5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Self Service Car Wash

January 27, 2012

Using a self service car wash can be a great way to save money and get your car clean. There are things you can do to help make certain you get the most value for the money you spend at the self service car wash.

  • Vacuum First – Most self service car washes provide vacuum cleaners. Just like the rest of their equipment it runs on a basis of x amount of money gets you x amount of time. So you should get your garbage and other things out of the vehicle before ever putting your money in. Take out your floor mats and shake them first. Pull the hose of the vacuum into the car before putting your money in. Work as quickly as you can.
  • Center Your Vehicle – When you pull into the bay, get as close to the center as possible (side to side and front to back). This will give you the most area to maneuver around the bay as you clean your car.
  • Be Prepared – Before starting the washing process, get prepared. If you are using your own towels to dry your car, make sure they are ready. If you are buying them (most of self service car washes sell them) do so before you start washing. Turn the controller knob on the car wash to pre-soak and point the wand at your car before you put the money into the machine. Just like the vacuum, time is money and most machines will start as soon as you put your money in.
  • Wash Efficiently – Do the pre wash first, then use the tire cleaner and then go back and soap the car and follow that up with the rinsing process. Try to work quickly, but don’t miss anything. If you have a problem spot you can spend a little more time on that. Ultimately the rinsing is one of the most important parts of the process—you need to get that soap off. So, try to be done with everything else so that you can go over the car more than once in the rinse position. If you choose to use the wax process don’t do it now, but wait until you’ve dried the car first.
  • Dry Immediately – Pull your car out of the bay as soon as you are done washing. Get into an area of the lot where you won’t block traffic or others using the self service car wash. Wipe down your car with the towels to make certain it’s properly dried. If you plan to wax the vehicle now would be the time to do that—after it’s dried. Drive back around and get back into the bay and do just the wax process and then bring the car back out to a good spot and use your towels again. If you want to pass on the waxing, once you are done drying you are finished.

At self service car washes time is money. So, you need to use your time efficiently but it’s quite possible to get a quality car wash for a little money and some effort.