Self Service Car Wash – Everything You Should Know

Washing cars regularly does not only retain the aesthetic feeling of your baby ride, but it also prevents car rust. There are many ways to wash your ride. You can choose to wash it at home if you have the self-service car wash equipment or go to a self-service car wash station.

A full-service car wash will be the best option if you live a busy lifestyle and are willing to pay higher for a car wash attendant to wash the car. Unfortunately, not everyone will want to spend extra cash on an automatic or full-service car wash. There comes a self-service car wash as a rescue.

In this article, the Rx mechanic team of experts will outline the pros and cons of self-service car washing and how to use car washing equipment on your own. Grab a seat and a cup of coffee while we uncover everything you need to know about self serves car wash.

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Read Also: How Does Self-Service Gas Station Work? – Pros and Cons

What is a self-service car wash?

A self-service car wash is a system or car washing station that allows the car owner to wash his car by himself. These stations do not follow the procedures or schedules of an automatic car wash.

Here, the car owner decides on the equipment to use and the part to concentrate more. With self-service, the motorists will save some cash as it is cheaper than the automatic car wash. This is more suitable for businesses or individuals with few cars. How does the self-service car wash work, anyway?

How to Use a Self-Service Car Wash

It’s no news that “how to use self-service car wash” is one of the popular searches on Reddit among car enthusiasts. So whether you’re among those who ask “how to use a self-service car wash on Reddit” or looking for how to use a bp self-car wash,” this is the right guide for you.

Kindly note that you can damage your car paint with the self-service car wash. However, you can avoid this by following the below guides religiously.

Step 1: Park your car in a nice spot

Depending on the car wash stations, there will be a marked spot on the garage indicating where to park each car. Choose the spot you want and position the vehicle very well. However, if there is no marked spot on the ground, position your vehicle in the center of the garage so you’ll have enough space to move around while cleaning your baby.

Step 2: Remove the floor carpets

Open the doors and remove all the floor mats and hang them on a wall for now. You’ll clean them later.

Step 3: Find the Sprayer

Find the sprayer wand and determine if you have easy access to it – the more accessible, the better. If the wand is too far from your parked location, repark the vehicle to a closer spot. Practice how to use the sprayer if you haven’t used it before. Grab the wand, point the tip on your wheels, and hold the handle or trigger to spray some water.

Step 4: Learn the spray wand settings

There are usually different settings on the sprayer. Familiarize yourself with the settings. The number of settings varies from one car wash station to another. There are usually three to five settings on the sprayer wands.

The basic options are a wash, soap, and rinse. Pre-wash and wax are advanced settings you may not see on all sprayers. As the name implies, the pre-wash is used to wash the car before the main wash. On the other hand, wax is used to wax the car to complete the cleaning processes.

Study these settings and know where to allocate more time. The wash setting is where you’ll lose the dirt, contaminants, and grime. Basic spray wands usually have one to two levels of pressurized water steam.

The soap setting is where cleaning additives come out. This setting allows you to eliminate stubborn dirt, debris, and other contaminants. Finally, the rinse option is where you clean off all the soap on your ride. On basic settings, you’re ready to hit the road.

Step 5: Check the payment option

There is usually a banner that displays the payment options on most self-service car wash business stations. Find out the acceptable payment option and make your payment the right way. Most stations accept coins, while others also accept credit/debit cards and bill payment options.

The charge is typically between $2-$5. However, the machine is usually timed. So ensure you start washing once you make payment.

Step 6: Start washing.

Grab the spray wand and point the nozzle on your vehicle. Hold the trigger to start releasing the pressurized water on the car. Ensure you stay 3-5 feet away from the vehicle to prevent the pressurized steam from damaging your car paint.

Start spraying the water on the roof and then to the tires. This will loosen dirt, grimes, and other contaminants on the car. After that, spray the floor mats where you hung them earlier.

Step 7: Set the soap option

At this point, set the soap option and repeat step six above. The spray wand will spray soapy water on the vehicle. Start from the roof rack down to the tires. Pay close attention to all the dirty areas, especially the wheel underneath.

Step 8: Rinse the car

Here will prove if you know your onions or you’re an amateur. So, you have to be careful. First, spray fresh water to rinse the soap water on the vehicle. After that, switch on the spray wand, grab your foam brush or sponge, and clean off stubborn dirt.

However, before using the foam brush or sponge, wash it very well. There may be leftover dirt from previous customers. You don’t want to scratch your car’s clear coating. Don’t fail to wash the sponge and foam brush, even if you come with your own.

Step 9: Scrub the Car

Scrub the vehicle to remove all the stubborn dirt and contaminants in a circular motion. Reach out to every nook and cranny of the vehicle.

Step 10: Rinse and dry your mob

Rinse and dry the car. Dial the rinse option on the machine and clean all the soapy water on the car. Start from the roof rack down to the tires. To ensure a clean wash, spray the water three to five times to remove the soapy water and all grime.

After that, allow the water to drip and dry. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Pros and cons of self-service car wash

Most motorists believe that the beauty of a vehicle is the ability to turn into a road beast on the highway. In contrast, forks like me believe that the aesthetic feeling of a car is as important as the engine speed. This means it is essential to clean your vehicle regularly.

While most forks may not afford a full-service car wash at all times, self serves car washing is affordable to all.

However, it comes with benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, you need to consider them before making an informed decision. Here are the pros and cons of the self-service car wash.


  • Using a self-service car wash enables you to wash your ride to your taste
  • You’ll have a reduced wait time
  • It is cheaper than using a full-service car wash
  • It brings the magnificent appearance of the car
  • It is a form of exercise


  • It is less convenient.
  • It may take an hour or more to bring the stunning look
  • You may end up paying more if you exhaust the allocated time
  • You may scratch your car paint if you’re not careful.

Read Also: How to Wash a Car by Hand and Pressure Washer Very Easy

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How to find a self-service car wash

Now that we’ve walked you through how to use a self-serve car wash, you may wonder, how do I find an indoor self-service car wash? We got your back. You can either locate a nearby self-service car wash with a Google map or use a car wash seeker.

To do this, grab your phone and search “car wash self-service near me or self-service car washes near me” on your Google map. The second option is to log in to the Car Wash Seeker website and input your search term. With the second option, you can search for a coin car wash or extend the search to full service if you want.

Self-service car wash are usually located in busy areas. You may have seen one or more. Finally, if you live around Los Angeles, then yelp is the ultimate search tool you need.

Top 10 Best Self-service Car Wash

There are several reliable and reputable self-service car washes across every city in all the states. Some of these self-service car wash stations have full wash services and auto detailing. Here are some of the best self-serve car washes that stand out from the crowd.

Best self service car wash

01. Parkway Car Wash

Parkway car wash has a solid gold reputation in the car washing industry. They are self-service, full services, and auto detailing services. They are open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm and 9 am to 5 pm on Sundays. If you live around Grand Prairie, TX 75052, they may be the right self-serving car wash you’re looking for.

02. Speed Clean Car Wash

Speed clean car wash is one of the best self-service car wash in grand prairie, TX. They have vetted car wash attendants that can revive your car’s appearance with a hand wash. They offer a self-service car wash at their office at 950 W Pioneer Pkwy, Grand Prairie, TX 75051.

03. Take 5 Car Wash

Take 5 car wash is yet another self-service car wash you should try in Grand Prairie. They have state-of-the-art equipment and several car washing options, ranging from a quick rinse to a deep clean. They use a patented soap formula and advanced rinse technology.

04. Q Car Wash – Great Southwest

These guys are known as the unlimited car wash club in Grand Prairie. With their unlimited membership, you can take your car to any of their stations as much as you want each month. Aside from this royalty, they offer excellent self-service car washes. Their main office is located in Grand Prairie, TX 75052.

05. Supershine Car Wash

This is one of the best self-service car washes you can find around Grand Prairie. You will hardly scratch your clear coating with their sponge and brushes – they are always clean. They also offer excellent full-service wash. Supershine car wash does not forget its customers. That is evident in their offering birthday discounts to their registered members.

06. LotWash Mobile Detailing

LotWash is a family name for car owners that reside around San Diego, California. They offer full car wash services on your RVs, trucks, SUVs, and cars. In addition, they render other services like HiDef polishings, Ceramic coating, leather conditioning and cleaning, odor removal, hot water shampoo, and engine wash.

07. Hand-upon Detailing and Ceramic Coating

As the name indicates, these guys are known for detailing and ceramic coating in San Diego, California. They offer overspray paint removal, detailing, ceramic coating, full service, self-service, and home service car wash. So, whether you need home service detailing, ceramic coating, or a full-service car wash, these guys are worth trying. Their services are second to none.

08. Balboa Car Wash

Balboa car wash takes pride in its excellent services and trained customer support. If customer support is a concern, then these guys may be your stop-and-wash station. They offer full-service and self-service car wash.

09. Day N Nite Self-Serve and Automatic car wash

If you live around 3204 Greyling Dr, Serra Mesa, you won’t want to miss Day N Nite Self-serve and Automatic car wash. Yes, they are not the best on this list, but they’re among the best around Serra Mesa.

10. Gentle Touch Car Wash

A gentle touch is the no.1 car wash and auto detailing in Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Kearny Mesa. They are known for self-serve and full-service car wash, leather seat treatment, headlight restoration, Rim detailing, wheel polish, and interior and exterior detailing.

Read Also: Can I Use Shampoo To Wash My Car: How to Wash?


Q: Is it cheaper to wash your car by yourself?

Washing your ride by yourself is usually cheaper than having a car wash attendant do the cleaning. You can either choose to wash the car at home or a self-service car wash if you don’t want to spend extra cash.

Washing the car at home will literally cost you nothing. However, you should have the necessary equipment already and available time. The second option will cost you around $2-$5.

Q: What is the best way to use a self-service car wash?

The best way to use a self-service car wash is to locate a nearby station and familiarize yourself with the machine. The above guideline on how to use a self-serve car wash is a good pointer. Refer to the above guideline and follow the instructions religiously.

Q: How often should you wash your car?

Several factors, like your driving route and how often you drive your car, determine how long it will take you before washing your car. Generally, you should wash your car every two weeks. Of course, this is only if you don’t drive in dirty areas or on salty roads. However, you can decide to wash your ride every three days or even every day if you constantly go off-roading.

Q: How many PSI is a do-it-yourself car wash?

The ideal do-it-yourself car wash PSI should be within 1200 to 1900 PSI. Anything below this pressure may not wash the car very well, and anything above that will likely damage the car paintwork. This PSI range includes the ones on full-service car wash stations.

Q: Why shouldn’t you use the hose to wash your car?

The most common reason why you shouldn’t use a garden hose when washing your car is that you’ll waste too much water. On average, a garden hose uses around 10 gallons of water every minute. Conversely, an average car wash requires around 40 gallons of water to wash one car.

Q: How do I dry my car after a self-service wash?

There are a few methods to dry your ride after washing at a self-service car wash or at home. Drying your car after washing is crucial because it’ll leave a spotless surface on the car. You can dry a car using a drying cloth, a dryer, a water blade, or chamois.

Q: Is it bad to let your car air dry after washing it?

Believe it or not, self-washing cars is time-consuming. However, you won’t want all these efforts to be in vain. After cleaning the interior and exterior surfaces, don’t leave the final step to mother nature. Here’s why I said so. Letting your car to air-dry leaves water spots on the surfaces, which can diminish its aesthetic feeling.

Q: How much does it cost to self-service car wash?

The actual cost of washing your car at a self-service car wash station varies based on the station you chose and the services you’re using. However, the average cost of washing is between $2 to $5. A basic car self-wash machine has water, soap, and rinse settings, while advanced machines have additional options like pre-wash, high-pressure rinse, or wax.

Final Words

If you really love your car, you’ll know that the appearance matters as much as the vehicle’s horsepower and torque. Yes, a regular car wash can cost you some money, but you can keep your car look at its prime while saving a few bucks with a self-service car wash.

So, there’s no excuse for not washing your cars regularly. But if you’re well doing and don’t like the inconveniences of the self-service car wash, then there are other options you can deploy.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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