If you've been to a car wash or detailer lately, you'll notice that there are a lot of cars and SUVs with their seats and carpets removed, and the interiors have been washed and are being allowed to dry.
Yes, these vehicles were flooded by Typhoon Ulysses.
Now many must be wondering: how much does it cost to have a flooded vehicle cleaned at the local car wash and or auto detailer? To give you an idea of how much, we decided to do the canvassing for you.
Here's the disclaimer: the exact prices of interior detailing will vary from location to location and from one shop to another. Prices could also go up or down depending on the size of the vehicle. As a rule of thumb: the bigger the vehicle, the more expensive it will be.
Do note that if your vehicle was flooded, it's best to have it cleaned as soon as possible. Even though it may not have been completely submerged and only a part of the interior got wet, the trapped water or excess moisture will end up smelling bad. Trapped moisture makes a car's interior even easier for harmful organisms to grow like mold or mildew.
Carwash A - Marikina
The shop we inquired with in Marikina said that flood-related interior detailing will start at around PhP 3,000 for a compact car like Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. However, the price doesn't include exterior detailing yet and only comes with a basic car wash. For larger vehicles like crossovers and SUVs, the price could go up to PhP 4,500 or even more.
Carwash B - Quezon City
Over in Quezon City, the prices for the same interior detailing services are around PhP 3,500-4,000. The first carwash we asked gave us a quote of PhP 3,500 for a vehicle sized similar to the Toyota Vios or Honda City. Similar to the shop in Marikina, the price didn't include exterior detailing yet. They did say a package of both exterior and interior detail will cost around PhP 8,000 or more as part of a new promo.
Carwash C - Quezon City
As mentioned earlier, the price of having a flooded car cleaned depends on the shop. We decided to ask a high-end detailer, and we were told that cleaning a flooded Toyota Vios or Honda City size vehicle will cost PhP 5,500. The package is already inclusive of a car wash and a free bacteria disinfection for the aircon. A lot more expensive than the others, but we were assured that only high-quality products are used.
Carwash D - Rizal
Outside of Metro Manila, however, the price of an interior detail is noticeably lower. In Rizal for example, a local car wash is charging an average of PhP 2,500 for a compact size vehicle and PhP 3,500 for a larger SUV. Similar to getting an interior detail, they will already remove the seats and carpets to thoroughly clean the cabin. Ceiling cleaning is not included.
Having a professional detailer or your local car wash clean the flooded car will be pricey, no matter where you go. So if you want to save money, you can also clean it yourself at home. If you do decide to do it yourself, you will need the sprays, cleaners, and microfiber towels. It won't be cheap. More importantly, it will be a lot of work for one person to do and be very time-consuming.
Removing the seats and carpets is already a chore in itself, even for small cars. It will be even harder if it's a larger vehicle such as a minivan or an SUV. After removing the seats and carpets, you'll have to thoroughly clean and remove any flood water and mud that remain inside. Depending on how flooded your vehicle actually was, you may even have to remove some of the interior trim, and parts of the dashboard. As a rule of thumb, it's best to disconnect the battery before even attempting to do so.
To sum it all up, cleaning a flooded car on your own will be tough, and it's not easy to achieve the same results that professionals and car washes normally do. But if you're up for the challenge and want to learn how to do interior detailing, why not?
At the end of the day, it's up to you whether to do it yourself or have a car wash/detailer clean the interior. If you do decide to bring your flooded car to a car wash or detailer, go to a reputable shop and don't go to the lowest bidder.
What's important is to have your vehicle cleaned quickly and fully. From personal experience, floodwater -any water- can leave a foul odor, one that can't be masked by even the most expensive air fresheners.