How Often Should Detailing Be Done?
We want to try and help answer the question everybody asks. How often should I detail my vehicle?
This type of question is asked often. While there is no right or wrong answer due to many variables, we believe there is a standard to be followed. First we take a look at the few things that may change what your specific situation is in need of.
How far is your automobile driven every week?
Is the vehicle kept inside a garage or left outside exposed to the elements?
How is the vehicle normally washed/maintained?
How often are you applying protection to the paint?
What kind of protection are you applying?
So let's start with number one. Popular belief says your car can be or should be cleaned every gas tank or so. Why this rule doesn't really work is simple. You could be commuting far and using a tank of gas every few days, or you could be commuting 2 miles down the road and using a gas tank every two weeks. If your vehicle is driven an average amount it should equate to about a tank of gas a week and thus the recommendation means, wash your car weekly. While this is a great idea as the car will be consistently cleaned and ready for the week ahead, it may not be that dirty, or it could be significantly more dirty.
So when is the right time? Well, take into account how clean you like your car, if you can see a decent amount of visible dirt, it is probably time to clean the car. If the car was recently in the rain or some sort of in-climate weather, you should clean it as soon as the weather breaks. This is a great way to ensure you don't leave anything on the paint too long, such as water spots, or salt, sand, and any other chemical it may be exposed to in a bad weather situation.
Next we discuss if the car is in the garage or left outside. If the car is garage kept, it likely experiences about half as much of the environment outside. This means less dust, less rain, less snow, and even less sun. Because of this a car that is garage kept can generally go a longer period of time before needing to be detailed.
If you are bringing your automobile through the automatic car wash, there is a strong chance whatever protection you may have on the surface is being stripped away at a faster pace. This is because automatic car washes use a strong non PH balanced soap to help it removed heavy dirt, grime, bugs an more. If it isn't a touch-less car wash then the brushes are being abrasive to the clear coat, more so then a hand wash would be, and this can also remove protection quickly. If you hand wash the vehicle and during the wash use something like Gyeon Wet Coat or Adam's H20 Guard and Gloss then you are adding a bit of protection during each wash. If you are taking it through a car wash and after can pull to the side and do a wipe down of left over water spots, using a product like Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer, will help ensure an additional bit of polymer protection to the surface of your vehicle.
We believe it is best to do a full detail including contamination removal and paint protection at minimum twice a year and if possible three-four times a year. If you can consistently protect the car before or after each season, you have a well maintained finish. You car can stay dirtier for a longer period of time without inflicting damage, so long as protection exists to protect the clear coat. If you don't have the time to do a full detail as often as you would like, using a product like Sonax Polymer Netshield or Gyeon Q2 Can Coat, will give you protection for up to 12 months at a time. And again using products during or after the wash process in between details can help extend the life of these coatings. If you are using a simple wax, we recommend doing a full detail more often as wax is not as resistant to the elements as the above coatings are.
So to answer the question, how often should detailing be done? Well, it all depends on your situation specifically. Consistent maintenance is never harmful, but be sure to add protection whenever possible to ensure your finish is always looking its best!