Detail-oriented Car Detailer Job Description

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.

Position Description

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.

Work Environment

  • 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.

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