It seems like you don’t really see automatic car washes as much anymore. There is a good reason behind this; first they are generally wasteful, and they tend not to get your car as clean in hard to reach areas. Now what we are seeing more of is self-service car washes and hand washing car washes. There are a number of reasons to use these options rather than an automatic car wash. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.
As we have already mentioned, old automatic car washes were wasteful. They will continually spray your car with water the entire time you are there. A bay style car wash can use, on average, 35 gallons of water per vehicle. This is because there is a constant stream of water to keep the brushes from damaging your paint. Tunnel style car washes that drag your car along a long tunnel use even more. They can use up to 120 gallons of water per car depending on the length of the car wash.
Now consider washing your car at a self-service shop. You pull up, put money into the self-serve car wash POS system and it turns on the water for your pressure washer. You spray your car once, wash it off and rinse it again. This will use considerable less water than a traditional automatic car wash.
Traditional automatic car washes have a limited effectiveness thanks to the way they are setup. Most still use a series of cylindrical brushes which spin and break the dirt up which is then rinsed off by the constant stream of water. These brushes are great for getting the bulk of dirt and debris off of your vehicle, but they are less than ideal for getting into those fine crevices that like to hold dirt.
When you wash your car yourself at a self-service car wash, you are going to be able to inspect your entire car yourself. You will also have access to finer brushes that can get down into the hard to reach areas on your car. If, for some reason, you can’t get to them with the brushes provided you always have the option of using the pressure washer to lift the dirt. It is not as economical and will use more water, but is still better than an automatic system. In addition to letting you clean the outside of your car most of these car washes also come with free vacuums and air fresheners for cleaning out the interior once you are done.