this, then it’s worth considering their services.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Car Detailing

Car detailing costs typically aren’t set in stone and can be subject to a range of different factors. Since cars come in all shapes and sizes, your car detailing price will ultimately come down to its condition, size, your preferences and chosen provider.

  1. The Size and Type of Your Car

Larger vehicles like SUVs and 4WDs tend to take longer to clean and detail, due to their larger surface areas. As a result, you can expect to pay more for their services. This also applies to luxury and sports cars, which often have more intricate and sensitive features that require extra care and attention.

  1. Your Car’s Condition 

A car covered in swirl marks and pollutants will take longer to detail than one that’s in relatively good condition. The more work required, the higher the price.

Your car’s condition also applies to its interior. A car with heavily stained carpets and seats will take more time and product to clean than one that’s relatively clean.

  1. Your Car Detailing Preferences

Do you require waxing and polishing? Or do you want the full works including a paint correction and shampooing of the carpets? The more services you opt for, the more you can expect to pay for your car detail. We recommend going with a full package if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck.

  1. Your Chosen Provider

Not all car detailers are created equal and some will naturally have more clients than others. The trick here is to find a reputable provider who offers competitive rates, whilst also providing a high level of service. If you’re unsure, gather a few quotes from different providers to get an idea of what you should be paying.

  1. Location

Metropolitan areas or larger cities will generally have higher overheads, which is often passed down to the consumer. If you live in a remote area, you can generally pay less for the same level of service as someone living in the city.

For example, Victoria residents can expect to pay an average of $150-$380 for a full car detail, whereas those living in New South Wales will only pay $150-$250.

  1. Add ons

Car detailing companies typically offer extra services such as headlight restoration, engine cleaning, odour and pet hair removal and signage removal. A professional detailer will be able to offer you a range of services tailored to your specific needs.

Is Car Detailing Worth the Price?

The answer to this question is subjective and boils down to your personal circumstances. If you have the budget and your car is subject to the rigours of daily driving, then we recommend getting it detailed at least twice a year. This restores the paintwork, prevents premature ageing and keeps the interior clean and free of ugly stains.

For those who use their car for the occasional weekend drive or live in a rural area with minimal traffic, a standard car wash or a DIY car wash is sufficient. This is because your car isn’t likely to be exposed to the same level of wear and tear.

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how important your car is to you and what you’re willing to spend on its upkeep. If you consider your car to be a valuable asset and intend to sell it one day, car detailing is always a must.

When to Get Your Car Detailed by a Professional?

Do you drop by your local auto detailer the moment you see a scratch or two? Perhaps you wait until the car looks a little more worse for wear before you consider getting it detailed. Below are the best times to get your car detailed by a professional:

Before Selling Your Vehicle

If you’re considering selling your car, remember that first impressions count. A prospective buyer is not going to give an old banger with a dirty interior and faded paintwork for a high price, no matter how well it runs.

A professional detailer can bring your car’s exterior back to life with a good cut and polish. Once your car’s shine has been restored, it will look new and boost resale value. The interior will also be cleaned and refreshed, making it more presentable to buyers wanting to give it a quick spin.

Winter or Summer Seasons

Your car isn’t immune to the harsh effects of the winter or summer seasons. In fact, these are two of the worst times for your car’s paintwork as UV rays and strong winds containing debris can cause damage. Not to mention the additional dirt and grime that your car will accumulate during these months.

A professional detailer can protect your car’s paintwork with specialised products, making it more resistant to the elements. This will keep your car in great condition throughout the toughest months, regardless of how sunny or cold it gets.

Ready to Get Your Car Detailed? Trust Sidepost’s Experienced Professionals

If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced car detailing service in Australia, you’ve come to the right place. At Sidepost, our car detailing experts are vastly experienced and cover everything from standard car wash service to complete detail jobs. We also service all across the country particularly in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide, Canberra, and Gold Coast.

For a quote, simply get in touch with us today by calling us at 1300 138 499 or book online. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.