As more and more vehicles from Hong Kong head north, the consumption habits of Hong Kong car owners are gradually changing as well. Besides enjoying dining, entertainment, and cheaper fuel prices in Mainland China, car owners also have the opportunity to have their cars detailed or repaired there.
Whether it's labor or parts, the prices in Mainland China are generally lower, often only half of prices in Hong Kong or even below that. Naturally, many budget-conscious Hong Kong residents now like to take their cars north for detailing and maintenance. In this article, Kwiksure will explain the key things to know for car detailing and maintenance in Mainland China, so that you can be fully prepared before setting off!
Comparison of detailing/maintenance costs for Hong Kong vehicles heading north
Due to lower business costs in Mainland China in the absence of Hong Kong's high wages and rents, the prices of car detailing and maintenance are naturally also much lower than in Hong Kong. For example, car washes cost below RMB ¥100, while coating starts at just RMB ¥1,000. Car maintenance also costs much less than in Hong Kong, ranging from basic oil changes to major engine repairs. We have compiled information from various online sources to provide a side-by-side comparison of charges in Hong Kong and Mainland China for your reference.
Common car detailing services for Hong Kong vehicles heading north
|Service||Hong Kong charges (HKD)||Mainland China charges (RMB)*||Percentage difference|
|Car wash||About $300||About ¥60 (about HKD $66)||About -80%|
|Waxing||About $800||About ¥150 (about HKD $166)||About -81%|
|Interior cleaning||About $3,000||About ¥680 (about HKD $754)||About -77%|
|Interior sterilization||About $800||About ¥120 (about HKD $133)||About -85%|
|Seat leather treatment||About $6,000||About ¥2,000 (about HKD $2,220)||About -66%|
|Tinting||About $6,000||About ¥1,000 (about HKD $1,109)||About -83%|
|Paint protection film (PPF)||About $15,000||About ¥5,000 (about HKD $5,547)||About -66%|
|Full car coating||About $10,000||About ¥1,000 (about HKD $1,109)||About -90%|
|Spray painting||About $2,000 (per panel)||About ¥300 (about HKD $333)||About -85%|
Common car maintenance services for Hong Kong vehicles heading north
|Service||Hong Kong charges (HKD)||Mainland China charges (RMB)*||Percentage difference|
|Battery||About $1,500||About ¥400 (about HKD $444)||About -73%|
|Spark plugs (set of 4)||About $1,000||About ¥200 (about HKD $222)||About -80%|
|Transmission fluid||About $1,500||About ¥500 (about HKD $554)||About -67%|
|Tire (18-inch/each)||About $1,900||About ¥1,300 (about HKD $1,442)||About -31%|
|AC compressor||About $5,000||About ¥1,500 (about HKD $1,664)||About -70%|
|Motor oil||About $1,500||Starting from about ¥300 (about HKD $332)||About -80%|
|Shock absorbers||About $15,000||Starting from about ¥2,500 (about HKD $2,774)||About -83%|
|Engine repair||About $50,000||Starting from about ¥10,000 (about HKD $11,096)||About -80%|
*Calculated using the exchange rate of RMB ¥1 = HKD $1.109 as of September 22, 2023
Mainland car detailing/maintenance hotspots
Currently, to travel from Hong Kong to the Mainland, one must use the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which makes Zhuhai a preferred destination for Hong Kongers for car detailing.
The car detailing and maintenance industry in Mainland China is flourishing, with many operating as chain stores. Examples include Tuhu Car Maintenance, Tmall Car Maintenance, and Superwash.
Besides Zhuhai, they also have branches in Shenzhen, Zhongshan, and even Guangzhou. For instance, Tuhu has over 40 branches in Zhuhai alone, offering comprehensive services including car detailing and maintenance. We suggest that you check the official websites of these shops for pricing and locations or download their mobile apps.
Tuhu Car Maintenance: https://www.tuhu.cn/us/home/default
Tmall Car Maintenance: www.tmallyc.com
Automall ONE: www.hzmauto.hk/automall1
3 ways to locate suitable car detailing/maintenance shops in the Mainland
In addition to the chains mentioned above, there are many small and medium-sized car detailing and maintenance shops in Mainland China. Needless to say, they offer the car waxing and coating services which Hong Kongers love. However, it is not easy to find a suitable shop among the vast number of car detailing shops. Here we share 3 tips:
- Baidu Maps - Enter the desired area and keywords, such as "Zhuhai car detailing", "coating", or "waxing", and it will display detailed information of shops providing relevant services in that area. After selecting a shop, you can view its photos, which provides a chance for you to make an initial assessment of whether the shop is suitable and understand its surroundings. You may even find the driving route to the shop in real-time, saving a lot of time. Finally, remember to call the shop first to ask about its charges and opening hours.
- Taobao - There are many car detailing products and parts available on Taobao. As a matter of fact, many sellers also provide installation services. You can not only learn about the products from the sellers but also arrange for installation at a convenient time, making it easier to plan your trip. Moreover, Taobao has a rating and review system, so you can look at past reviews before deciding whether or not to make a purchase, boosting confidence.
- Online groups - There are now numerous groups on social media platforms about driving from Hong Kong to the Mainland, where people share their experiences with car detailing and maintenance services in the Mainland. You can gain useful insights in advance or visit reputable shops based on recommendations from these groups.
Be careful and avoid illegal modifications
In recent years, many car owners have shown an interest in car body paint protection film (PPF), and there are also many shops in Mainland China providing this service. However, car owners who intend to apply PPF should be aware that when returning to Hong Kong, a vehicle registered under the Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles (NTHKV) scheme must be in the same body color that it was in when departing. Moreover, significant modifications to the car's exterior, such as adding front lips, body kits, or even spoilers, are not allowed. Otherwise, your car could be detained during the customs process when returning to Hong Kong.
Tips for car detailing/maintenance under the NTHKV scheme
In addition to being careful with the vehicle's appearance after modifications to avoid problems at customs when returning to Hong Kong, car owners planning to travel from Hong Kong to the Mainland should also consider the following matters if they want to purchase car detailing or maintenance services there:
- In addition to service prices, you should also pay attention to the time required for the detailing/maintenance service to ensure it fits your schedule.
- Some large car detailing/maintenance chains have their own mobile apps containing various promotional offers. We suggest that you download and check them out.
- If you plan to have parts replaced during the trip, it is best to communicate with the shop first to confirm the compatibility of the parts. Even for the same vehicle model, there may be slight differences between the Hong Kong version and the Mainland version in the parts installed.
Remember to fill up before returning to Hong Kong
After detailing and maintaining your beloved car, don’t forget to fill up before returning to Hong Kong. Fuel prices in Mainland China are lower than in Hong Kong, which can save car owners a lot of money. According to global petrol price data, the retail price of 98-octane petrol in Mainland China is only around RMB ¥10, which is less than half the price in Hong Kong. We also provide the prices of unleaded and premium unleaded petrol in Hong Kong for your reference.
Retail prices of petrol in Mainland China
|Type of petrol||Retail price (per liter in RMB)|
Retail prices of petrol in Hong Kong
|Type of petrol||Retail price (per liter in HKD)|
|Premium unleaded petrol||$25.38|
Electric car detailing/maintenance in the Mainland is also a bargain
Although electric car owners don't need to consider fuel prices, there are still significant savings with detailing and maintenance services (such as replacing car parts, including suspension, tires, etc.) in the Mainland compared to Hong Kong. However, car owners should consider whether the modifications will affect the original warranty.
If there is any issue, Tesla service centers in the Mainland will provide maintenance and repair services for cross-border Tesla vehicles, as well as roadside assistance within Guangdong Province, and can tow the vehicle to a nearby Tesla service center (24-hour hotline: 400 910 0707).
Moreover, electric car owners should be aware that the charging standards in the Mainland are different from in Hong Kong. For details on the differences and things to watch out for, please refer to the article 【Electric Cars Traveling North from Hong Kong】Four Things to Watch Out for + Solutions.