People detail their cars in all sorts of ways. Many use local detail shops, some have mobile detailers, and then there’s the folks who do it themselves (my personal favorite). Regardless of the method, one thing’s for sure: detailing an entire car ain’t cheap. Now we have a problem. You always want your car looking clean, but it may not make financial sense to get two car washes a week or drop a few hundred dollars on a complete detail. So what do you do? This…
Less green, more clean
If you’re looking to get the most out of your detailing dollar, you have a few options. Before we jump into those, let’s first talk about what we’re hoping to achieve. As is with any car beautification technique, the end goal is a good looking car—that’s obvious. In addition, we want the car to stay that way or else we’ll question whether or not it was worth it (like every time it rains after you get a car wash you feel as if you wasted $8). Lastly, we want to be effective. There’s no point in detailing if you’re just going to cover up your car’s ailments. Too many times I’ve seen people spray air freshener on a “slight odor” that they later found out was mildew and bacteria from a spilled beverage.
So tell me already, what are my options?
- Wax your car: $15-30. Get yourself a hand wax from the local detailer or simply do it yourself from home. The latter is much more fun, but both options will leave your car sparkling. Better yet, and this is really why it’s number one, your car is also protected. That means your car stays clean longer, extending the value of the time, money, or effort you spent on waxing it. Note: one jar of wax will last multiple uses—it’s in your best interest to do this yourself at home to save even more money.
- Condition your leather: $10-20. With little upfront investment, you can have great looking leather for the entire year. Buy a bottle of conditioning leather cream, apply it every few months, and you’ll notice richer, softer leather in no time at all. Don’t do it and, well, you’ll be sitting on a desert-like texture (not all that fun).
- Wash your car at home: $5. With a small upfront investment (supplies, products, etc.), you can effectively cut your car washing expenses by 75%. Washing your car at home (again, if you have the supplies already) can cost you next-to-nothing and proves to be a great way to get out of the house on a nice Saturday. A heavier wallet and a cleaner car… what could be better?
- Park better: $0. A lot of cars get dirty because of where they’re parked while their owners are out shopping, at work, or sleeping. As a car owner, you can make smarter choices by not parking in obviously messy situations. For example, we’ve all seen the trees with thousands of smashed berries under them—don’t park here. And if you’re in the city, avoid parking under train tracks. Pretty simple, but can go a long way. Oh, and if you’ve got a garage, that’s even better. Car covers rock, too.
In short, there are ways to save money and still keep your car clean. To this date, one of the best ways to do so is taking on your car’s detailing needs yourself. At-home detailing is a practice that, sure, saves money… but it can also have your car looking as good as any professional detail shop if you put the right amount of time and effort into it.
Do you agree? Got something to add? Let us know in the comments!