Choosing which car wash to bring your four wheeled friend to is an extremely important decision. And while we always say washing your car by hand (in your driveway) is the best way to go, a trip to the local car wash is completely understandable. That is, of course, as long as you know what to look for. Follow this simple guide and you’ll be able to sniff out a good car wash near you in no time.
The best way to instantly avoid a headache is to hop on Yelp! or facebook and see how people like the place. Now, although you can only really trust about 80% of public reviews (because lets face it, eventually someone’s going to have a bad time no matter where they are), this will give you a good understanding of what people like and don’t like about the car wash. As a benchmark I like to make sure they don’t just have a good rating, but also a good amount of reviews. When people are inclined to review, that means they had a good time.
See how they operate.
Drive by the shop a few times and check out how they do business. First off, make sure it’s a hand wash. Secondly, make sure they’re washing (and drying) the cars in the shade. If they do any detailing in direct sunlight, steer clear. If you can check, see what kind of towels they use. Microfiber drying towels should be the only towels that come in contact with your car’s paint finish, though the only way to absolutely guarantee this is to wash your car yourself. If they use cotton I wouldn’t recommend them.
If they’re willing to talk to you about their services and are friendly, chances are they’re worth your hard earned money (so long as their work backs it up). If you get an aggressive or ill-mannered answer, you know not to go. Typically the people who care about customer service really care about your car. They want you coming back and they want you to telling your friends what a great experience you had. While great customer service may seem rare in the car wash industry, it’s a great way to pick the best from the rest.
Bells and whistles.
You’ll want to find out what extras are included with your patronage. Comfy waiting area? Coffee? Parking? Basically I’m saying see what makes them unique. I know a lot of detailers who will give free snacks, air fresheners, and whatnot to their customers and believe me it can make all the difference. Sure it has nothing to do with car care, but we are people aren’t we? I don’t know about you but I don’t like sitting in an 8′ x 8′ room with ten other people listening to AM radio in order to drown out that relentless honking every five minutes. I’m sure some of you can relate… I want to relax. Again, if you wash the car yourself you’ve got the comfort of home less than a few strides away.
Check out their products.
Some car washes and detail shops publicly display (on their website or in the shop) what products they use on customer cars. If they don’t it might be worth inquiring. There are a lot of cheaply made, inferior car care products out there that (inferior) car washes and detail shops take advantage of. These cheap products (that have clouded a large portion of the market) are simply designed to quickly shine and clean without much effort. Sounds great, but they’re not telling you everything. The shine wont last, the cleaning agents are caustic, and they underperform when put to the test. Quality speaks for itself, and if your detailer has taken the time to invest in high quality car care products, your car will be in good hands.
The best advice I can give is to be patient. Don’t jump in just because the flags outside say free car wash. Trust me, it’s a trap. Save yourself the disappointment and take some time to find the best hand car wash in your area. Follow this guide and give them a try if they pass the test… when it works be sure to let us know in the comments!
Share with us what you look for before you take your car to a detail shop!