The fine art of: The Car Wash
We have a few simple rules we abide by as a family: always put the toilet cover down (we have a weirdo cat that likes to drink from the toilet, gross); always say good night, even when we’re in different time zones (and don’t go to bed angry at one another); always respect one another; and never, ever bring the WRX to a drive-thru car wash. Ever.
Honestly, those are our top rules and regulations; I kid you not, oh faithful reader.
Here’s the deal: garage-operated car washes are completely off limits for the Rex. Never in its 7-year tenure with us has it experienced the “thrill” of a drive-thru wash. Never has it felt the slap of a grimy, stone-infested, fabric wipe-y thing. Never has it experienced the tug of a single-wheel guide along mag-scratching metal pole guides. Never has it bathed in the second-rate, probably-actually-Dawn-dish-soap suds. And never has it baked in the super-powerful, sand-spreading (therefore surface-destroying) automatic drier when the wash is over and done with.
I almost feel like no other explanation is needed, but then this wouldn’t be a very interesting blog, now would it?
Over the years, I’ve taken many a test vehicle through car washes. From Porsches to Nissans, they’ve all seen the inside of a garage-operated car wash. Some have been fancy, no-touch car washes (where your car is simply blasted with jets of water and soap, sans contact), while others have been the standard body-slapping wipe-down type that always made me cringe a little.
But then, it wasn’t my car I was subjecting to the treatment.
On gorgeous, sunny days (be it winter, fall or summer), car wash lineups around the city are visible. Countless people use garage car washes, and I don’t blame them. They’re fast, easy and if you’re already paying for gas, why not add a bit extra and get your car looking like new for a few days?
But here’s the thing: Hand car washes often cost the same (or just a tab more than garage car washes), and they’re better for your car. Oh, and yes, the Rex is allowed to be taken to those (and ONLY those).
Hand car washes no only make your outside sparkle and shine at the hands of a team of capable washers using (I’d like to think), gravel/dirt/dust/harmful-stuff free rags and sponges, but they also tackle the inside of your vehicle, something drive-thru car washes simply don’t do.
I’m sure there are unreliable hand car washes as well, but in general, they’re the way to go if you want your car to look like it just drove off the lot. And in most cases you can watch them work on your vehicle while you enjoy a cup of joe, so they’re less likely to skimp on the job knowing they’re being observed.
I love bringing my car to the hand car wash. When I owned my own Impreza I brought her to the hand car wash near my house often. It was kind of like driving it for the first time after each wash. She felt refreshed, renewed and even a bit faster. A clean car is a marvelous thing.
Of course, for the truly passionate (and frugal) the at-home hand wash is the best option, and one that will ensure no foul play. I have a neighbour who cleans his Lexus IS250 (in a moss-green colour, I might add) religiously. Whether it’s a gorgeous summer day or there’s snow on the ground, we see him our there scrubbing down his Lexus with the utmost care. There’s a man who truly loves his vehicle.
C likes to take an entire weekend to detail the Rex, usually when the seasons change. From washing to waxing to buffing, she gets a complete rub down and cleaning, inside and out. I swear, the car looks brand new when he’s done, and it’s fabulous.
My mother got her 2011 Nissan Rogue cleaned for the first time since she bought it last week. She purchased it brand new before my son was born, well over 3 months ago. And it wasn’t even her who got it cleaned, it was my father. And he brought it to a garage car wash.
As I’ve always said, your vehicle is often a reflection of you as a person (whether you want it to be or not). Consider this the next time you want to get your vehicle cleaned.