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I am researching the possibility of starting a car wash business. If you don't mind please reply with an answer to the following question.

Thank you in advance.

Do you......

A- Hand wash your car?
B- Go to a Do-it-yourself carwash?
C- Use an automated Conveyor type carwash (no employees)?
D- Use a full-service Conveyor type carwash (with employees and a waiting room)?
E- Use a Mobile Detailing service?

Can you please give a simple reason why you would choose your answer.
 

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I avoid touchless car washes as they seem to miss a lot of dirt around the windows. The touch car washes via conveyer belt do a reasonable job but I have found scratches in my clear coat from them especially on the corners and trunk lid. Hand wash is always preferred but time is an issue often so i go with the conveyer style if pressed for time.


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I typically hand-wash my car, but during the winter, I will sometimes use a touch-free car wash to get all of the salt and crap off of my car. I used to use the "touch" car washes, but have found that they do scratch your car, so now I just use the touch-free places when cold out and do hand washes when warm enough.
 

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Been a bit since I have hand washed my vehicles, but that is my preference. I will not run my vehicles through a touch wash, scratches and damage are not uncommon with them and I know to avoid that. I will run through touch free washes in the winter after the roads have been salted primarily to get the salt off as much as possible.

There is a "wash on wheels"(wow) van I see here all over the place regularly. The guy seems to always be working doing mobile detailing and hand washing from the van.
 

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...so now I just use the touch-free places when cold out and do hand washes when warm enough.
Over the years, when I've been desperate to hand wash in winter, I would take the bucket inside and fill it with warm water. Of course, the outside temperature still has to be above 32°F so that ice doesn't form on the car.

At my house in St Louis, I did some plumbing and added hot water to the outside tap. So that made winter car washing even easier :)

Doug

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I am researching the possibility of starting a car wash business. If you don't mind please reply with an answer to the following question.



Thank you in advance.



Do you......



A- Hand wash your car?

B- Go to a Do-it-yourself carwash?

C- Use an automated Conveyor type carwash (no employees)?

D- Use a full-service Conveyor type carwash (with employees and a waiting room)?

E- Use a Mobile Detailing service?



Can you please give a simple reason why you would choose your answer.
Since I've got older I no longer do hand washing. Too much work for me.

I usually use a do it yourself. In the winter I use a touch less automatic to get the salt off.

Have never used a conveyor type as there isn't any near me. Which also answers D

I haven't used a mobile detailing service as I'm not as picky about how my car looks anymore like I use to be. Plus it's an older car. Paint looks good until you get close or see all the spider webbing in the sun.
 

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When I'm feeling lazy, I prefer the unattended touchless. They work great if you vehicle doesnt have a lot of built up dirt and snow on it.

When I really want it clean, nothing beats a hand wash.
 

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Sadly, I live in an apartment complex so I can't really hand wash my car, and the only carwash around here that does a good job is an automatic touch. Don't get me wrong, they do a great job. Especially during the winter, when you need all that salt blasted off the underbody. But I've seen them scratch up clearcoats before. They don't change out the scrubbers, and who knows if a super muddy, sandy Jeep was there right before you, effectively turning the scrubbers into sandpaper? I know they run water through it constantly to try and wash off the sand and grime, but it's not going to get everything. Still, overall they do a good job, and is my most frequent way of getting my car washed.

If I had a preference though, I'd probably wash my car by hand, at home, when I can. Probably wax it once every few months, and then go through an automatic carwash whenever I feel lazy lol.

You know, back home, you could hire people to come give your car a hand wash at a specific frequency (weekly, biweekly, daily... your choice) for like $20 a wash. They show up at 5am or 6am whatever, and by the time you leave for work your car is nice and clean and dry. These guys usually do a really good job. You can even have them use your own towels and sponges or whatever if you like. I don't think it's as common anymore (this was 10, 20 years ago), what with cheaper, automatic carwashes. I'm just reminiscing lol.

EDITED TO ADD

I forgot you mentioned you were thinking of starting a car wash business. Most commercial car washes are usually automated. I can't speak for anybody else, but if there was a hand wash car wash in my area, with that personal touch, I'd probably go there much more frequently vs. the automated ones.

Also to note, this forum may not be the best representative of the population to poll, in the sense that I believe that every member of this forum would generally care about their car much more than the average owner. So we'd prefer to hand wash, hand wax and all that. But your average Joe and Jane Schmoes might not care that much, and if you can deliver a better car was with a more personal touch, I think that's a good avenue to explore.

Hope this helps!
 

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I am OK with an occasional cloth car wash at the end of winter, if I can even find one since most have gone touchless.

Touchless in a Michigan winter is nice to get salt off, but it does leave a lot of places dirty still.

Did two hand washes and waxings last Summer. Including one full clay rubdown. This was because I had bought a 2016 rental Impala Limited and had no idea how well the body was taken care of. I don't think clay rubs need to be done every year unless you really have a show quality car. Plus I am getting to old for that crap, it is a ton of work and I question the amount of gain.

The hand wash at end of winter is where I found a few rust spots needing some work. Didn't get to it before it got cold, so will be doing tiny amount of grinding, priming, and touchup painting the next time it looks like no rain for a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Also to note, this forum may not be the best representative of the population to poll, in the sense that I believe that every member of this forum would generally care about their car much more than the average owner. So we'd prefer to hand wash, hand wax and all that. But your average Joe and Jane Schmoes might not care that much, and if you can deliver a better car was with a more personal touch, I think that's a good avenue to explore.
Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts on this question. I really do appreciate your opinion. As for posting this question to the forum, I did think about how most people on here care more for their vehicle than the average car owner so I knew the information would be skewed a bit. I have been asking this question whenever and where ever I can to get the most diverse feedback unlike these so called Political polls! LOL

Again, Thank you!

Also, Thanks to everyone else who took the time to post as well. All of your input is valuable to me.
 

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I almost always hand wash at home, but when not possible, there is a place here that for $10 has a guy who pressure sprays it with soapy water, then scrubs it with a brush dipped in soapy water all over the whole car & wheels. Then you pull into a touchless bay that washes, rinses, spray waxes, & blow dries it. The only extra is Rain-X. Nearly as good hand washing at home, but does let water blow out of door handles and body lines when driving down the road. There is one in another town that charges $12 for the same wash.
 

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I almost always hand wash at home, but when not possible, there is a place here that for $10 has a guy who pressure sprays it with soapy water, then scrubs it with a brush dipped in soapy water all over the whole car & wheels. Then you pull into a touchless bay that washes, rinses, spray waxes, & blow dries it. The only extra is Rain-X. Nearly as good hand washing at home, but does let water blow out of door handles and body lines when driving down the road. There is one in another town that charges $12 for the same wash.
Not a bad price for that service
 

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I use a power washer with a foam cannon. Yesterday I did a wash by hand my conclusion is the foam cannon did a better job. Just my .02
 

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I've never understood the purpose of a foam cannon. So it sprays foam all over the car - how does that benefit you? You would still have to use your hands to clean the car - it's not like the foam will magically clean everything. It's sprayed on under very low pressure from what I've seen - so you'd still have to manually "agitate" the foam for it do any sort of actual cleaning on a dirty car, right? How is that any better/easier than using a sponge/wash-mitt and a bucket full of soapy water?

I've never used one personally, but I have seen others that try them basically saying what I say above - and they don't use them anymore.

What am I missing here?
 

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I've never understood the purpose of a foam cannon. So it sprays foam all over the car - how does that benefit you? You would still have to use your hands to clean the car - it's not like the foam will magically clean everything. It's sprayed on under very low pressure from what I've seen - so you'd still have to manually "agitate" the foam for it do any sort of actual cleaning on a dirty car, right? How is that any better/easier than using a sponge/wash-mitt and a bucket full of soapy water?

I've never used one personally, but I have seen others that try them basically saying what I say above - and they don't use them anymore.

What am I missing here?
There's no perfect solution. To get the dirt off, something has to cut it. The foam is a solvent that will dissolve some of the grime cars collect, but it has to be allowed to soak for a while. And there's always some risk of the solvent damaging something - maybe not the finish but perhaps the rubber seals - with repeated applications. And, if it's not very potent, as you noted, it still needs to be wiped to get the dirt off.

I prefer a sponge or rag with plain old soap, but, if there is any sort of grit stuck on the paint when the rag hits it, it's going to drag the grit across the paint with the risk of scratching it.

As for the high pressure sprays, I've seen them knock paint off cars :) Granted, the paint was already loose (where there was some corrosion or poor adhesion), but the high velocity spray presents it own risks.

I think the moral of the story is, don't let your car get dirty :)

Doug

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There's no perfect solution. To get the dirt off, something has to cut it. The foam is a solvent that will dissolve some of the grime cars collect, but it has to be allowed to soak for a while. And there's always some risk of the solvent damaging something - maybe not the finish but perhaps the rubber seals - with repeated applications. And, if it's not very potent, as you noted, it still needs to be wiped to get the dirt off.

I prefer a sponge or rag with plain old soap, but, if there is any sort of grit stuck on the paint when the rag hits it, it's going to drag the grit across the paint with the risk of scratching it.

As for the high pressure sprays, I've seen them knock paint off cars :) Granted, the paint was already loose (where there was some corrosion or poor adhesion), but the high velocity spray presents it own risks.

I think the moral of the story is, don't let your car get dirty :)

Doug

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Or don't care lol
 

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Personally, I have a "system" for washing my cars. I start with the highest-pressure setting on the hose via one of those "select-a-spray-pattern" nozzles - I use that over the entire car and make sure any of the "big" stuff is removed first - and if it's not removed by the pressure alone, I then address that area first, before I move on to the "wash mitt" phase. I recently started using the "two bucket" method so that I keep the "dirty" water separate from the "clean, soapy water".

I then actually wash the car using one of those mitts with all of the little things hanging off of it (dont' know what it's actually called). To me, a foam cannon just woulnd't be enough to actually remove all of the dirt and grime, even after the initial "high pressure" rinse I do - so I think I'd still need to actually "wash" the car by hand anyway, which is why I question the usefullness of the foam cannon.

I start at the top, wash a section at a time (roof, windshield, rear windshield, hood, trunklid) - wash and rinse a section at a time (rinse with the "shower" setting on the nozzle). Then I do the sides, the front, the back and finally the wheels. I think some people recommend doing the wheels first, but I always figured that they are usually the diretiest, so I do them last. Not sure it really matters if you clean the mitt well after each section/area.

Then - I use this almost-rubber-like "thing" to get most of the water off (it's like a fake chamois). I've owned it for years and I love it because it soaks up TONS of water - and it's easy to wring-out. Then I go back over the car again and get it completely dry with the rubber-like thing and/or a drying towel. I also make sure to dry the windows really well (although, I almost always end up redoing the windows with actual glass cleaner anyway).

Then I move on to open the doors and dry all of the door jamb areas and the bottom of the doors real well (known rust area if neglected).

Then I enjoy the nice clean car, at least for an hour or two until it rains or I drive at dusk and get thousands of bugs all over the front end. :)

Believe it or not, I've had excellent results just using an inexpensive Turtle Wax car wash/wax solution. It leaves a fantastic shine without even waxing the car....
 

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I start at the top, wash a section at a time (roof, windshield, rear windshield, hood, trunklid) - wash and rinse a section at a time (rinse with the "shower" setting on the nozzle). Then I do the sides, the front, the back and finally the wheels.
That's how my mom taught me to do it :) That's how I bathe, too :D

Seriously, when I wash the car, I pretty much follow the same flow as you, working my way down to the dirtiest parts last (wheels and fender linings). Then use the rag to wipe down the door jambs.

Doug

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I hand wash all three of our vehicles myself. I became a member of the Septuagenarian Club early this year (so much for my plan to "live fast; die young; look good in the box"), but I still don't consider it too much effort. Besides, I don't like other people touching my stuff.

:D

 
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