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A First Timers’ Guide to Automated Car Washes

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Are you a beginner when it comes to getting your vehicle cleaned at an automatic car wash? Perhaps you’re not familiar with what to do or how to work these automated car wash systems – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! From how the entire process takes place to frequently asked questions on automated car washes, we’ve listed it all in this post – read on to know more.

How to Use an Automated Car Wash 101

Locate an automated car wash near you

Automated car washes are increasingly featured nowadays at gas stations, so make sure to check your local fuel vendor. In many cases, several gas stations offer reduced prices on car washes if you’re filling up on gasoline at their establishment.


Drive on up to the payment station

Much like an order window at a drive-thru restaurant, many automatic car washes have an auto wash station where customers can pick the sort of wash they want and pay for it. Most automated car washes offer three to four packages to their customers with prices that range to include services like basic washes to added services like spray-on waxes.


Park in the designated car wash zone

Keep an eye out for any markers or signs that indicate where you should be parking your car before the wash process begins. Although automated car washes may vary from region to region, most require the customer to move their vehicle forward until their car aligns up with their guided track system. Some car washes may have additional lights and arrows that will indicate that you have parked in the designated space accurately.

Remember to put your car in park if you’re in a vehicle that has an automatic transmission, and into neutral if you’re in a manually operated car. Ensure that your foot is off the brake and that the parking brake is disengaged. Make sure the windows of your car are rolled up and that your doors are locked centrally or have the child locks active, in case you are traveling with kids.


Sit back and relax

Now all you need to do is sit back and relax – the car is going to be gently pushed along the monorail system – just be aware that you might feel a little movement of the frame of the car as the brushes go to work on cleaning the car’s exterior. Once the wash and dry processes are complete, you will be alerted when it is safe to get out of the garage area by means of a lit sign or signal. Slowly leave the car wash tunnel/area, while paying close attention to any other cars that might be pulling out ahead of you from one of the other car wash bays.

FAQs on Automated Car Washes

Do I need to wash my car that often?

We certainly wouldn’t advise waiting on a vehicle to become utterly filthy until you decide to have it washed. Washing your car is best considered a routine/good habit to have rather than a thing that becomes a chore. Harsh environments where salt or mud end up scuffing the exterior and underside of your vehicle and having your car waxed or cleaned relatively regularly helps to keep your car looking good.


Automated car washes – are they safe for my vehicle?

The primary purpose of washing your car is to remove soil, garbage, and other chemicals that can damage your engine. If not treated, such pollutants can cause corrosion and damage to your paint. Therefore, it’s only logical that these must be removed to ensure adequate protection of your vehicle’s finish. Mud and road tar can collect moisture over time, causing corrosion while bird droppings, insect splatter, and acidic rain eat into your paint job. So yes, we’d definitely say that automated car washes are a safe bet to keep your car clean on a regular basis.

A First Timers’ Guide to Automated Car Washes

Should I choose a touchless wash or a soft-cloth wash?

Some people claim that an automated car wash could affect your car’s paint – is that necessarily true, however? Not really! The softer cloths used for soft-cloth car washes make for gentler scrubbing of painted surfaces, we agree but provided the brushes being used in an automated car wash are intact and grime-free, you end up getting the same results.

Websites and apps like Way offer professional and top-rated car wash services at great prices. What’s more, the whole family can get in on the sudsy action thanks to Way’s Carwash Voucher and Family Car Wash Pass that can be used on multiple (that’s right, multiple) vehicles!


Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car.

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