Morgan Pritchett
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How Often Should You Detail Your Car?

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interior dashboard vehicle generic
So fresh and so clean (clean)

My wife is currently in the process of preparing to sell her SUV in hopes of upgrading to a newer vehicle with more advanced features (and fewer concerns about major maintenance). Part of that process involves cleaning it inside and out, with the cabin being much more of a pain point than the exterior paint and wheels. This led me to wonder how often a vehicle should be detailed.

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After doing some research, I’ve learned that the answer depends on the type of person you are and how much you value your investment. If you’re one of those people who rarely gets your car washed and you have early winter salt crusting on the exterior until spring, chances are that you won’t be too concerned with detailing the interior. But if, like me, you consistently dust the infotainment screen and clean off bird poop as soon as it lands on the paint, you’ll want to consider detailing a few times per year. (Note: If you have children or pets, the number of times you detail your vehicle per year will likely increase.)

For me, I like having a newer vehicle that’s as slick looking inside as it is outside. And that means when it comes time to trade it in or sell it, it needs to be extremely clean to help increase its overall value. Brian Wong of says that “even though dealers have told us they can see through dirt to find a car’s actual value, making a good impression only raises your chances of a better offer.” It all comes down to how a potential buyer will look at the vehicle and how much effort the seller has to make to get them to shell out the cash.

man cleaning interior of vehicle seats
If you’ve got the dough, pay someone else to do it!

Other than improving its resale value, detailing your vehicle helps maintain its interior parts and mechanisms. If you continue to let dirt and grime get into little crevices of buttons and knobs, it could become more difficult to use them. Your seats will thank you for a thorough detailing, too, especially if your vehicle is outfitted with leather. The sun’s rays can dry out and crack the leather, but if you’re moisturizing it a few times each year, you’re extending its lifespan and helping to avoid rips or tears.

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Obviously, there are costs involved in detailing your car. If you’ve got the cash to spare, feel free to take your vehicle to a professional detailer a couple of times per year. But if you’d rather try the budget-friendly option, consider these helpful tips for detailing your own car.