Basically, there are 4 main types of car washes:
- Self-serve car wash. You know the ones. We’ve all been to them at least ONCE in our lifetime – especially when broke. This type of car wash is a simple one which is basically coin-operated. The newer self-service car washes offer the ability to pay with credit cards. Either way, you come out wetter than you entered. You park your car inside a large covered bay that is equipped with a trigger gun, a wand (a high-pressure sprayer) and a scrub foam-brush, (usually one out of the 3 is not working right or at all). After inserting your money, you can choose options such as soap, tire cleaner, wax or clear water rinse, all dispensed from the sprayer, or scrub the vehicle with the foam-brush. After inserting your coin(s), you start washing like a bat-out-of-hell, before the time runs out. (Can you tell this is my least favourite type of car wash yet?) Half the time, after the car has dried, I’ve noticed spots I’ve missed all over.
- Hand car wash. No, I don’t mean the ones where you wash your car in your driveway with your own hands – I mean the ones where you get others’ hands to do it for you. If you want to feel rich, or you ARE rich, this is the place for you. At these car washes, employees come out from nowhere to detail your car in every area. The one I went to a few years back had a few guys on the outside washing down the car, then a guy wiping down the interior of the car, another one vacuuming the inside, and one wiping the tire and rims… all in succession as if my car was going through a production line. The results were great but I couldn’t afford to do thison a regular basis.
- Tunnel car wash. Does anyone still use these? I know they are few around in St. Catharines, I just haven’t been to any in the past few years. The last time I went to one, the experience was not good, so I’m obviously being biased here. These types of car washes uses a conveyor system. You know, the ones where you have to line your wheel up on some track, put the vehicle into neutral, release all brakes, and refrain from steering – otherwise you will not only look like a retard but you can cause an accident on the conveyor. Then these big brushes start slapping the hell out of your car. After going through this particular car wash that day, I noticed the top half of the car looked great! The bottom half – well, that’s a whole other ball of wax. I have passed on these types of car washes since then. Maybe they have improved. I wouldn’t know. (See the video of a tunnel car wash we went through on Bunting Rd., St. Catharines, at the end of post.)
- Touchless car wash. Now we’re talking. Other than the fact that going through a touchless car wash means no brushes touching your car hence no paint damage, the other reason I love these types of car washes is that there is no having to line up the wheel, there’s no having to get out of the car, it’s not as expensive as the hand washes and the end result is a clean and shiny car ALL OVER! Especially if you get the ‘deluxe’ package. A touchless car wash uses a high water pressure system to clean vehicles and with the combination of this pressure plus water quality, water temperature, chemistry and timing the result is a clean looking vehicle from top to bottom that you don’t have to fuss with.
|Video snapshot. Tunnel carwash|
Then there’s your bikini car wash – but that’s a whole other post altogether.
The type of car wash you use depends on many factors such as what you can afford, what’s easiest for you to use, what results are you looking for, (maybe you just want to wash the salt off), or even what’s the closest to your home. In the end, it’s your choice – your money.