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How To Use A Self Service Car Wash – The Helpful Guide 2022

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A self-service car wash gives your vehicle a thorough cleaning on a budget. With a basic understanding of the equipment present in spacious stations, you can get a quality service by spending a few dollars.

It is a manually working station where you get to decide how much cleaning and rinsing your vehicle receives. You can get it done up to your expectations.

But the problem many people face is a vague idea of how they work. Here is a guide to help you understand and maximize the experience.

How To Use A Self Service Car Wash

We divide the procedure into three broad categories to make it easier for you.

#1 Setting Your Vehicle to Start Wash

People find it hard to understand where and how they should park their cars to start the procedure. We bring you 7 easy steps to get your car ready for it.

  1. Park the vehicle in the center of the empty bay. It is where you wash it. Walk around the vehicle and check if you have enough space to move. Adjust your park job if required.
  2. Remove the floor mats of the car. Take them out of the vehicle and settle them with the wall. Clean them too.


Wash the rubber and plastic mats with spray wind. Skip the step if they are carpet. Locate the spray wand to wash. It must be present near the bay on a stand. See if you can easily use it for your vehicle everywhere. You might need to park again to adjust to it.

  1. Hold the tip opposite to you and check the nozzle to find the pressure of the water.
  2. It is a good practice that you familiarize yourself with all the settings for the nozzle spray. These machines offer various settings- to wash, soap, and rinse. Determine the time for each too.
  3.  Choose a pre-wash setting to remove any dirt and debris. Shower it away and proceed.
  4. In self-service car washing, you pay for time, not for the equipment. The money corresponds to the length of your service.


  • Start by inserting low amounts to get an idea of how it works.
  • Have cash and change prepared beforehand. Some stations accept coins, while others work fine with cards too.
  1. Stand away from the spray wand while cleaning your vehicle. The distance must be at least 3-5 meters. It ensures the high pressure will not damage the vehicle. Avoid using it directly on the engine bay.

#2 Washing A Car in Self-service Station

Find 6 easy ways to wash your vehicle in a station with the best results.

  1. To rinse your car, take a lap around your car by squeezing the handle of the spray wand.


If you’re using a pre-wash setting, use the wash setting after it.

  1. To ensure that dirty water runs off the car, shower it from top to bottom. You can do it after every step.
  2. Don’t forget your floor mats. Rinse them from time to time.
  3. Apply the soap. You will need to switch the wand to another setting. A soapy stream will follow soon. Make sure to take your time and spray down your vehicle with suds. Use a foam brush to clean your car thoroughly. You will find one near the service machine.


Rinse the brush before use. The dirt from the previous service might be present.

  1. Use a spray wand to rinse the bristles of the foam brush for your automobile.
  2. Foam brush comes in handy for your windshields and tires. Lather the soap in these areas. Give special attention to tires, for they accumulate most dirt.


  • Do not take a long lap for lathering. It might leave an impression on the car. Scrub in short and quick laps.
  • Don’t use foam brushes on the painted areas of your vehicle. It might leave scratches.

#3 Rinsing and Drying Your Car in Self-service Station

You need to follow 4 simple tricks to finish it off.

  1. Rinse your vehicle off the soap. Do it quickly to avoid a soapy film.


  • Make sure to rinse and not wash.
  • If a soapy film settles somewhere, use a rag and rinse the area to wipe off the marks.
  1. Apply a fine layer of wax after rinsing. Seal the deal with it to protect the clear exterior from any dirt.


  • Do not wax the floor mats nor the interior of your vehicle.
  • If the setting is unavailable, move on to the next step.
  1. Return the spray wand from where you took it.
  2. Dry off the floor mats of the vehicle with a towel or a rag. Put them back in the vehicle.

What Do You Need to Bring to A Car Wash Station?

A self-service car wash has you as the only person in charge. Come prepared for anything. Here are a few necessary things you should bring along.

  1. Cash guarantees the supply won’t cut off in the middle.
  2. Bring a pair of clothes. You might get soaked during the service, and a change of attire will help.
  3. Bring your foam brush if you have one. It is for your satisfaction. You might not be happy to find scratches on your vehicle if the one present has stiff bristles.
  4. Bring a vacuum cleaner if you need to clean the interior.
  5. Prepare a stock kit with all the essential tools. It must have car wax, disinfectant spray, and brushes of different kinds to help you ease the task.

Pros of Self-service Car Wash

They are typically better in terms of ease of use. Here are a few pros you should know of self-service stations.

  1. Automatic washing can never compete with hand wash. Hand-washing costs you $50-120. However, self-service wash takes only 5$. It is affordable in price.
  2. It is a means of caring for your vehicle. You know your car better than others. You can clean the places often neglected in the automatic cleaning. You decide to set pressure, time and effort involved.

Cons of Self-service Car Wash

With ease and affordability comes some discomfort too. You should be aware of what harm self-service car wash can do.

  1. Using the service requires tour time and care. It is good but sometimes becomes a nuisance. Hence, the task can become a little inconvenient at times.
  2. Your lack of knowledge in the department can damage your vehicle. You need to know your way through stations to work with the best results in the end.
  3. Many stations have poor quality water. Little tasks might become hefty if the pressure is not high or the water is unfiltered. It is advisable to ask an employee before going for a car bath.

Tools Might Help You!

We provide you with a list of good-quality tools to ease the task.

  1. Use a pre-soak to remove grime from windows and door cracks.
  2. Use a wash mitt to soap and lather your automobile. It makes your task ten times easier.
  3. Having good drying tools can be your best bet. Use polyvinyl alcohol PVA cloth. It absorbs more water and keeps the automobile scratch-free.
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