How to Use Self-Service Car Wash

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Using a self-service car wash is relatively simple. In comparison with automatic stations, drivers save a few dollars per wash. The stations give them more control than automatic washes, but less than a steam cleaner for cars. There is just one problem — getting to the station and making sense of the settings. These tips will help you wash your vehicle properly. 

Set up

The area of the station where your car is washed is the bay. Park your vehicle in the center. Then, check there is enough room for you to move around it. Make adjustments if necessary. 

Prepare the Interior

Floor mats must be removed if they need cleaning. Mats made of plastic or rubber should then be set against the wall. This will allow you to spray them afterward, just like you would during a steam car wash. If the mats are made of carpet, skip this step. You can only clean them with a steam car wash machine. 

Test the Spray Wand

You will find it inside the bay. The wand is always connected to a stand. Take it in your hand and check that you can reach all the necessary areas. If there is a problem, adjust the parking position. 

The wand is easy to use, as it works similarly to a Fortador car wash steamer. When the handle or trigger under the nozzle is pressed, the tip releases water. This pressurized stream cleans the surfaces. 

View Spray Settings

Usually, you can use 3-5 different modes in the process, with the basic ones being washing, soaping, and rinsing. Additional functions are pre-wash and waxing. Check which settings may be used, and decide how much time to spend on each. This is a wider range than on a steam cleaner, which is based on steam pressure.

Adjust the Settings

Begin with either “Wash” or “Pre-Wash” on the dial depending on your needs. Pre-washing is necessary for vehicles caked with dirt or debris. If the car is fairly dirty, washing will suffice. 

Pay for Wash

Insert the money (the costs are between $2 and $5 on average). The more you pay — the longer you can use the machine. Once the money is inserted, you can use the wand. If the timing is not specified, begin with the lowest amount (for example, 75 cents) and add more coins as necessary. Note that only some stations accept credit cards. 

Tips for Washing 

During the wash, maintain a distance of 3-5 feet from the vehicle. Otherwise, the stream will be too aggressive to the surface. Do not shoot the spray into the engine bay, either. 

If you need pre-wash, take one lap around the vehicle. Then, wash from top to bottom. Remember to wash and rinse the mats, too. To use the soap, turn the dial on the wand. The process is simple, but given the steam car wash price, you can clean your vehicle more cheaply with no environmental impact.

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