Where is the Best Car Wash Near Me with the Cheapest Prices?

Are you doing an internet search for ‘car wash near me’? The zip code locator will bring up all the car washes in your current area. Scan the reviews and check the prices before you head out to be sure you are going to the best car wash with the cheapest prices for the type of wash you need. Want to DIY? The supplies list gives you everything necessary to get the job done.

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car wash near me washing car wheel with spray wand

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Did you do a search for Car Wash Near Me so you can do a quick run to get an underbody wash from the mud that was packed on from a recent rain?

Looking for a full-service car wash that is affordable and won’t break the bank or throw your budget out of balance?

Maybe you have family or friends coming into town unexpectedly and need a quick way to get your car cleaned before they arrive.

Whether you’re looking for a location close to you that offers free vacuums, an amazing detail service department, or just an exterior wash, you will find the best car wash with the cheapest prices using the Car Wash Near Me locator!

NOTE: To use the car wash near me locators enter your zip code in the labeled box then click the button that says ‘Find Car Wash Near Me.’ If the map doesn’t open in another window, be sure your browser popups are not blocked. 

Car Wash Near Me

Use the free zip code search below to find the cheapest and best self-service car washes in your area.

Use the free zip code search below to find the best automated drive-through car washes in your area. These are typically found at gas stations, although this is not always the case.

Use the free zip code search below to find the cheapest and best automobile detailing business in your area.

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Types of Car Washes

If you’re one of the thousands of people that line up at the car wash every few weeks, you probably have your favorite type of car wash that you return to for each visit.

You might even be one of the obsessive clean car people that wash their car several times a week, or at least a minimum of once a week.

Whether you need an underbody wash to remove built-up debris, a quick exterior rinse, a team that does a great job at detailing the interior, or free vacuums to thoroughly clean your floors and center console, you can find exactly what you’re looking for by choosing the right type of business.

1. Self-service bay

Drive-through car bay where you do the work yourself, but use the business’ soap, water, brushes, and vacuum.

If you don’t want water spots left behind, you will need to bring your own cloths since they are not supplied.

If you also want to clean the interior with more than a vacuum, you will need to bring those supplies as well.

Examples might be glass cleaner for the windows and mirror, a surface cleaner for the dash, console, doors, etc., and leather or fabric cleaner for the seats.

2. In-bay automatic soft touch and no touch

I call this a drive-through car wash because you do nothing but sit in your vehicle while it goes through the process.

This type begins when you stop at the beginning of a conveyor belt, put the vehicle in neutral, then let the belt move your forward through each step of the wash cycle.

Water, soap, and other additives you choose to include are dispensed by machines as you move through the way bay.

Automated soft-touch

automated soft touch best car wash near meA soft-touch set-up uses cloth to wash the car.

This type of automated car wash offers a thorough cleaning job because the fabric is actually coming in contact with the vehicle and scrubbing it while water and soap are sprayed on using high pressure.

If you’re washing your car at a location that uses brushes, they will likely get to every area of the automobile for an extremely thorough clean as well as effectively remove dust and pollen.

However, the force of the brushes may harm side-view mirrors or antennas.

Also, if the car is washed with thick cloth strips, they should be completely rinsed before the cloth comes into contact with the vehicle or dirt can scratch the paint as they slide across the exterior.

Automated touchless or no-touch

automated soft-touch best car wash near meA touchless wash uses only high-pressure water and soap without foam.

Since there are no cloth or brushes used in no-touch wash bays, there is less of a risk to scratch the paint.

However, since nothing comes in direct contact with the vehicle, you can expect a less effective cleaning job and spots of dirt left to clean later.

This type of car wash uses less water and more cleaning agents in an attempt to keep customers happy with a satisfactory job.

The flip side of the no-touch wash is using a higher level of cleaning agents has the potential to damage your paint.

3. Full-service clean or detailing service

A business that can clean cars inside and out for customers via handwashing, machine washing, or both, is a full-service car wash.

Customers typically make an appointment, take their car to the location, and leave it for several hours or the day while it is cleaned.

Depending on the level of service or package you purchase, the staff may apply a coat of wax to the exterior, shine the tire rims with a special product, add air freshener, shampoo the trunk, floorboard carpet, etc., shine the floor mats, blow out the air vents, or other detailed cleaning services.

It is also common to find a business that offers a mobile detailing service where they come to your home to complete the job in a timely manner.

Keep in mind you will pay more for the additional convenience of them coming to you.

4. DIY

DIY washing car in driveway with childThere’s always the option to do it yourself!

If you choose this option, it is important to use the correct supplies to ensure you don’t damage your paint.

For example, it isn’t wise to take your bottle of shampoo or dish soap out to the driveway and start lathering down your vehicle.

Flagstop Car Wash also makes a case for the reasons you shouldn’t choose this option.

Their research shows you actually use more water and add potentially dangerous pollutants to your local sewer system.

5. DIY a different way

Waterless Car Wash

A waterless car wash is a mess-free experience

Using a waterless car wash kit with a high-lubricity spray solution completely soaks the car’s panel then you wipe away dirt or road grime to a clean sheen using a clean towel.

For a little bit more, you can opt for a waterless car detailing kit and not have to purchase any cleaning accessories separately.

Rinseless Car Wash

The other mess-free way to DIY is to use a rinseless car wash kit.

The only water used is to mix the cleaning solution and you’re ready to get to work!

Simply soak a soft microfiber cloth in the solution and clean one section at a time until your vehicle is clean. Use a clean, plush microfiber towel to polish dry.

Car Wash Services

Different locations will have varying options and levels of service packages.

The car washes in your area may offer one or some of these amenities:

  • Unlimited wash club or unlimited washes with no long-term commitment
  • Free vacuums
  • Monthly membership with additional unlimited plans
  • Members-only sales
  • Vending machines with air freshener, interior cleaner, etc.
  • Free air hose for interior cleaning
  • Public restroom
  • Floor mat cleaner machine

QUICK WIN TIP

Some automated car washes have a team of two or three employees waiting for vehicles to get through the wash bay, and as the conveyor belt pushes you by they are using cloths to quickly dry and shine your automobile.

Plan to pay a little more at this type of car wash because the attendants should be tipped a couple of dollars.

Is it cheaper to wash your car at home or go to a car wash?

car wash cleaning team detailing car illustrated image

This depends on your location, and what supplies you need to purchase to do the job yourself.

Prices vary in different areas in the USA, with the average automated car wash running between $5-$10 for a basic clean which washes the undercarriage, wheels, and tires.

Add-on services such as wax, Rain-x, vinyl protect solution, wheel polish, etc., cost extra, typically between $2-$4 each.

If you have your vehicle cleaned or detailed, the average cost will range from $50 – $300 or more, depending on how dirty the interior is and how detailed the job is.

If you wash your automobile often enough that it has its own category in your budget, you may want to join an unlimited wash club or monthly membership to save money each month.

How often should you wash your car?

Every 2-4 weeks provides a good maintenance schedule to protect the paint and keep it in top shape so you can get the most money for it when you’re ready to get rid of it.

FUN FACTS

  • 66% of Americans wash their cars approximately 13 times a year, which is typically once or twice a month.
  • It takes approximately 38 gallons of water to wash one car.
  • Small business owners operate 90% of the car wash businesses because it is one of the simplest business models for start-ups.
  • The fall season is the slowest time of the year for car washes, with only 18% of their annual business happening during that time. [source]

12 Must-Have Supplies to Wash Your Car at Home (the traditional way)

If you opt to scrub your car at home, having access to the appropriate cleaning supplies is essential to getting the job done safely.

Before you get started, gather up the following items:

  • Buckets (2)
  • Car soap
  • Hose nozzle
  • Grit guard
  • Washing mitt
  • Wheel brush
  • Tire shine
  • Wheel wax
  • Microfiber towels
  • Car dash duster
  • Glass cleaner
  • Vacuum

car wash cleaning kit illustated1. Buckets

Use one for the suds and the other to rinse your washing mitt.

I personally prefer an oblong or squarish mop bucket for ease of use.

2. Car soap

All soap is not created equal, and when it comes to caring for your automobile you need a car shampoo product specifically designed to clean the exterior paint without damaging it.

Car enthusiasts love this cleaning product and give it the highest ratings.

3. Hose nozzle

A fire hose nozzle or power wand will give you a jet spray to get all the grime and dirt washed off and provide a good rinse.

A yard or garden water hose just can’t get the job done efficiently.

Be sure to read the fine print to make sure it is suitable to wash cars so you don’t destroy your paint.

4. Grit guard

A grit guard is a tiny plastic screen that goes in your soap bucket.

Scrub your sponge on the plastic to remove grit and grime that may scratch your automobile the next time you use the same sponge.

If a bucket is specifically designed for car washing, it will likely include a grit guard.

However, you can also purchase one and attach add it yourself, which is the least expensive.

5. Washing mitt

You don’t want to be as frugal on this item since it will be rubbing all against your vehicle paint.

A good washing mitt will be soft and hold a large amount of soap so it easily glides across the wash surface.

6. Wheel brush

A wheel and rim brush will get inside the crevices and pull out the built-up dirt and dust.

Without this item, it is near impossible to get your rims completely clean.

7. Tire shine

This isn’t a must-have product, but it gives the final touch to look like your automobile just received a professional cleaning job.

A good tire shine product will also add a layer of protection for daily wear and tear.

8. Car wax

Wax provides a clean shine, and a good product will add a layer of protection to the paint.

9. Microfiber Towels

My favorite microfiber towels work great if you already have them to use in the house. Otherwise, there are options available to get towels specifically designed for cars.

10. Car dash duster

I keep a small car dash duster in my glove box and use it frequently. A quick swipe when I am emptying trash before I go inside the house is quick and easy maintenance.

11. Glass cleaner

An anti-glare window cleaner specifically designed for automobile windows is the best choice.

12. Vacuum

You want a vacuum with good suction since there is likely a lot of pebbles and other ground-in dirt on the floorboard.

When you need to replace your house vacuum, look for one that will double as a car vacuum to save money.

Otherwise, there are specific auto vacuums available. This review list of garage and car vacuums provides the details you need to make the best financial choice.

Not sure how to do a great job cleaning your auto? Motor Authority has a detailed step-by-step list you will find helpful.

Final thoughts

You can find a nearby car wash using the zip code locator.

If you want to ensure you go to a location with good service, read the reviews before you head out.

Depending on what job you need to be done, make sure to read the fine print or give the business a call if you have any questions.

Last, each type of wash will have a varying cost, so check your budget to make sure what you decide fits into your spending goals.

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