$10 For An Automatic Car Wash?

Messages
22,684
Location
CA
I bought an "Ultimate" car wash at the Shell gas station today. It was $10! The local full-service car wash, which uses soft cloth brushes and has attendants to dry your car, only charges $12. Therefore, isn't $10 for an automatic car wash way overpriced? As for the wash itself, this was my first time using an automatic car wash. The actual wash only took around five minutes. I thought it would take much longer. Also, this particular automatic car wash wasn't of the touchless or soft cloth variety, it was just the normal nylon brush type. Since I bought the "Ultimate" wash, the machine sprayed the car with soap twice and washed it twice. I didn't see any new swirl marks on the paint after the wash. While the machine did do a good job on the paint itself, it left behind a few stubborn spots on the windshield. The air vac did a good job of extracting most of the water droplets. Still, I didn't think the experience was worth $10. Or am I wrong?
 
Messages
5,573
Location
earth
$13 bucks here for everything but underbody wash paid $16 once to include the underbody , but machine never washed it...
 
Messages
9,103
Location
MN
Dude - you're paying the California rate... Ultimate is $8 here in Mn. and it is a "Laser wash". Has a bottom blaster, spray wax, etc. Pretty good wash, but can leave a film.
 
Messages
7,077
Location
Ontario, Canada
I wonder what the price per scratch is. My car has never seen the inside of a car wash, and someone recently asked if I had it re-painted. It's eight years old now. I never wax it, either.
 
Messages
4,450
Location
Kuwait
At this end, how much you pay depends on your vehicle. It's the same, regardless of whether its an automatic or a regular car wash. For an SUV, you're looking at $11.50, but that includes the interior as well. Add $2.00 to get the engine steam cleaned. For another $2.00 you get the undercarriage washed. I avoid automatics all together.
 
Messages
14,013
Location
Retired | Wausau, WI
 Originally Posted By: tpitcher
Dude - you're paying the California rate... Ultimate is $8 here in Mn. and it is a "Laser wash". Has a bottom blaster, spray wax, etc. Pretty good wash, but can leave a film.
Same here in WI. The guy who invented the Laser Wash is from Appleton, WI. For those that don't know, there is nothing that touches the car other than soap, water, wax, and more water. The thing I like about them is that they are open 24/7 no matter how cold it gets outside, and that is a big plus in the winters up here.
 
Messages
2,759
Location
CarMax
$10 for a gas station car wash is a rip. Around here an exterior full service car wash is $12-15, but you can pay a lot more at upscale car washes, more like $25-30. What has changed here is the huge growth of the conveyor-style "express" car wash, where you do not get out of the car and receive only an exterior wash. There are free vacuums to use but no personnel to dry your car or clean the interior. You can get an exterior-only wash for as little as $3.99. At these prices I'd never use a gas station car wash again.
 
Messages
2,695
Location
Easton, PA
never paid a person to wash my car. the drive through one here is great, like $5-6, not sure. doesn't leave a residue or anything. I tried one of those 'touchless' washes once because i got a coupon at the pump; never again, it was a horrible wash.
 
Messages
1,565
Location
Elkridge, MD
I never wash my cars with nice paint in the automatic wash, either washing them at home or using the coin-op sprayer at the car wash in the winter, but occasionally take my Jeep through the automatic wash when its really filthy. It's $8 for the basic wash, and they give out one of those buy 9 washes and the 10th is free coupons, so if you amortize the cost over the coupon, it's only $7.20, which seems fair enough.
 
Messages
1,967
Location
Sudbury, ON, Canada
My Yaris gets the automatic wash. I think I've washed it by hand a grand total of three times. I used to do the Sunfire by hand all the time, but I barely touch it anymore (and yes it's due for another wash).
 Originally Posted By: crinkles
$13 bucks here for everything but underbody wash paid $16 once to include the underbody , but machine never washed it...
You wouldn't notice, the jets aren't very strong (former auto-wash jockey). It relies on a WD-40-like solution to remove grime underneath.
 
Messages
9,679
Location
Central Coast, Calif.
you paid for the "value added" of convenience. Notice that although it was $10 you still paid for it, that means it wasn't "too expensive". You'll learn about it when you take marketing. Was it a relatively new station?
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,985
Location
Oakville, Ontario
The automatic car wash at the gas station closest to my house charges $13 for their top level service, but they also offer a 90 day pass for $150 (you can get it washed once every 24 hours for 90 days, so if you went every single day it's like paying only $1.67 per wash) I bought that card in the winter so that I could get my Corvette washed every single day to keep the salt off it. But I was also going to the detail shop every Saturday and getting their hand wash for $15. That service for $15 is 100 times better than the $13 automatic wash! (but for daily use that automatic wash was still a good deal because of that season pass)
 
Messages
389
Location
Stallings, NC
After visiting my fiance in Toronto, ON, $150 for 90 days is not a bad idea for the winter... a lot of cars there look like complete trash and have tons of rust spots because of the salt... I think I would have done the same thing.
 
Messages
19,528
Location
Lake Forest, CA
I use free car wash once a week at the dealer I bought my cars. I don't know if it's hand wash or not but the car is very clean after washed, they also vacuum inside too. More good deal: they have free Starbuck coffee and free bottle water.
 
Messages
7,077
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'd pay a dollar if there was a place that just blasted with fresh water so I could get the salt off in winter. You'd put in a dollar, drive through slowly, and the jets would turn off after you leave, or after 30 seconds whichever comes first.
 
Messages
5,440
Location
Da Swamp
 Originally Posted By: Cutehumor
I wash my car like 3 times a year. I use the $1 car wash that I spray and rinse myself
That's what I do . . . but more like 50 times a year.
 
Messages
681
Location
New Jersey
I stay away from brush type car washes altogether, mostly from fear of sandpapering my car's finish. If you use the wash behind some urban cowboy whose been out mudding his 4X4, or a really dirty vehicle has been there ahead of you, that's asking for it. I think too, there is a risk of corrosion from recycled water ladened with salt. When I lived in the snow-belt it seems most, if not all, car washes were required to recycle the wash water. I doubt that removing salt from the recycled wash water was a priority. I guess it beats leaving the salt stains on the car all winter.
 
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