There is a little confusion about these two terms in the marketplace. In simple terms, if car valeting is your regular brushing of the teeth at home, car detailing is like professional cleaning performed by the dentist. Let’s understand the meaning of each term separately in the following section:
This is what car valeting is
On a number of occasions on public forums, experts have agreed that during car valeting a vehicle is cleaned, washed, waxed, polished and dressed. All of this is done as a general cleaning where expert wouldn’t be removing any parts of the car for cleaning. The major difference between them is waxing and a painting job which we’ll discuss later. Some workers at a dealership or garage will even go as far as decontaminating the paint of your car in an effort to make it look new again
This is what car detailing is
When we look at the term "detailing", we understand that it is a somewhat more detailed cleaning of a car and a few things covered car detailing are not the part of car valeting. Wheels, trim, seats and other parts could potentially be removed in order to access them for a better clean.
As mentioned above another major difference is the paint treatments. Dual action polishers, pads and other tools are used in car detailing give a smooth, swirl free, new appearance and sometimes items like plastic headlights are polished to get rid of that ‘foggy’ look.
A car valet is no where near as comprehensive as detailing. Ultimately it depends on how much you love your car, if its important then valet it, if its your pride and joy get it detailed.