Service Station Car Wash – Is It the Future?
July 11, 2016
If you are planning to travel for days on end, whether for a road trip or business travel, how much time and money are you willing to spend on car care and maintenance? If your answer is not much, then a service station car wash is ideal for you. How else can it benefit car owners like you? Let’s find out.
Service station car wash – What is it?
A service station car wash goes by many different names: gas station, filling station and petrol station. Despite having different names, a common feature of all these locations is the availability of gas. When you stop for gas, you will be presented with a variety of other services such as a grocery store, restaurant, coffee shop, an auto repair shop, and the latest addition, a car wash! These “all-in-one-place” businesses are gaining a lot of popularity among travelers simply because of convenience.
Not all service station car wash services are the same. Different types include self-service car wash, in-bay automatic system, tunnel car wash and mobile steam cleaning units. Here’s a summary of how each car wash type works:
- Self-service car wash – You are provided with all that is necessary to clean your car such as water, car shampoo, brushes to scrub the exterior, towels, and in some cases even a vacuum to dry the surface. More advanced car washes will also offer interior car cleaning. For less than $20 and within 10 – 15 minutes, you can have a clean car.
- In-bay automatic system – Prior to entering the car wash bay, you can select and pay for the wash of your choice. The system will either be friction (with nylon brushes that spin at a high speed) or touchless (water sprayed at the vehicle at a high pressure). This service is also less than $20.
- Automatic tunnel car wash – Your car is placed on the conveyor in neutral until the car wash process is complete. The processes involved are pressure washing, spraying of car wash shampoo and scrubbing with cloth or nylon brushes. For an additional cost you can also get a coat of wax sprayed. Full-serve tunnel system also includes interior washing by car wash attendants.
- Mobile steam cleaning unit – This car wash system is manned by trained professionals. If you wish, you can get both the interior and the exterior steam cleaned by them. This process is more time consuming than automatic systems because steam has a very high temperature, and thus needs to be handled very carefully for both vehicle and personal safety.
Of all these systems, the in-bay automatic car wash has proven to be the most popular among travelers because it consumes the least amount of time. However, if you are one of the people who value proper car care over convenience, the in-bay automatic and the tunnel system are not for you. It may take more than $20 and 15 minutes to repair the damages caused by their abrasive brushes and generic cleaning products.
The self-service wash does less damage to your vehicle but you have to make sure that the scrubbing brushes are rinsed thoroughly before using them, because they might still have dirt trapped from previous uses. However, within 15 minutes, there is not a lot of cleaning that you can perform. However, for a customer on the go, it is a very convenient system.
The mobile steam cleaning unit offers the best cleaning system for your car, but it is also the most expensive and time consuming one. If you have time and money to spare, then this is the best choice for you. Not only will you get back a perfectly clean vehicle, but you can also be assured that the car paint is intact, and not covered in a thousand minute scratches as after using an automatic system.
However, cost and convenience sometimes trump quality, which is why automatic car wash systems at service stations still remain extremely popular. Self-service bays come in a close second with less popularity due to it needing more work by the customer. You would come across only a handful of mobile steam cleaning units as they require a bigger investment by the service station owners, yet this may change in the future as the popularity of steam as a car cleaning method is increasing by leaps and bounds. To sum up, a service station car wash is a very profitable investment for owners and a much needed add-on service for travelers.
Are you planning on hitting the road soon? Schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts to prepare your vehicle for the road.
Are you a business owner or a service station owner interested in adding a car wash service to your business? Contact us to discuss becoming a DetailXPerts franchisee by offering mobile detailing at your location.
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