Car Washing vs Auto Detailing | What's the Difference?

Posted on March 24th, 2023

During the colder months of the year, everyone seems to take their vehicles to the car wash to have it cleaned. There are a lot of great car washes around but we often do get asked, “What’s the difference between a detail shop and a car wash?, don’t they both clean the vehicle?” Yes, they do but to an extent does the car wash clean the vehicle?

Depending on your definition of clean the above picture is an example of improper car cleaning from a car wash. Auto detailing is a hands-on cleaning in lieu of a machine. A car wash can damage car paint with its automatic brushes and put swirl marks in the paint. Depending on the cleaning methods of the car wash brushes, you can very well follow a vehicle that’s been covered in dirt and mud. Which will scratch up your vehicle. If you are a DIYer (Do it yourself) you can very well harm your vehicle paint if you don’t wash and dry it with a clean mitt and towel.

Auto detailing is a hands on meticulous cleaning process of the interior and exterior of a vehicle. We like to call ourselves “Engineered Protection Specialist“. We take our time by using automotive products to restore the exterior and interior of a vehicle. We have car enthusiast on hand who can fix loose panels, headliners, and consoles while we are cleaning your vehicle.  An car wash, , focuses on cleaning your vehicle and getting you out of the way for the next vehicle.

At iShine For You Auto Detailing we take great pride in cleaning and restoring the exterior and interior of a vehicle such as:


  • Hand Washing
  • Hand Drying
  • Bug and tar removal
  • Clay bar to remove birdroppings and tree sap
  • Rim/Tire Cleaning
  • Tire Dressing
  • Engine Cleaning
  • Minor-Dent repair
  • Headlight restoration
  • Paint Chip repair
  • Paint Correction
  • Applying Xpel paint protection film  or coatings


  • Vacuuming interior and hard to reach areas
  • Interior sanitizing by Steam cleaning
  • Cleaning windows and mirrors
  • Cleaning door jambs
  • Cleaning the dashboard, console, vents and components
  • Reconditioning the upholstery and leather
  • Headliner cleaning
  • Shampooing seats, mats, carpets and door panels
  • Applying a Fabric Guard to protect carpets and mats

On the other hand, car washes specialize in services like:

  • Washing the exterior
  • Cleaning Windows
  • Vacuuming
  • Dressing Tires
  • Removing light to moderate spots in the interior

Bottom line, if your vehicle is need of a quick cleaning, and you need to be somewhere in a hurry, a car wash is where to go. If your vehicle needs to be protected from rock chips, needs to be deep cleaned, or has scratches or fading on the paint, iShine For You Auto Detailing is the place to go.

To schedule your vehicle for any of our detailing services, including paint protection film, ceramic coating, window tinting, or auto detailing, call (757) 378-2844 or email us at [email protected].


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Get in touch with us today for top-quality vehicle detailing services. Whether you need ceramic coating, full car detailing, or paint protection film, our team is here to help. Simply fill out the contact form below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.