Drive-through car washes, better known as petrol station car washes in local parlance, are a timesaver to the harried among us.
A quick splash-and-dash and voila: your car is clean in less than 20 minutes with literally no sweat on your part.
They are common and affordable, often found in many petrol stations islandwide (hence the name).
However, if you’re a diehard petrolhead, you’ll know these car washes aren’t the best thing to treat your car to.
In the name of convenience, we sacrifice quality.
Probably not wanting to make their customers wait too long, car wash attendants often find themselves hurrying cars along.
That means they sometimes miss out areas on a car which would have otherwise been attended to.
That aside, here’s a list of reasons why you should avoid petrol station car washes if you’re a true petrolhead:
1. The cloth/sponge/brush used to clean your car may be filled with grit. That sentence is enough to send chills down the spine of any upstanding car owner. The cloth or sponge used on your car has gone through hundreds of cars before yours. The dirt on those cars could be trapped on that piece of cloth or sponge, which when used on your car could end up scratching your shiny paintwork.
2. Pressure hoses could damage your paintwork. If you have even the smallest paint chip on your car, using a pressure washer could amplify that damage by injecting water underneath the paintwork via that exposed area and remove even more paint.
3. The spray-on wax offered is sometimes misapplied. Sure, some spray-on waxes are simply applied on and wiped off a clean car, but as time is of the essence, the wax application itself is sometimes hurried and some spots may end up being left out.
4. One cloth, one man, one interior. That dreaded “one cloth” again. Once more, in the interests of expediency, the cloth used to clean the interior of your car might probably be the same one used on the interiors of hundreds of other cars. That’s not good.
5. Expensive. Ok, this isn’t exactly a bad thing. This is, after all, the price of convenience. However, the accumulated cost of sending in your car to a car wash could net you a decent set of cleaning products, which actually aren’t all that expensive.
Having said that, it’s ultimately up to you on how comfortable you feel bringing your car in for a wash at the petrol station.
It’s the best option in our busy lives, but it doesn’t hurt to take some time out every now and then to give that car a good old scrub yourself.