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The Cheapo Power Wash!

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On: Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 5:07PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The Cheapo Power Wash!

There are several ways to get a quick wash. You can go to the traditional car wash, pay the ever increasing price or do it yourself at one of the do-it-yourself washes. Of course, there’s always your driveway, too, but for a quick and effective wash, the do-it-yourself places are pretty good because of the power nozzle feature and you can certainly do a better job yourself than one of the automated car washes. You can do a decent job in fifteen minutes and, if you’re efficient, spend less than five dollars in the process. You can spend more too, depending on how thorough you want to be.

You’ll do a better job if you bring along a few things when visiting your local coin-operated wash facility. First, make sure you bring a few one-dollar bills, a few quarters, some wheel cleaner spray, a squeegee, and a towel or two. If you can, also bring along an assistant.

Most of these facilities require at least a minimum investment of around $3.00. You can add a few quarters to the initial amount, but you don’t want to underestimate the time and have to put another two dollars in when you need only another minute.

When your car is in place, take the wheel cleaner and spray the wheels and wheel covers. These will be fairly dirty this time of year, and by the time you’re ready to start with the high pressure spray the wheel cleaner will have softened up the built-up crud.

Once you put your money in, start with the high pressure soap spray. Begin with the roof and work your way down, getting as much dirt off as possible. Do not use the foaming brush on a dry surface as you can easily end up with scratched paint. Spray the wheels and also inside the wheel wells. This is where a lot of dirt accumulates and can be a problem with older cars that are prone to rust.

This is where the assistant comes in. As you’re spraying, have your assistant start with the foaming brush on the areas that you’ve finishes spraying. This is how can save time as the clock is ticking.

Once you’ve finished with the foaming brush, start at the roof again but this time with the power rinse option. Thoroughly rinse the car, and have the foaming brush ready to go over spots that you’ve inevitably missed.

Don’t bother with any of the wax spray options that are available. If you want to wax your car, you need to set aside a chunk of time, a good wax, towels—to do a proper job. But a proper wax job does begin with a thorough cleaning. When the timer finally runs out, use a squeegee to wipe off the big globs of water—again starting with the top of the car, and then you can repeat the process, this time with the towels you’ve brought along.

You can feed the vacuum cleaner machines to do the interior and trunk; you can also do the engine compartment during the washing process. For the engine compartment, spray the entire engine and compartment with the wheel cleaner and let it soak in. Close the hood and then proceed with the car as outlined above. When you’ve finished rinsing the car, open the hood and power rinse the engine—making sure to remove all the wheel cleaner. When you’ve finished, spray the entire engine and engine compartment with Armor All or an equivalent product. It will look pretty messy, but when the engine compartment finally dries off, you’ll have a clean and shiny engine. Try it—that’s how it’s done at the dealerships.

When you finally get home, use the towels to wipe down any of the trails of water that you find on the car and glass.

Now you’re ready for a wax job!


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