Automatic car washes feature a bewildering menu of optional services. Tire cleaners, undercarriage washes, and spray-on wax can all cost more than the price of the car wash itself. What’s more, some of these options can leave your car’s finish looking less than pristine. CR spoke to paint specialists, car wash owners, and professional detailers to learn more about the various services offered by different car wash chains.
Full-service carwashes offer everything from washing to drying, resulting in higher revenue per car. These car washes are also convenient because customers often exit their vehicles at a convenience store or retail area to wait for attendants to wash and dry their cars. The attendants at full-service carwashes also clean the windows, polish the wheels, and perform other detailing services. They operate through a series of programmable controls that allow them to switch on extra devices for different tasks.
Mechanical car washes can cause damage to the paint finish, but the modern car wash uses touch-free and brushless equipment to prevent this. Closed-cell foam is used in modern car wash wheels. These brushes are more gentle on your car’s finish and reduce the risk of hazing or swirling. Further, they also clean the brakes, wheels, and tires. If your car has a leather seat or a plastic interior, make sure that it gets the right treatment.
The nozzle of a car wash is another important component. A nozzle’s diameter must be precise to ensure thorough coverage of the vehicle’s surface. A clogged nozzle will make the foaming process more difficult. A properly calibrated nozzle ensures even distribution of the foaming chemical. A foam applicator is fed by foam/cleaner pump stations. Once a foaming applicator is installed, the arch of the foaming arch will cover the vehicle and apply a pre-soak before the wash cycle begins.
A prep gun pump is another important tool in a car wash. The prep gun is used to clean equipment and pre-soak hard-to-clean vehicles. The presoak application is the first step in a car wash. It involves spraying a solution onto the car’s surface. Once the vehicle has been thoroughly cleansed, the next step is to apply sealant, wax, or other treatments. In addition, carwashes often include engine bay detailing. Proper car wash equipment is essential to maintain the retail value of a car.
Another important step in maintaining a car’s appearance is auto detailing. This process involves deep cleaning and can take up to a full day. The best time to have a car detailed is every six months to a year. It also includes seasonal waxing. Detailing involves removing the visible debris and water spots from the vehicle’s exterior. The process also includes polishing and gloss paint jobs to eliminate unwanted nicks and scratches. It is a must-have service for any car owner.
While most car washes are coin-operated, they do charge sales tax. When you pay the car wash, the employee will perform various services, including vacuuming, hand-drying, and interior dusting. If the car is being washed by an exterior conveyor, a customer drives it onto the conveyor, which then pulls it through the entire wash process. Afterwards, the car will be returned to the car owner with a shiny, clean exterior.