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Self-Serve Car Washes: Are They Better Than Mobile Detailing?

Self-Serve Car Washes: Are They Better than Mobile Detailing?

Self-Serve Car Washes: Are They Better Than Mobile Detailing?

You see them everywhere – on busy roads, inroads, gasoline stations or parking lots. There might even be one at the corner of your street. Yes, self-serve car washes and mobile detailing units are like mushrooms; they can be found anywhere.

The question is, which one is better? Which service should you use? Below is a list of the pros and cons of each. This might help you decide which of the two types of car washes is for you.

Self-serve Car Washes

Self-serve car washes are coin-operated. You insert a specified number of coins in the intended slot and turn the dial according to your preference. You can start with a pre-soak if your vehicle is too dirty. Otherwise, you can proceed to the next steps which are; wash, foam, rinse and wax, in that order.

The Pros:

  1. Self-serve car washes are cheap. Some units charge $5 and even less.
  2. You save on your water bill.
  3. Used properly, self-serve car washes can give you a fairly clean car.

The Cons:

  1. Remember that foam brushes in self-serve car washes are used on different types of vehicle surfaces – dusty, grimy, gritty, salty, etc. Since these contaminants are miniscule, they go unnoticed. The only time they are detected is when they’ve already made some damage – like scratching or swirling your car’s paint.
  2. Auto detailing supplies found on most of these car washes are usually substandard and loaded with harsh chemicals that may damage the exterior surface of your vehicle. Not to mention that these chemicals can contaminate the soil and groundwater.
  3. The results are not always the best. Self-serve car washes run for a limited time, sometimes not enough to spray on problem areas. And even if you have a bagful of coins, you might not be able to extend your use due to the long line of customers.

Mobile Detailing

Mobile detailing units a thorough cleaning of a vehicle done by trained technicians whenever and wherever.

The Pros:

1. Mobile detailing offers convenience. You can have your car detailed wherever you are and whatever you are doing. It saves you a lot of time in the process since you don’t have to travel to the car wash. And you won’t have to contend with long waiting lines too.

2. Mobile detailers, especially green car washes, use a  minimum amount of water. DetailXPerts uses a pint of water for cleaning an entire car. This is beneficial to you, your car and the environment.

3. You can be sure of the quality of auto detailing supplies used on your car. Mobile detailers take extra care when choosing appropriate and effective products. Most of the time, they choose organic cleaning products. This means that your vehicle’s paint won’t come into contact with harsh chemicals.

The Cons

1.  Mobile detailing is not cheap. Some detailers charge $100 upwards. Detailing prices vary according to the quality of materials, equipment, size and type of your vehicle and your geographical location.

2. Mobile detailing takes more time, especially if you want a presidential type of detailing service.


Both self-serve car washes and mobile detailing units have advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which one will work for you. If you want a fairly clean car, then a self-serve car wash will do. But if you want a clean, showroom shiny car that you can be proud of, schedule an appointment with detail experts.

Do you have any questions or comments? Please feel free to write them in the comments box below. Thank you.

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