Keeping your car clean and shiny is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also protects the paint job from damage. While cleaning your car at home is an option, taking it to a professional car wash can save you time and provide superior results.
Going through a car wash can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. With so many different types of car washes available, each with their own instructions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
To help ease your worries, we have compiled some tips on how to go through a car wash. By following these simple suggestions, you can ensure that your car comes out looking spotless and scratch-free every time.
“Washing your car regularly helps prevent dirt and grime from becoming permanent fixtures on your vehicle.” -Anonymous
From preparing your car for the wash to choosing the right type of car wash, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your car sparkling clean. So whether you’re a first-time car owner or just want to learn more about navigating car washes, read on!
Choose the Right Car Wash
If you’re wondering how to go through a car wash, one of the first steps is choosing the right one. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to pick which one will work best for you and your vehicle. However, by focusing on a few key factors, you can narrow down your choices and make an informed decision.
Consider the Type of Wash
One important factor to consider when choosing a car wash is the type of wash that you want or need. There are several different types of car washes available, ranging from standard automated washes to more specialized services like hand washing or detailing. Some common types of car washes include:
- Automated Wash: This is the most common type of car wash, where your vehicle goes through a series of brushes, sprays, and dryers while sitting in place.
- Tunnel Wash: Similar to an automated wash, but your vehicle gets pulled through the wash on a conveyor belt, allowing for more thorough cleaning.
- Self-Service Wash: In this type of wash, you do the cleaning yourself using equipment provided by the car wash.
- Hand Wash: A service where workers manually clean your vehicle with soap, water, and other cleaning materials.
- Detailing: A comprehensive cleaning service that includes not just exterior washing, but also interior cleaning, waxing, and polishing.
When deciding which type of car wash to choose, think about what kind of cleaning your vehicle needs. If you only need a quick rinse and don’t have any stubborn dirt or grime, a basic automated wash may suffice. However, if you have caked-on mud, pet hair, or other tough stains to deal with, a more thorough hand wash or detailing service may be necessary.
Check for Any Special Offers
If you’re looking to save money on your car wash, keep an eye out for any special offers that might be available. Many car washes run promotions and discounts from time to time, especially during slow periods like weekdays or off-peak seasons. Some common types of deals include:
- Coupons: Check online or in local advertisements for coupons you can use to get a discount on your car wash.
- Loyalty Programs: Some car washes offer loyalty programs where you earn points or rewards for frequent visits or purchases.
- Seasonal Deals: Expect deals around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. There could also be end-of-season specials as well.
To find these deals, check the car wash’s website or social media pages, or sign up for their email newsletter to stay informed. You can also try checking deal aggregator sites like Groupon or LivingSocial.
Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations
Before settling on a particular car wash, it’s a good idea to do some research and see what others have to say about it. Look up online reviews on popular review sites like Yelp or Google Reviews. This will give you a sense of what kind of experience previous customers have had at the car wash in question.
In addition to reading reviews, consider asking friends, family members, or coworkers if they have any recommendations for a good car wash in the area. They may have valuable insights based on their own experiences that can help you make a better decision.
Choose a Convenient Location
Finally, consider the location of the car wash and how convenient it will be for you to get there. If a car wash is too far out of your way or difficult to find, you may not make the effort to drive there regularly – and thus miss out on regular cleaning opportunities.
If you have a particular route that you take regularly (like commuting to work), look for car washes along that route. This can make it easy and convenient to stop in for a quick wash when you need it most.
By taking these factors into account, you’ll be able to choose the right car wash with confidence – and ensure that your vehicle stays clean and maintained over time.
Remove all loose items from your car
Before taking your car through a car wash, it is important to remove all the loose items inside. This ensures that nothing gets damaged or lost during the process. Loose items can include things like water bottles, phone chargers, sunglasses, and other miscellaneous objects. Here are some steps you can follow:
Check all compartments
The first thing to do is to check all compartments in your car. These include glove box, center console, door pockets, and seat back pockets. Make sure you take out everything inside these compartments. You never know what small object could be waiting to fall out and get caught under the car’s washer.
Take out any personal belongings
If you have any personal items such as clothing, toys or even food, make sure they are removed too! Small objects might seem insignificant but they can cause serious harm if they hit someone’s windshield while the vehicle is in motion.
Remove floor mats
Floor mats tend to accumulate dirt and debris and can add extra weight to the car. Some of this dirt and debris may come off during the washing cycle, but others will not budge or hinder effective cleaning. To avoid mud and dirt being pushed onto surfaces unnecessarily, remove floor mats before going through a car wash.
Empty the trunk
Finally, don’t forget about removing things stored in the trunk. The car wash can reach underneath your car, so, anything left there could easily fly up and damage the washing equipment or other vehicles nearby. Moreover, any item loosely kept on top of luggage could topple down and shatter against hard ground. Always ensure that trunks and hatchbacks are completely empty for uninterrupted access to all sides of your car.
“Removing all the loose items from your car before washing it can save you from unnecessary stress, time and money,” says Jake McKenzie, Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage. “You won’t have to worry about damage to any of your belongings or those in other vehicles.”
Close all windows and sunroof
To avoid getting water inside your car, it is essential to close all windows and the sunroof before entering a car wash. If you forget to do so, it might cost you some money as most car washes don’t refund if they find something wrong with the interior.
Ideally, you should pull up as close as possible to the starting point of the wash bay and turn off your vehicle’s engine. Turn the radio down or pause it so that you can hear any instructions issued by the car wash attendants.
Check all windows and doors
You should ensure that all your car windows are intact and in good condition before going through a car wash. Check for cracks, chips, scratches, or anything else that may require repair to avoid damage from high-pressure sprays used in commercial car washes.
In addition, make sure that none of the doors’ seals are loose or worn out, as this could lead to water leaking into the cabin area during the wash process.
Ensure all windows are completely closed
Making sure that all the windows are fully rolled up is crucial in preventing water from seeping inside your vehicle. It is also important to check the angle of the side mirrors. Adjust them slightly inward to reduce resistance against the wind to prevent accidental breakage.
If your car has automatic windows that are not functioning properly, never attempt to close them manually while driving through the car wash. This could result in physical or mechanical damage to your car and other vehicles sharing the same space with you.
Before proceeding through the car wash, double-check that your sunroof is securely shut. The reason the sunroof needs special attention is the high-pressure water jets can displace any loose debris into the sunroof tracks, preventing them from closing properly and leading to water damage in your car.
Some automatic car washes have policies against vehicles with open sunroofs, convertible tops, or unsecured roof racks as rainfall inside the cabin could lead to electrical surges. It is essential to check if this applies to your chosen car wash service provider before entering their facility.
Secure any loose items inside the car
Before driving through a commercial car wash, secure all loose items in your vehicle that may be damaged during the wash process or injure other vehicles nearby. Such items include antennae, bike racks, flag poles, or anything else on the exterior of your car that might break off or catch on towers and brushes used by the carwash equipment.
“Do not hang things such as tree air fresheners, decorations, religious objects or anything else that swings wildly while your car is moving,” according to Car Wash Association Executive Director Eric Wulf.
All portable possessions (e.g., mobile phones) should be turned OFF, placed out of sight and stored securely to avoid displacement due to pressure sprays from the wash equipment.
- Ensure that you know what sort of car wash service you require and choose the right type for your needs.
- Prepare well before arriving at the car wash, so you don’t waste time figuring out the process steps when there’s a queue of motorists waiting behind you.
- Follow instructions posted throughout the bay. They will indicate how to proceed, where to stop, when to apply brakes, and when it’s safe to engage in gearshifts.
- Finally, remain seated and attentive while new engulfs your car – you do not want any incidents of misjudgement that could damage the premises or other vehicles.
Follow the instructions provided by the car wash
If it’s your first time going through a car wash, reading the instructions and following them is extremely important. Most automated car washes have signage that tells you what to do or not to do; make sure you read and understand everything before proceeding.
The most basic instruction is to put your car in neutral gear; this will allow the rollers and brushes to work smoothly on your vehicle. In addition, ensure all windows, sunroofs, and any doors are closed completely. The last thing you want is water getting into your car and damaging the interior.
It’s also imperative that you clear out any loose items in the vehicle such as cups, food wrappers, and phone chargers. These items can get stuck in the equipment, causing damage, malfunctioning of machinery, and delays. Additionally, remove any external accessories like bike racks, ski boxes, detachable antennas or side mirrors in some cases, to prevent the possibility of breakage during car washing.
After making sure everything is appropriately secured inside the car and outside the car, drive slowly ahead until the car’s front tires hit a large rubber stopper beneath which signifies where your wheels should go along with following lines. Once the system registers your car properly, remained parked.”
“If customers follow the rules posted at each location, they won’t experience any issues,” says Shane Norris, Owner of Auto Wash Center East INC.”
Pay attention to any warning signs
Another precaution to avoid problems when using an automated car wash is to be mindful of any cautionary notices placed around. These warnings include avoiding opening your doors while the machine cleaning process takes place. This could cause personal injury if a component hits your head or damages the apparatus holistically restricting its ability to function.
Other notices might alert customers about certain vehicle models that are not compatible with the service due to their lowered or raised stance; it may rust brake pads, grinds undercarriage components and scratches wheels. Additionally, be wary of warning signs stating that your car could get damaged if you go through without removing external attachments like bike racks or ski boxes.
Lastly, any notice containing instructions on how to handle an emergency situation will aid in preventing accidents — such as pressing the Emergency stop button located within — can save life or vital assets when dangerous occurrences happen.”
“Any damage caused by failure to respect cautionary guidelines cannot benchmark responsibility onto the car wash facility,” says Nick Gindele, owner of H20 Car Wash.”
Stay inside the car
It is essential to stay calm and relaxed during a car wash; however, this becomes hard for some who get agoraphobic or claustrophobic when stuck in tight space while being sprayed with water and soap as brushes run across their cars or truck’s bodywork in quick succession.
In these instances, consider safe breathing techniques like close-eyes deep inhales and exhales repeatedly until you find serenity:
- Breathe out slowly: Letting air escape from oneself plays a central role in counteracting hyperventilation, which occurs when one breathes excessively and quickly.
- Take control of the thoughts: Have affirmative conversation with self, encouraging oneself during the whole process creates calmness in mind equating to physical relaxation of muscles that lead to personal privacy.
- Repeat calming words: Come up with phrases that mean something personally and focus on repeating them quietly in head spaces over and over.
It’s also important to avoid opening any car door, sunroof or lifting arms outside the window for taking pictures that could compromise your safety whilst gaining insignificant satisfaction. By staying inside the vehicle, you will minimize water entering and causing damage while protecting personal belongings from being displaced by machines.
“Follow instructions closely, do not open doors during the wash cycle, and, most importantly, remain inside until directed to leave,” says Michael Zagelbaum of Brooklyn Car Wash.”In conclusion, there are a few necessary precautions to consider when going through an automated car wash; following instructions, paying attention to any warning signs, and remaining in the car should be at the forefront of mind. By adhering to these simple guidelines, drivers can rest assured their vehicles will come out looking shiny and new without encountering any problems.
Inspect your car after the wash
You’ve just finished giving your car a much-needed wash, and it’s glistening in the sunlight. While you might be tempted to drive off immediately, there are a few things you need to do before hitting the road. One of them is inspecting your car to make sure that everything looks good.
Check for any missed spots
After going through the car wash, one thing you want to check for is if there are any missed spots on the vehicle. Most car washes use high-pressure water jets to clean the cars, but sometimes they may miss some areas due to the positioning of the car or because of stubborn dirt. Walk around your car and carefully check for any missed spots on the bumper, wheel wells, hubcaps, side mirrors, and other parts of the car. If you find any, you can either redo those places yourself by cleaning them with a soft cloth or take your car back to the wash to get them fixed.
Inspect the exterior for any damage
While it’s perfect to believe that your car will come out spotless from the car wash, auto experts agree that there continue to be plenty of opportunities where harm could occur during cleaning. Despite this, if you clean your car correctly using mitts and sponges instead of brushes, then the possibility of damage decreases significantly. However, when done improperly, a car wash can cause significant harm to the paint job, bumpers, antennas, windows, and windshield wipers. That being said, inspect the entire exterior of your vehicle carefully to see if there was any unintentional damage caused during the washing process.
- Look at all four corners of your car and examine the rims and tires. A scratched rim requires immediate attention by the professionals.
- If the wash used brushes, some of them may have left scratches on the paint job. Look out for windshield wiper streaks, as it’s possible there could be a loose or damaged piece causing damage to your car’s finish.
- Check the mirrors and all windows carefully to see that they are smudge-free. If you notice any issues with this, notify the car wash customer service immediately.
If everything appears right after inspecting your vehicle, arms up, and get ready to hit the road!
“Washing can cause micro-scratches (imperceptible wispy marks) which not only dull the shine but also allow dirt and grime to adhere more easily down the track,” says Sheelagh Daly, spokeswoman for Shine Armor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps to go through a car wash?
First, choose your wash package and pay. Next, pull up to the entrance and follow the instructions of the attendant. Put your car in neutral and take your foot off the brake. Let the car wash do its job and stay in your car until the end. Finally, exit the car wash and dry your car with a towel or let it air dry.
Can I stay in my car while going through a car wash?
Yes, you can stay in your car while going through a car wash. It is actually recommended for safety reasons. Keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times and follow the instructions of the attendant. Be prepared for some noise and movement during the wash process.
What types of car washes are there and which one is best for my car?
There are several types of car washes, including touchless, brushless, and self-serve. Touchless and brushless washes are gentle on your car’s paint and are great for newer cars. Self-serve washes are best for those who want to control the washing process themselves. Choose the type of car wash that fits your needs and budget.
Do I need to do any preparation before going through a car wash?
Yes, there are a few things you can do to prepare your car for a wash. Remove any loose items from your car, close your windows and sunroof, and make sure your antenna is lowered. If your car is really dirty, you can pre-rinse it to remove any excess dirt or debris. Otherwise, the car wash will take care of the rest.
What should I do if my car is too tall or wide for a car wash?
If your car is too tall or wide for a car wash, you may need to find a wash that can accommodate your vehicle. Look for a truck wash or a wash with oversized bays. Alternatively, you can wash your car by hand or use a mobile detailing service. Avoid using a car wash that may damage your car or cause safety concerns.