Pulling up to the conveyor and riding through the automatic car wash can be one of life’s little pleasures, at least when the pandemic has made the world feel very small and left you with few other places to go. But after so many trips through the tunnel, you’ve started to ask yourself: Is it just me, or am I developing claustrophobia? How much is this costing me, anyway? Can’t I do this myself?
Of course you can. In fact, you should rotate between manual and commercial car washes. Between trips to automated car washes, with their big brushes and heavy detergents, you should avail yourself of some of the benefits of washing your car at home. You’ll save money and pick up what the big brushes missed.
As you may have suspected, the costs of automated car washes start to add up. Some facilities charge as much as $30 per session to get your car’s exterior spotless—or so they claim. Meanwhile, with a hose and the necessary cleaning supplies, you can perform the same cleaning at a fraction of the price. After a small initial investment on your part, these savings add up in the long run. Be aware, however, that you can’t cut corners on your cleaning supplies—using dish soap or paper towels on your car are big car-care mistakes that will ultimately cost you more than they’ll save.
Take the Long Way Home
We’re in too much of a hurry sometimes. We settle for fast food and delivery to our doorsteps instead of cooking for ourselves. We look for shortcuts and expressways instead of taking the scenic route. Why not take a moment to live well below the speed limit and spend some quality time with your car? After a long work week, taking an hour on the weekend to give your car a deep cleaning could be the kind of activity you need to decompress while checking off an item on the to-do list.
Attention To Detail
Automated car washes are great for the big picture, but they miss the small stuff—and when it comes to a well-maintained car, you should sweat the small stuff. One of the benefits of washing your car at home is applying your well-honed attention to detail to your car’s interior. Professional detailing services can get pricey, and there’s no guarantee they’ll get everything you would know to get yourself. On the outside, you can take an eagle eye to small spots that need touch-ups and avoid some of the streaks and spots that the automated car washes leave behind.