It’s one of the most enjoyable events in our lives. Driving off in a new car. It’s a big investment, but also a milestone and a measure of accomplishment. It shows that all your hard work and sacrifice has paid off. The smell and glow of the interior alone releases endorphins that just make us feel good. Everyone notices the shine of a new car because the vast majority quickly loose that high gloss reflection, despite repeated washing and even waxing.
Our vehicles are a reflection of who we are, but without professional maintenance, that reflection tarnishes over time. Life happens, scratches and stains accumulate… and before long, that new car feeling is lost, often within the first few months of ownership.
MOST CAR OWNERS TRY TO GET THAT FEELING BACK BY SUBJECTING THEIR CARS TO THE AUTOMATIC WASH TUNNEL. IT SEEMS CONVENIENT AND PRUDENT, BUT THOSE WASH TUNNELS HARBOR A FEW “DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS” THAT ACTUALLY MAKE THINGS WORSE.
1. Some of the dirt that came off the car in front of you has transferred to the cloth material, which is now beating against your car, and scratching your paint. Those scratches are temporarily hidden by liquefied waxes that fill the scratches, but that wax quickly fades causing the car to look dull within a week. It’s a vicious cycle by design, because all those micro scratches collect more dirt and road contaminants, causing owners go back to the wash tunnel more often. The wax filler tricks us into thinking that the wash tunnel is good for our vehicle because it looks great for a day or two.
2. Wash tunnels only clean the visible outer surfaces. They don’t clean the door jams, wheel wells, wheel barrels, engine bay, fuel cap area, grill cavities, or any of the crevices that accumulate road salt, dirt and hundreds of other contaminants that also make your car look old and dull. If beauty is in the details and you want lasting results that won’t harm your car, the wash tunnel process falls way short.
3. These machines use brute force, abrasion, chemicals and a lot of water. Some systems reclaim a portion of the water, but none can claim to be environmentally friendly or even 100% effective if the goal is to clean and protect the outside of your car. Brute, indiscriminate force is the wrong way to clean any smooth surface. Even high pressure, so called “touch-less” wash tunnels and coin washes can damage your paint. The dirt doesn’t simply disappear after all. It is physically blasted across the paint surface under high pressure, which can cause micro abrasions across the surface.
4. Wash tunnels affect approximately 40% of your car, and only clean 80-85% of the exterior surfaces. The interior is where we live and breathe. We spill things, drop food in seemingly impossible to reach areas, which provides an ideal habitat for bacterial growth and even fly larvae. Some wash tunnel businesses offer use of outdoor vacuums, but let’s be honest… We’re busy, we hate vacuuming, aren’t very good at it and it’s either freezing or dreadfully hot out most of the time. Even our best efforts with a vacuum and cloth will leave some dirt and bacteria behind.
5. The money we spend on automotive cleaning is iterative, rarely budgeted and almost never accounted for. Between the wash tunnel fees and supplemental car care products we buy, owners can easily spend $50 to $100 per month, and still fall short of that new car feeling.
There has to be a better solution, and there absolutely is.
IT’S A SPECIALTY TRADE-CRAFT REFERRED TO AS, PROFESSIONAL AUTO DETAILING
This is a “hands-on” profession where a trained professional takes great care to properly and meticulously clean and protect the entire vehicle. Auto detailers have specialized equipment and products that can revitalize and maintain that new car feeling for less than you think. One such business is My Car Butler of Chambersburg, PA. They utilize the latest equipment and eco friendly cleaning products, in combination with processes and techniques that maintain that new car look and feel. Pro detailers can also revitalize neglected or improperly maintained vehicles, so it’s almost never too late to get back that new car feeling.
Many car owners would be surprised to know that having their car’s exterior professionally maintained by a pro detailer costs about the same, on an annual basis, as the perpetual wash tunnel trap. My Car Butler includes interior cleaning with their value packages, and valet style pick up and delivery as well. The Express Mobile Detail package starts at $99, taking 2-3 hours to complete the exterior and interior. The Premium Valet Service Packages start at $199. Premium services include interior & exterior decontamination, scent treatment and a six month polymer wax/sealant that forms an ultra high gloss, hydrophobic barrier over the entire car, including the glass and wheels.
For a similar annual cost, car owners can get greater convenience and far better results with Professional Auto Detailing, vs weekly mechanical wash tunnels and those manual outdoor vacuum stations. Moreover, clients will enjoy that new car feeling during ownership and higher resale value at the end… without lifting a finger. For those who value convenience and the satisfaction of that new car look and feeling all year long, there really is no comparison. At a minimum, MCB recommends having your car professionally detailed twice a year. That said, quarterly maintenance details will avoid the more costly semi-annual services, prevent paint issues and better protect the health of the passengers.