I’d like to say I’m asked this all the time. But truth be told, I have never been directly asked this question. Most people already know how often they believe a car should be detailed. And that’s the way it is.
But from a professional point of view and for the long-term preservation of your car’s value, the question begs to be answered.
I find myself gravitating to the analogy of dentist appointments time and again. It is so appropriate. (Not to mention I use dental scrapers to get gook out of joints and crevices).
We have an understanding with our dentist that we’ll bring our pearly whites in twice a year to scrape off tarter build up, and he will sound the alarm when we are missing a certain spot in flossing. And we trust him rather implicitly when he says we need sealants on our molars to prevent risk of cavities. But we have no universal gauge when it comes to our vehicles.
So what is typical? I have found that most people “treat” their car to a deep detail once a year. And to get to the point, that’s usually not frequent enough.
I don’t say this to increase my business or because I miss seeing my clients. Just like your teeth need buildup removed by that sixth month, crust and spilled drinks need removal before the stains have bonded so tightly with fabric or carpet that they become permanent.
Every detailer wants to present you with your vehicle with all damage, stains, dust and buildup removed. (At least every legit detailer) We’re not satisfied when a stain has become permanent. And even though we rarely HEAR the disappointment, we know it’s there.
Once when I paid for my car to get detailed I was secretly hoping they were going to bring me back my 10 year old car looking like it was only 2 years old. And when Coke or ketchup stains under the driver’s seat were still there I felt like I wasted my money (not admitting to myself that I had let it sit there for 2 years).
So what is OUR recommendation? It would be based on the driver. Find yourself in here and see what applies:
1) Single males have much cleaner cars with the least amount of mold and bacteria. Based on that the yearly detail will probably do the job UNLESS you travel and eat extensively in your car. (Think insurance adjuster or traveling sales rep)
2) Married females have the dirtiest cars of all categories. Based on that a Minimum recommendation would be a full detail twice a year with monthly maintenance details being scheduled. Does that sound excessive?
I am a mother and I promise it’s not. I used to wash and vacuum my car every single Friday when my boys were in car seats. And I swear you would never know that I had cleaned it the previous week. Mind you I didn’t have my full arsenal of detailing tools or skills, but I had the inherent OCD that is required for all successful detailers.
Even if I banned food from the car for the week, somehow dried French fries set up colonies under chairs and reproduced like crazy. I describe all this so that all your married females out there don’t think that this is a man bashing women’s cars.
We get it. I get it. You have to feed your kids and we are typically running from one appointment to another. All the food that falls out of their little hands drops into Bermuda Triangle crevices in your car and literally do start reproducing. But the reproduction is of mold.
3) Well, what if you are neither a single male or married female? You fall in between. We can let the prescence of car seats be the determining factor.
Got carseats? You know how crusty they are. And if you opt to just replace them over digging out the melted crayon mixed with Cheerios we understand. The fabric itself is rather easy to clean. Throw it in the washer. And then hope you can remember all the right little loops and hooks to get reattached. (possible life hack: take photos of each loop as you unhook it, to make reassembly easier).
Once again, we recommend a minimum twice a year full detail. Does it really matter? It comes down to a matter of health. The more lost food bits in the car the higher the mold spore count is in the air that you and your little ones are breathing. Now, please don’t mistake us for germ-a-phobes. I promise we could not be in this line of work if germs grossed us out. But, we do care about our little one’s immune systems and having the best health possible.
So assess where your life circumstances land you in this spectrum. And I encourage you to lower your tolerance for a dirty car. Keep a micro-fiber towel in your car. Keeping it clean doesn’t mean it has to be in our shop every week. (Interesting side note: dashboards have the highest population of mold – reason still unknown. So wipe it down regularly).
We buy shiny new cars and spend a good portion of our days in the them. Shouldn’t we enjoy the time and atmosphere. For me it improves clarity and a good mood when my car is clean