Saving Money

Save Money By Detailing Your Own Vehicle

detailing your own car, saving money on your car, saving on detailing

I got in my car to go to the gym, immediately noticing it was in need of a cleaning. While the car is mine, my son is the regular driver of the vehicle. It had been weeks since I had driven it. The dashboard had a noticeable layer of dust, fast food receipts were scattered throughout the interior, and the floor needed vacuuming.

My dirty car could use a detail service.

I’ve paid to have a vehicle detailed before, and was very impressed. While an occasional detail could be a nice treat, I can’t afford to pay $130 every time one of my vehicles needs a little cleaning. Instead, I was going to apply a little elbow grease.

Exterior Wash

While I could get out a hose and a sponge, there’s a place a few minutes away that does a great wash and towel dry for only $7. The low cost is a great value, and is well worth the savings in time.

Cost: $7


When I got back from the car wash, I pulled my shopvac into the garage. If I didn’t have a shopvac I could use a vacuum at a nearby gas station. I pulled the floor mats and put them on my driveway. I vacuumed the mats, then turned my attention to the interior of the car. I vacuumed the floors and the seats, making sure I pushed the seats all the way forward, as well as all the way back.

Cost: Free

Interior Wipe Down

Next, I got a bucket of warm water and a rag. I wiped the dashboard, the interior of the doors, and the center console. Once that was complete, I wiped it all down again with automobile disinfectant wipes.

Cost : $4.99

The whole process took me about an hour. Both the outside and the inside of the vehicle was clean and it smelled nice as added bonus. My DIY detail job cost me about $12 as opposed to the $130 of paying someone else to do it. While it may not be as complete of a job as a full detail, my self cleaning is just fine for every day use of my car.

Do you clean your own vehicle, or do you pay to have it detailed? How often do you clean your vehicle?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock


Disease Called Debt

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I’m with you for a basic cleaning. We run it through the automatic up the street for about that cost, then vacuum and Armor All ourselves.

    However, twice a year to have it fully detailed and clay waxed I’ll pay the high cost. Once in the spring and once in the late fall keeps me shiny and rust free. I could wax it myself, but the local joint does a very thorough job.

  • Sometimes it is better to do things yourself – great job. My boyfriend also details his car. He finds it relaxing and of course CHEAPER. He gets his supplies from Chemical Guys. Small start up cost, but he has actually made some money, because people see him working on his car often and have asked and offered to pay to get theirs done.

  • @Mel – I usually do involve him (as much as he doesn’t like to do it)….but this one time he wasn’t around and I just wanted to get it done. Plus, I figure that if he gets used to driving a nice clean vehicle, sooner or later he’ll think to himself “hey, I need to learn how to do this.” I do think at a very minimum I’m going to make him run it through the carwash every Friday (at his own expense, of course…)

  • @RAnn – Do they do the interior as well? Just like lemonade stands, I always stop for a carwash fundraiser, but they usually just wash the outside.

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