Before you run through the local car wash this week, you might want to know exactly what it could cost you to take your prized possession through that large scale, automated washing machine.
For years I was absolutely too cheap to pay to wash my car. I had never taken it through a car wash since I had two perfectly good hands to wash it myself. But, eventually my schedule got the best of me and I broke down. I finally took my car to a car wash for the first time.
As a car wash virgin, I knew nothing about drive through car washes. I simply drove to the car wash nearest my home and waited in line for my turn to “come clean.” Little did I know it would net me a bill about sixty times the small price I paid for a simple exterior wash.
After successfully navigating the tire guides, I put the car in park and watched all the machinery around me come alive. I have to say, it was a little frightening and exciting at the same time. To see all the movement, hear the water spray and see the rainbow colors of foam soap cover my car was like being in a car land amusement park.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the novelty to come crashing down on me – starting with a large, foam covered mechanical bar that dropped down to snap the emblem off the hood of my car. And not only did the emblem snap off – but, it also chipped the paint on the front of the hood as it made its way to the ground.
In all, I spent $4.00 for the cash wash, $48.00 for a new emblem and $196.00 to repair the chipped paint on the hood. Needless to say, I wasn’t a very happy camper.
So, what was my transgression? I failed to understand one very important gospel truth: Not all car washes are created equal. It seems that I should have taken my car to a “touch free” car wash. Who knew? Apparently, the touch free mechanical beast never makes contact with your car and, therefore, it can’t be damaged.
Will I take my car to another car wash someday? Probably – but, I’ll be looking for a “touch free” version and hope it’s a much kinder, gentler animal than the beast that ravaged me on my first encounter.