Why a Drive-Through Car Wash Can Never Beat a Pro Hand Wash

I think it must be storytime! Because this is a topic I feel quite strongly about – odd I know. But although I wouldn’t say the issue is “close to my heart” it’s definitely a topic that needs to be covered. Especially for you younger people who aren’t adept at taking care of your things properly just quite yet…

So the premise: yes, a drive through car wash is never going to beat a pro hand wash. Hey, it’s probably not even going to beat an amateur hand wash. It will likely beat the job those guys at the traffic lights do on your car, however.

So! I just got back from a lovely trip around the New Zealand countryside with my new partner. A full 4 weeks with just nothing but us and the open road. Although the roads in New Zealand are not “open” at all. They are actually super scary, super windy, and super dangerous in parts. There are a multitude of one way bridges. There was just a landslide there that shut off full towns because there is literally only one road in and out of them. Those roads are crazy. But anyway…

We were travelling around for quite some time. And in those types of conditions the car gets pretty darn dirty. We went on a dusty off road track at one point that really didn’t help the cause. So the car wasn’t our car. It wasn’t a hire car, either. We’d borrowed it off friends to go roaming around.

Halfway through the trip we were to catch up with said friends, before travelling on. The car was filthy. I was like, “We need to stop ASAP and clean this frigging car before they see it and think that we’ve trashed it”. Sure, it was more about saving face and making sure our friends didn’t think we were complete write off, but whatever.

So, I looked up the nearest car wash and detailing on Google Maps, just a couple of minutes away, since we were in one of the bigger cities at this point it time. Turns out it’s a drive through car wash instead of a DIY wash or a hand wash place, but I said to myself, “Hey, if that’s all they’ve got then that’s all they’ve got”.

So, though we went with the “Super Deluxe Wash” or something similar. I don’t exactly know how those car washes differ since they all seem to do pretty much the same thing. Anyway, out we drive and arrive at the friends. Stepping out of the car to walk into the house I see dust trails dripping down the car from where the water has got in but not quite cleaned properly, you know, it’s actual job.

Now because we were in a rush, this could probably be forgiven. However, there is no way in regular life I would allow this to happen again. I mean, what’s the point in cleaning a car if it doesn’t actually get it properly clean? That’s like when you “cleaned” your room when you were a kid by just shoving all the toys into your cupboard or under your bed. Not a great way to go.

Anyway, since you can now get the pros around to your house to clean your car, this is what I end up doing all the time. You are guaranteed a good job, and it’s not like you have to go out of your way to have it done, which is a real bonus if you ask me. Cleaned properly plus no time out of my day? Beats that drive through car wash hands down.

Oh, and P.S., we gave the car a professional clean before we gave it back to our friends at the end of our trip. I would’ve been mortified if we only had time for a drive through car wash and had to give it back!