Car washes are all about caring for your vehicle, but today there are many different types and choices…so is it worth getting all of those extras, or shall I say add-ons…to your basic wash? Car owners love having their vehicles cleaned on weekends and sunny days, not to mention a little detailing; like enhancing wheels with brighteners or getting that chrome to glisten with wax. You can’t deny that a great looking car on the road grabs your attention, especially when it comes to classics, sports, new or vintage vehicles, it can be quite competitive among owners; who doesn’t like a ‘Clean’ looking car.

Car wash menus have become tantalizing to its customers, as they make it sound almost glamorous, if we would just add on the wheel package, rain-x shine to the body or add a special fragrance (‘New Car’ smell) …then it will be just like the day you purchased it, showroom beautiful! Most of these menus are quite pricey, and car wash owners know by upselling services with the wash…it becomes financially rewarding for their business. The menu begins with a basic wash for an average of $6.00 (depending where you reside), and gets more expensive with each add-on. However, if you are purchasing one at a gas station, some pumps offer a discount on gasoline per gallon, or a discounted car wash; long as it’s not a basic one. Point here…there’s usually a catch, and is not always worth it.

Wash menus are designed to sell you more than you came for; hence the flashy colors and logos as you’re pulling in. It’s also a known fact that the general public responds well to bright, flashy colors rather than dark or dull ones, so pay close attention next time you approach a menu board. Upselling is common in a variety of regions, like those with salt in winter; it gives a quick synopsis so you may understand the negative effects it has on your vehicle; this is a planned method of selling. Then it sells you on extras, such as… pre-washing with foams (tri-color of course), rinses, waxes and sealer products (protective, clear coat…, etc.) of all kinds, including wheel brighteners. Are all of these worth it? The answer is ‘No.’

Clear coats can add shine and gloss to your vehicle, while adding an extra layer of protection if adhered properly; not something applied in a car wash. You can find several recommended products at and get a better idea of what your vehicle requires in order to keep it looking great. Triple foam products are detergents used to get the nitty gritty dirt off, so all those colors should make a difference; if they don’t…go back and show the attendant so they run your car through again; after all you paid for it. As far as waxing, it’s the same application as the clear coat; must be applied manually for best results.

Most experts’ least favorite product on the menu is the wheel brightener. If it’s used too much it will oxidize the rubber and can pit chrome or even glass due to harsh chemicals, but unless you stop and wipe the brake dust off manually, it never cleans properly in a car wash. This is your biggest waste of money, so for what it’s worth…next time you’re at car wash, purchase your basics and remember, getting dirt off, while washing the under carriage of your vehicle is all it needs from there, the rest is up to you. A little TLC and a visit to a detailer once a year is all you need; unless you take your car to a dealership, where you purchased it…they’ll usually run it through theirs for free; Happy Washing.

Make your week count.