Do New Cars Need Detailing? (Complete Answer)

If you want to hold onto the “newness” of your vehicle for as long as possible, then you’ll need to have it detailed. It’s true that new vehicles always need some level of detailing for three reasons:

  1. To remove contaminants which have been collected during the delivery process
  2. To enhance the paintwork and remove clear coat defects either inflicted at the dealership or factory
  3. To protect the surfaces so they stay looking as new as possible for as long as possible

In this article I’ll explain everything you need to know about detailing a brand-new car.

Why Do New Cars Need Detailing?

I touched on this in the intro but I know there will be a few people reading this who are still doubting that detailing a new vehicle is necessary. Let’s visit those three reasons I mentioned.

1. To Remove Contaminants

Most vehicles travel several thousands of miles before they arrive at the dealership and this process can take several months. During which time, the vehicles are sat outside getting exposed to bird poo, mineral deposits and iron fallout (particularly if they are transported by rail which many vehicles are).

These contaminants bond to the paintwork causing it to feel rough, and are not removed during the regular wash process. Instead, they need to be removed via a four-step decontamination process to leave the paintwork feeling completely smooth:

  • Iron fallout remover – uses a chemical which contains sodium thiglycolate to dissolve the iron particles so they can be rinsed away
  • Tar remover – uses a dedicated spray to dissolve the tar spots
  • Mineral deposit remover – addresses salt and water spot contamination
  • Clay bar treatment – a physical process which removes any remaining bonded contaminants

2. To Remove Paint Defects

Unfortunately, brand-new cars almost always have clear coat defects which are inflicted even before you collect it from the dealership.

When the vehicle is delivered to the dealership, the valeters will give it a wash before it’s collected to remove the dirt it’s collected during the delivery process.

Unfortunately, the valeters are under a lot of pressure to clean the vehicles very quickly and as a result skip important stages like the pre-wash, and don’t use fresh wash mitts to clean the surfaces. The result, is swirl marks and scratches in the clear coat layer of paint and a reduction in the level of gloss.

I’d always advise that you tell the dealership not to wash the vehicle before you collect it, and to leave the protective wrappings on the vehicle to ensure they don’t touch it. They may look at you a little funny, but they will be happy to do this if you explain that the vehicle is going to be professionally detailed.

Don’t be tempted to go for the “dealership protection package” either that the sales person will be pushing when you’re negotiating on the price. In almost all cases, the protection is of very poor quality and a rushed application process will leave swirl marks and scratches behind. Always hire a professional detailer yourself to install any protection.

Even if you do everything right though and the vehicle isn’t washed at the dealership prior to collection, unfortunately there’s not much you can do about the way it’s treated in the months between it being built, and you collecting the keys.

I have detailed several brand-new vehicles that were not washed at the dealership but have still had quite numerous clear coat defects upon collection. These are typically inflicted at the factory and include things like buffer marks, sanding trails and holograms.

These defects should be addressed by a professional detailer who will machine polish the paintwork and remove those defects, leaving an ultra-gloss mirror-finish behind. Please read this article on paint correction to learn more.

3. To Protect the Finish

Finally, in order to lock in the hard work carried out in the decontamination and paint correction stages, the finish must be protected.

The options are waxes, sealants, and ceramic coatings. Waxes and sealants are quick to apply but do not offer nearly as much protection as ceramic coatings. Ceramic coatings will also last several years, whereas waxes and sealants typically only last a few months (read this guide to ceramic coatings for more info).

This is why Auto Care HQ offers ceramic coating protection as standard on all new-car detailing packages. This will shield the vehicle from environmental contaminants, make it easier to maintain and ensure a high-gloss finish for years to come if cared for properly.

It’s not just the paintwork that needs protecting too. We can also apply protection to the other exterior and interior surfaces, ensuring they stay looking as new as possible for as long as possible.

What’s Involved in a New Car Detail?

At Auto Care HQ, the New Car Detail package includes everything your vehicle needs to get it looking in the best possible condition and keep it protected for years to come. Here are the stages involved:

  • Complete clean of the wheels (alloy faces, barrels, arches and tyres)
  • Two-stage pre-wash to remove as much dirt as possible before making contact
  • Two bucket exterior wash using a deep cleaning shampoo
  • Iron-fallout removal
  • Tar removal
  • Mineral deposit removal
  • Clay bar treatment
  • Enhancement single-stage machine polish
  • Panel wipe solution to remove polishing oils
  • Paintwork ceramic coating application
  • Wheel ceramic coating application
  • Tyre conditioner application
  • Black plastic trim coating application
  • Glass coating application
  • Door shuts cleaned and coating applied
  • Interior dusted and vacuumed
  • All surfaces thoroughly cleaned
  • Interior plastic coating applied
  • Leather sealant applied

This package costs:

  • Small Car e.g. Ford Fiesta – £600
  • Medium Car e.g. Audi A4 – £700
  • Large Car e.g. Range Rover – £800

It also gives you access to the maintenance plan which is carried out on a monthly basis to keep the interior and exterior of the vehicle in immaculate condition. Please view the New Car Protection service page for more detail.

Here is a YouTube video on the Auto Care HQ channel showing a new car protection detail on the exterior of this brand-new MG HS.


To book your car in for a valeting or detailing service get in touch today by either calling, emailing or completing the contact form and Heather will be in touch shortly

07894 074109
8:30-6:00 Mon-Sat


Heather is a professional car detailer & valeter based in Cheshire and the owner of Auto Care HQ. A familiar face in the car detailing community, she has written over 200 car detailing guides on and has produced over 165 videos on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel.

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