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How Long Does It Take To Wash A Car?
How long should it take to wash a car?
If you asked this question to 100 people you would get 100 different answers as everybody has their own approach to washing their car. Some people would prefer to use a car wash but I think we can discount those people on the basis that we are talking about somebody who cares about their car and how it looks after the wash and for their paintwork during the length of their ownership.
A car wash process is personal to somebody who really enjoys caring for their car and there are plenty of people who do take the time on a weekly basis to do this to differing levels of finish. Obviously, a show car going to an event will get much more attention than a vehicle driven daily as a work vehicle. Our namesake, Slim, would spend weeks getting one of his classic show cars ready for an event, every nut and bolt and every surface would be cleaned fastidiously in preparation to impress the judges.
I think for the purposes of this article it is better to assume a daily driven vehicle, looked after, to a high standard, cared for by somebody who likes their car to look better than it did when in the showroom. As usual this is only our opinion, there is no 'wrong or right' other than what you choose to do to achieve the look that makes you smile when behind the wheel.
Making life a lot easier now, are the excellent coatings like CARPRO CQUARTZ that can be applied to your painted surfaces. These will help to reduce weekly wash times drastically by making it difficult for dirt to stick to the surface and easier to remove when going through the wash process. Taking the time to apply coatings yourself will save a lot of money and help to speed up your weekly maintenance wash. We have customers who say they don’t like the idea of a coating as it removes the enjoyment of waxing their vehicle. Many find the wax process therapeutic and a time to zone out. No worries if this is you, a compatible quick detailer can be applied over the coatings after washing and this just helps to keep on protecting the coating and its extreme hydrophobicity adding to the look and feel of the shine.
So, back to the ultimate question of “how long should it take to wash your car?” This will depend on the individual and how far they want to go in the time they have. A car that has been coated even with a hand wax will be protected from daily road grime, so a good snow foam such as CARPRO Lift or Koch Chemie Gsf will take off most of the surface dirt. It is always necessary to use a wheel cleaner like CARPRO IronX to help remove any brake dust that has adhered to the rim using a soft wheel brush will help to remove any stubborn dirt and get right into the brake calipers. This will also help to get behind the rim of the wheel if you're not removing the wheel assuming this wash is about speed more than a show car. These two processes should take about 10-15 minutes from applying the foam to letting it dwell on the vehicle and working on the wheels.
Once the snow foam has been removed, using CARPRO Reset or another suitable car wash shampoo and the two bucket method, wash the car a panel at a time rinsing the wash mitt after each panel to remove any dirt and to prevent this scratching your painted surface. Work in a straight line, don’t swirl your wash mitt around and around. Once all panels have been completed, spray off with the pressure washer. This whole process should take 10-15 minutes.
If in a hurry, you could dry the car at this stage using a soft fluffy drying towel such as the CARPRO Fat Boa and in another 5-10 minutes you have washed your car. As with the wash mitt, it is best to dry the vehicle in straight lines not swirling it about. However, we wouldn’t usually stop here unless short for time. The use of a drying aid such as CARPRO HydrO2 Lite or Koch Chemie ProtectorWax adds more hydrophobic qualities and makes the drying process easier as once applied to the surface of the vehicle you can see it chasing water away. After application all over, this should be rinsed off with water and then dried using your choice of drying towel. Adding this process will make the drying stage a full 10 minutes from start of application to a dry vehicle. Another way to speed up the drying process would be to invest in a Metrovac Master Blaster, using warm air it will blow away the water and chase it out of shuts and those places it pools and dribbles out of later to leave water spots. (They double up as a great pet dryer too!)
Again, you could stop now but opening up all the doors, boot, and bonnet and cleaning around the shuts with an APC (All Purpose Cleaner) will only take an additional 5 minutes. Whilst everything is open or working on this area the use of a glass cleaner would again only add another 5 minutes to the total wash time and clean glass looks great.
In summary, what we describe has taken maybe 50 minutes - allowing time to get product in and out of the garage. A decent maintenance wash process on a well maintained car can easily take under an hour of your weekend!