Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How You Can Save Money By Detailing Your Own Car by Ian Nuttall

Outback Beetle This is how your car might look if you don't detail it regularly!
Winter isn't typically considered "car wash season" but in fact, making sure your car is in top condition during the colder months is hugely important if you want your car to run smoothly. One of the main reasons why people don't take care of their cars (and I'm guilty of this myself) is that a full and proper detail is expensive. It's just another cost that many are struggling to afford. So what's a car lover to do? Luckily, there are ways that you can save money by detailing your own car -- and it's not as hard as you might think!

Why would you want to detail your own car?

It's so tempting to take your car to be detailed, sit around for a few hours reading a magazine and sipping coffee and then headed home with a clean motor. However, a full car detail can cost you anything from $125-300 to get it cleaned professionally inside and out.

How often would you need to get your car detailed? In winter, for preventing wear and tear you should probably get it done at least once at month. And it gets quite costly! My company, DebtHelpScotland, have a lot of clients that simply cannot afford regular detailing but by not detailing they are opening themselves up to even more expense with maintenance bills and safety hazards!

Here are some good reasons to detail your own car:

  • It's a lot cheaper than paying for it. An top quality exterior wash kit and an interior clean kit will set you back around $35 each, for a total of $70. If you wanted a complete exterior wash kit, it would push your total to about $115 -- which is less than a professional detail.
  • A home cleaning detail kit will last you for multiple details. With a professional detail you'd pay a huge chunk of change for one detail. For the same price, you can buy a kit which will last you for half a dozen or more details, depending on how liberal you are with the product! It's at least 1/6 the cost of a professional detail!
  • You prevent damage and wear and tear. Let's say you get a detail once every couple of months over the winter because that is all you can afford. If the weather is really bad, you might still have a lot of salt, grime, acid rain, tree sap and more causing damage and corroding your car. Now if it were more affordable you'd be able to detail a couple of times a month and prevent these problems -- which can boost your resale value by 10-25%!
  • Avoids safety hazards. An un-detailed car might have dirty windows and mirrors and your screen wash pipes can block - leading to a build up on your windscreen that can be dangerous whilst driving. Also, oxidized headlights can reduce the brightness by 80% and makes night driving very dangerous. Regular checks on these is much safer and gives you peace of mind.
The reason that professional detailers and car details use professional products is because they know that time is money and the results matter. It sounds counter-intuitive but you actually have to invest in professional car care products.

Once you have the right products, and you know how much money you'll save by detailing your own car, the only thing left to do is hone your car detailing techniques. We have a bunch of great How To articles which can guide you through the process. If you've got any tips for home detailing or other savings you can make, then feel free to drop them in the comments below.

Ian Nuttall is the content editor for DebtHelpScotland - a free debt advice portal for residents of Scotland. He enjoys helping people out but doesn't detail his car as much as he probably should!

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