How to Use a Car Wash to the Fullest

October 19, 2020Car Care and Revamp
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

There are not a lot of things that are as pleasing as a nicely cleaned and waxed vehicle. However, even the most experienced drivers still don’t know how to clean their machines. Learning how to use a car wash, whether it’s a drive-through or self-cleaning one, is an essential skill every driver should possess.

Before you get your machine all soaped up, do a little digging and learn Is it better to wash your car at home or at a car wash?, Is a car wash bad for your car?, and How do you go through a car wash? To help you get the most out of this experience, we made a guide that shows you how to take advantage of the washing stations to the fullest.

Is It Better to Wash Your Car at Home or at a Car Wash

No matter if you have been on a stress-free road trip, just cruising around some of the famous routes in the US, or you have been driving around the neighborhood, your car will eventually get dirty. That’s when you should give it a good and thorough cleaning. However, the question is, should you DIY the whole process or use the commercial, automated wash?

Both commercial and self washes have advantages and disadvantages, and choosing one over the other will depend solely on your needs, schedule, and budget:

  • The final result – no matter how hard you try, the hose in your home won’t generate enough water pressure to remove all the filth, while those in automated places can. Additionally, you will have to obtain cleaning supplies like rags, sponges, towels, and ensure that they don’t scratch your machine’s paint. However, does this mean that commercial places are more effective? They do offer more options from the tunnel system to in-bay automatic, but they can leave some spots on your machine.
  • The impact on the cars – Are you wondering is a car wash bad for your car and do car-washes scratch? Because in the past, users of commercial shops have noticed some damage to the paint. Fortunately, modern technology and improvement have made the equipment better and safer for your four-wheeler. DIYing the whole thing can also damage the machine if you are using the wrong supplies.
  • The time – the commercial places will take 10 minutes out of your busy day to clean your machine, while the DIY process can take up to an hour, depending on the amount of filth.
  • Overall expenses – depending on the shop you take your four-wheeler to, the costs of commercial services can be between $5 and $30. Are you driving in New York City? Or are you driving in Los Angeles? Because owning a car in a metropolis is more expensive than driving around in some rural area, and that’s why you should expect to pay more for the cleaning.
A person cleaning the car.
Both cleaning methods have certain benefits.

How Do Car Washes Work When They Are Automatic

Have you ever wondered how do you go through a car wash? Or do you turn your engine off in a car wash? Knowing the answer to these will put your mind at ease while your car is getting cleaned.

The whole process will last a few minutes, and when it is done, you will have a mess-free machine in front of you. However, to ensure that everything goes smoothly, there are a few steps you should take:

  • The first thing you should do is drive up to the payment station because most automated places have a window that allows the drivers to select different packages and pay for them. Depending on the place, there will be three of four options available for you to pick from.
  • When you are done selecting, pull up to the opening and look for arrows or other symbols that show you where you should stop your car.
  • You will probably need to drive forward until your auto’s front tires are aligned with the track system. This system will then guide your machine through the washing process. Pay attention to lights and arrows because they will show you when you successfully parked your car onto the track. When you are sure it is in the right spot, put the car in neutral or automatic transmission.
  • Double-check if the windows are rolled up because there will be water splashing everywhere. When the cleaning begins, the auto will be moved forward by the truck system you parked on. Now you can just relax and let the automated mechanism do the rest. However, don’t get scared by the loud noises and shaking. That only means that the brushes and water jets are removing the dirt.
  • When the cycle is done, the flashing lights will notify you that it is safe to drive out of the garage area, and you are done.

Figuring out how to use a drive-through car wash to clear your machine will make you a better driver. This knowledge will come in handy whether you are tidying up one of the best family cars or preparing the vehicle for shipping. Also, when you have all the information, it will be easy to decide whether you should drive your four-wheeler to automatic wash or clean it on your own.

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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use a Car Wash Self Service in the Most Efficient Way

Have you decided to clean up your car on your own? If you did, know that there are many benefits to self-service washing. It is not only cheap, but it is an effective way to give your machine a detailed cleanup. If you are wondering how to go through a car wash, know that these stations are small and easy to handle, so you will master the cleaning skill in no time. Go to the station and give your machine a quality deep clean while saving up some cash.

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Before Choosing the Washing Method, Make Sure You Set up Properly

The first step is parking the vehicle in an empty bay. The bay would be the designated area of the self-service where you will wash your machine. Park in the center of the space, and after you parked, check to see if you have enough space to walk around without hitting the car or the wall.

When you are satisfied with the room you have around the auto, remove the floor mats if they are made out of plastic or rubber. However, if they are made out of carpet, you should skip washing them. Carpets can be cleaned at the same time when you are cleaning seat belts, when removing dog hair, or when you decide to clean the steering wheel.

Then you need to find the spray want that is probably attached nearby. Pick it up and check to see if you can go all the way around your machine. When you ensure you can reach every part of the four-wheeler, check out sprayer settings. Most have 3 to 5 different ones, and all can be used during the process. Machines include wash soap and rinse settings, while more advanced ones even have pre-wash and wax options.

When you figure out all the options, insert the money into the machine, and you can start with the cleaning. Before you press on the spray wand, step away and ensure that you are standing at least three feet away from the car to avoid splashing.

Wash Your Vehicle From Top to Bottom

Start by rinsing the machine with the spray wand, and make sure you hold it away from your body to avoid getting soaked by the high-pressure water stream. Take a full circle around the auto, and you will see that the stream already removed some debris. While you are at it, spray your floor mats and check there is no dirt left on them.

When the auto is properly soaked, apply the soap. It will start spraying out of the wand, and that’s when you should circle around the auto one more time, soaking it in suds. When you are pleased by your work, rinse the foam, and you can do that by putting the foam brush on the spray wand. When you are done, get the brush to scrub all the stubborn filth that doesn’t want to come off.

Don’t forget your wheels when you are cleaning, they will need special attention because they tend to accumulate a lot of filth. With circular motions, you can remove the debris and the dirt on the wheels and tires.

Using the Right Tools for Drying the Vehicle Is Essential

When you are completely sure that there are no suds left on the surface of your machine, it is time to dry it. This is the step you shouldn’t skip because if you do, there will be water spots all over the surface. There are many ways you can dry your machine, but make sure you do it quickly. You can use a blower or a big microfiber towel. The first things you should dry are windows and mirrors, when everything else is dry, wipe down door jambs, and use a towel to dry the wheels. When you are sure that everything is dry, apply the wax that will ensure your stain-free surfaces stay like that. Don’t wax floor mats, just wipe them and put them back in the car. Return everything in its rightful place, and you are ready to hit the road.

A person splashing a car.
Nobody can do a better job than you when it comes to keeping your car spotless.

How to Rinse and Put a Wax Coat on the Vehicle

The important thing to remember while you are removing the dirt from your car is to always rinse before moving onto waxing. This is a crucial step because the soap doesn’t react well with solutions you will apply to preserve a clear coat and the wax many car washes use.

When you are done rinsing, it is the moment for the clear coat. If done correctly, it will look completely smooth. After it is time to apply wax. You can buy some online, they come as sprays and paste. The waxing will ensure that the clear coat surface stays like that and that the paint is intact. When you are done applying it, the exterior should have a bit of sparkle.

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When You Buy a Car, Wash It Before Taking It for a Spin

Are you getting one of the top-rated SUVs, or maybe you are buying a used car? You can learn many things to do on your own that will save you some money and make you a better and more reliable driver. When you figure out the basics like how to change a flat tire or even how to remove dealer stickers, you might want to up your game and learn some other useful hacks. Those that are grease heads probably already know how to replace a stem valve, or even how to change the tail light and start a car without jumper cables.

All of these will be useful when an auto transport company delivers a car you bought. Keep in mind that you can choose between the door to door auto transport and terminal to terminal car shipping depending on your schedule and budget. A car shipping company can provide you with open trailers, but also, if you got a cool imported vehicle, don’t forget to ask for enclosed auto transport. When the new toy arrives, give it a wash, wax it, and enjoy a smooth, dirt-free ride.

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