Both car washes and professional detailing services may help you clean your vehicle. But which one will you choose?


Here, we’ll take a closer look at the two processes and the basic benefits and the disadvantages of each so that you can decide which is best for you.


Car Washes


Car washes are the more basic of the two options. This is typically done at a drive-through car wash, also known as a tunnel car wash system.


The process of car washing usually involves running your car through an automated machine that washes and rinses your vehicle with soap and water. You may also opt for a hand car wash when someone passes your vehicle by hand using a hose, bucket, and soapy sponge.


The main benefit of using a car wash is that it’s quick and easy. You can usually get the job done in under 30 minutes. It’s also relatively inexpensive, and most towns and cities have multiple tunnels available, making it more accessible.


However, some tunnel car washes won’t clean the inside of your car or polish the exterior.


Some car washes may also use high-pH chemicals and abrasive brushes that can damage the paint or clear coat of your vehicle. Almost all car washes use a giant air blower to dry the cars; however, the timers set on these blowers don’t run long enough to dry a car effectively enough, and this can lead to water spots. Some companies may also have a team that comes to dry the car off with drying towels after it’s been through the wash.


Auto Detailing


Auto detailing is a more comprehensive approach to cleaning your car. Detailers tend to offer a more extensive service, paying attention to areas that car washes may not. Some of these services may include clay bar treatment, polishing, waxing, engine bay cleaning, seat and carpet shampooing, and odor removal.


Professional auto detailers will often use industry-specific tools, cleaning products, and pro-level techniques to get the best result possible. This is usually why detailing is more expensive and time-consuming than car washes.


The most significant benefit of auto detailing is that it leaves your car looking new. It’s also a great way to protect your investment, as it can help preserve your car’s value. Detailing a car has been shown to increase its trade-in or resale value by up to 10%.


If you are thinking about detailing your car, it is important to remember that auto detailing is more time-consuming and expensive than going to a car wash. It can take several hours to complete, and if you plan to do it yourself, you’ll need to buy several different products and pieces of equipment. So, which should you choose? Car washes or auto detailing? It depends on your needs. Car washes are the way to go if you’re considering a quick and easy way to keep your car clean. Car detailing services are the better choice if you want your vehicle to look its best and stay protected from the elements without the damage caused by those tunnel brushes.


Pro Tip: If you must go to the car wash, try to find a brushless wash!




Car washes and car detailing services share the same goal; however, the processes are very different. Car washing is much simpler, typically done at home or at a drive-through car wash. Auto detailing is a much more involved process that is typically done by a professional. It entails washing the vehicle from top to bottom using techniques that minimize paint damage, and includes intense interior cleaning, and frequently includes extra services such as performing paint corrections, applying coatings, restoring headlights, and shampooing seats and carpets.


Prestige Glow is a fully mobile luxury car wash and car detailing service in Raleigh that comes to you. We offer extensive cleaning choices for your vehicle at the convenience of your home or workplace. If you are looking for a detailed and professional car cleaning service, contact us today.