How Much Does Car Detailing Increase the Value of Your Car?

If you are new to detailing your car, you may be wondering if auto detailing a car is worth the cost. The extensive work that goes into detailing a car extends the life of the car and increases its value.

We all know that the better shape a car is in, the more it is worth. A car that has been well maintained is going to increase the value of your car whether you’re trading it in or selling it privately. It can actually get you top dollar.

When people sell a car, they usually focus on the mechanical aspects of the vehicle, and rightly so – a car that will not start is not going to fetch a high asking price.

But what about the appearance and aesthetic side of your vehicle? How much does that matter?

Maybe you decide to run it through the car wash (we talk more about how car washes actually decrease the value of your car here) and give it a quick vacuum, but that’s usually it for the average seller. It won’t stand out as anything spectacular when buyers go to look at it.

But what if you decided to detail your car prior to selling it? Would that car detailing increase the value of your car?

Detailing is certainly going to be more expensive than a quick car wash, but is it worth it? That is what we are here to find out. Let’s see what the numbers have to say.

How Much Will Car Detailing Increase the Value of Your Car?

Based on our findings, car detailing can increase the trade-in value of your car by 10% or the private-selling value by 9%, which, depending on the total value of your car, could leave you pocketing $1,400 or more (minus the cost of the detail) just by investing in car detailing before selling.

Our Kelley Blue Book Study on Car Valuation


Above, we showed you just how much a car detail can increase the value of your car. But we don’t want you to just take our word for it. Here’s a quick look at how we came to those percentages and price valuations.

For this experiment, we will be using Kelley Blue Book’s (KBB’s): “What is my car worth” [1] calculator, as well as KBB’s: “What is my car’s condition” assessment.

Many people, especially when going to sell, think their car is pretty good. As auto detailers, we hear it all the time: “Oh, it just needs a quick wipe down; the interior is in great shape,” or “I wash it regularly; it just needs a quick buff and wax.”

Meanwhile, it takes a Fort Worth car detailer 12 hours to bring the car that wasn’t “that bad” up to a professional standard.

So let’s look at KBB’s condition quiz and see what kind of condition our hypothetical car is in.

In this scenario, we are only concerned with finding out if car detailing in Fort Worth can raise my vehicle’s value and, if so, by how much?

KBB has various values of Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent with most vehicles falling into the good category. We are going to set all aspects of the car to perfect condition besides two factors.

Factor #1: We will set paint and body work to have minor scratches – not even major scratches, chips, dents, or anything like that – just some minor, repairable scratches.

Factor #2: We are going to change the interior upholstery to be a little stained, faded or worn down.

Now, if everything else was perfect on the vehicle (never had any bodywork performed, no defects in the windshield, wheels are flawless, no odor in the car, all electronics work, no problems with the engine and transmission, A/C works great, brakes and tires are like new), most of us would say that the vehicle sounds like it is in incredible condition.

But with the blemishes of minor scratching on the paintwork and some faded interior, KBB gives us a rating of just “good.”

At this point, we would probably just accept the score, sell the car and get whatever we can for it, right?

But what if you got rid of those minor scratches and interior stains. What would that do to increase the value of your car?

Analyzing Car Value by Vehicle Type

We analyzed some of the most popular vehicles in America. [3]

Our lineup included:

  • Fort 150
  • Chevy Silverado 1500
  • Ram 1500
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Honda CRV
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Lexus RX
  • Audi Q5
  • Mercedes GLC
  • Lincoln Navigator
  • Toyota Camry

This list gives us a good range of vehicles in different categories – from trucks, crossovers, sedans, various manufacturers, different price points, etc.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the average person drives around 13,500 miles every year. [4] That number is probably a little lower in 2020; nevertheless, that number will be our average miles driven per year.

With that in mind, we then took each of our vehicles and ran them through KBB’s “What is my car worth” calculator to get a trade-in valuation and a private sell valuation under “Good” condition, and then again under “Excellent” condition (remember, the condition of a car with a perfect mechanical state and minor scratches and stains is “Good,” not “Excellent”).

For every vehicle (besides the Tesla Model 3, due to age), we went back through 10 years of data, which resulted in about 100 data points.

The trade-in values of cars increased an average of 10%, which translated to an average increase of $1,666 in cars in “Excellent” condition versus “Good” condition.

The private sales values, which typically yield higher profits than trade-ins, increased an average of 9%, which translated to an average increase of $1,772.

By just having your car detailed, getting rid of those minor scratches and fixing up the interior of your vehicle, you pocketed approximately an extra $1,700 in your pocket!

Who would want to turn down an extra $1,700? That’s great!

Are You Ready to Set Up Your First Car Detail?

Now you’re probably saying, “Yes! An extra $1,700 sounds great, but what is it going to cost me to get rid of minor scratches (an exterior detail) and clean up the interior (interior detail)?

At Fort Worth Auto Detail, we offer many different packages depending on your needs and specific situation.

On a car you’re selling, it probably doesn’t make sense to go with our Diamond Package to put graphene ceramic coatings on the car so it will last several years. That package is better suited for the new car you’re purchasing.

For most of our clients, we recommend something like our Silver Package for the exterior and interior detail of your car, which includes a light polish to remove those minor scratches and the right amount of care to have your interior looking better than ever!

Whether you have a vehicle you are getting ready to sell or your new vehicle needs to be protected, contact us today and we would love to talk you through how we can protect your investment.

Contact Us Today!


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