Making a car shiny and spotless on the inside as well as the outside is the main job description of a car detailer. A detailer may work for a car dealership, a car wash, a specialty detail shop, a mechanic shop or as an independent contractor.
A car detailer cleans most parts of a car including cracks and crevices that are notcleaned by standard car wash systems.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Car Detailer
- Uses various types of cleaning equipment and solutions.
- Details vehicle according to the customer’s specific instructions.
- Shampoos carpets and upholstery.
- Vacuums floors and seats.
- Cleans and vacuums the trunk.
- Cleans out ashtrays and cup holders.
- Conditions vinyl and leather.
- Cleans all trash, debris and dirt from the interior of the vehicle.
- Uses special foams and detergents designed for specific types of microfibers.
- Polishes the dashboard, steering wheel, trims and moldings inside the vehicle.
- Cleans door frames and instrument panels.
- Cleans all dirt, grease and tar from the exterior of the vehicle.
- Reconditions the vehicle’s exterior.
- Cleans all glass on the vehicle, inside and out, with the appropriate type of rag and cleaning solution.
- Cleans all mirrors with the proper substance.
- Steams the engine.
- Removes grease from the engine and other parts under the hood.
- Waxes and buffs vehicles after washing.
- Polishes the exterior chrome and all trim on the exterior of the vehicle using special chrome cleaners.
- Uses air compressors and special equipment to dry the inside and outside surfaces.
- Applies chemicals to surfaces to protect against spots and stains.
- Uses various paints, waxes and dyes to protect the leather parts of a vehicle’s interior.
- Uses hoses and pumps for washing and rinsing vehicles.
- Dries floor mats.
- Cleans and polishes wheel rims and makes them sparkle.
- Cleans the headlights, brake lights and taillights making them brighter.
- Fixes minor scratches and chips with touch-up vehicle paint.
- Manages the inventory of cleaning supplies.
- Keeps records of customers and calls when it might be time for another detail.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Must have exceptional customer service skills.
- Must be detail oriented.
- Must have excellent communication skills.
- Must be an active listener and exercise sound judgment.
- Good critical thinking and problem solving skills are essential.
- Must be a good time manage and multi-tasker.
- The ability to follow complex instructions is a plus.
- Must have the ability to effectively manage material resources and keep track of an inventory of supplies.
- Should have ample knowledge of safety precautions.
Education and Experience
- High School diploma.
- Training program at place of employment.
- Certificate from a vocational or technical school in auto detailing.
- Certificate from an auto detailing school or course.
- Online seminars about auto detailing.
- Certification from the International Detailing Association or IDA.
- Time is spent inside and outside of vehicles.
- Must be able to work with strong detergents and chemicals.
- Time is spent working outside in both very hot and very cold weather.
- Must be willing to wear gloves and eye and ear protection.
- Salaries average $18,000 to $24,000 a year depending on the detail shop.
- Hourly wages range from $9 an hour to $12 an hour.