How to Use a Self Service Car Wash?

Owning a car often involves a lot of decision-making including choosing the right cleaning method. There are two choices to car washes: self-service or automatic. Both get the job done, but the process is actually what matters most. Essentially, as an owner, you want to be guaranteed effectiveness and efficiency.

What Sort of Self-service Car Wash Should I Use?

What Sort of Self-service Car Wash Should I Use?

From the name itself, a self-service car wash is a type of car wash that can be done at home or in an actual car wash, which involves the owner providing service to himself through washing the car.

This gives the owner the chance and choice to clean the car on their own time. These are contrary to the procedures and schedules present in automatic car washes. Resources are also better allocated because the owner gets to decide which parts to focus more on. This is a way of cutting costs in comparison to automatic car washes.

Equipment needed for self-service car wash systems are relatively easy to source and can be purchased at an affordable price.  Sometimes, they are even readily available at the self-service car wash for the same cost.

How to Use a Self-Service Car Wash?

How to Use a Self-Service Car Wash

What you’ll need may vary depending on the self-service car wash you choose because there are some that only offer coin slots for the water hose, while others have options to actually control the water and the timing.

  • Proper knowledge of soap to water ratio
  • Rag
  • Appropriate Soap
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Rag
  • Drying Towel
  • Space to wash and dry the automobile
  • Polish (optional)

Here’s a general guide for you to teach how to use a self service car wash for vehicles.

1. Setting up:

How to Use a Self-Service Car Wash: Setting up

Step 1

Park your car and identify the parts that need cleaning the most.

It is crucial to ensure that the car is parked securely and that all parts are easily reachable and visible. One thing you have to consider with washing your car is if there is enough space for you to move and scrub around.

Step 2

Detach floor mats and place in designated cleaning areas.

Floor mats are the internal parts of the car that are actually as filthy as the external parts, so it is important not to miss cleaning this. Also, it should be taken away first so as not to forget it when you get too immersed in washing.

Step 3

Find the spray wand and familiarize yourself with its settings.

Spray wands and their settings essentially vary from one car wash to another. You would not want to waste time and water by pressing the wrong buttons, which is why you should be familiar with it before setting it and inserting the coin/swiping the card.

Step 4

Set the dial and insert coins into slot/swipe your card.

Important note: When spraying, stand 3-5 feet away from car.

2. Washing Process:

How to Use a Self Service Car Wash: Washing Process

Step 1

Rinse the car using a spray wand.

Step 2

Wash automobile from top to bottom. (Don’t forget the floor mats.)

Step 3

Apply soap using the spray wand.

Step 4

Use the foam brush to scrub wheels and other areas that need extra cleaning. (Be wary of painted areas to avoid scratching.)

3. Rinsing and Drying:

How to Use a Self-Service Car Wash: Rinsing and Drying

Step 1

Rinse suds using spray wand.

Step 2


Step 3

Place the spray wand in its designated area.

Step 4

Wipe floor mats and put back.

Here is an in-depth video tutorial on self-service car washes I found that you might find helpful:

How Can I Get The Most Out of My Self-service Car Wash?

How Can I Get The Most Out of My Self-service Car Wash?

  • Taking your time cleaning – It is important to remember that you are paying for every passing minute, which is why it is important to maximize the time in cleaning. A common mistake people make is not utilizing the time properly which results in “half-finished” cleaning.
  • Improper Rinsing – Some self-service car washes have their own soaps which are very strong for your paint. They choose strong soaps because the job has to be done in a shorter amount of time. With this, the owner handles the responsibility of making sure that the paint doesn’t get damaged in the long run by rinsing properly and strategically, especially the hard-to-reach areas.
  • Not Drying Properly – This is self-explanatory. We all know water droplets can leave nasty stains that are harder to remove later on, which is why we should always ensure that we are drying our cars properly.

Things We Like

  • Self-service car washes allow you to really take the time out of your day to take care and show some love to your car! 
  • The thing we like the most is that you are ensured that the cleaning process is utilized properly, knowing that you, as the owner, are the one performing it.

Things We Don't Like

  • On the downside, the thing we don’t like about self-service car washes is the weight of the responsibility regarding the automobile.
  • You have to make sure that you are knowledgeable enough regarding car washes to make sure your car doesn’t suffer from damages.

Final Verdict

We hope that this was informative and helpful in ensuring that you make the most out of your car wash experience. We have provided you with tips and tricks in order to effectively use your time in self-service car washes. Now, go and give your auto the care (and bath) it deserves!

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