Basically there are 5 options:
1. You can leave your car as it is, i.e. not wash it at all. That way the paint maintains it's thickness. Once the factory preservation is used up, water no longer 'pearls' off and the paint-job becomes dull. If this doesn't bother you, you can leave it that way. A more serious problem are aggressive substances which are allowed to remain on the paint surface, e.g., certain bird-droppings. These can chemically dig themselves in, the result can be permanent damage to the paint work.
2. You can choose the good old hand-washing, indeed, only if it is permitted in the region. In this case you can use either a high-pressure cleaner or two buckets, one for the dirty, used water and one for the cleansed sponge, which of course, you have carefully chosen and from experience with your last car, know that it won't leave any circular streaks. It goes without saying, that the dirty water should often be replaced with clean water.
3. Due to the fact that increased amounts of pollutant and possibly also oily substances are emitted into the environment, the best place to wash your car is a do-it-yourself area where there are oil-traps and perhaps even water recovery equipment. Here they have all the necessary equipment at hand, like e.g., large vacuum cleaners, in addition you can also have a clear conscience afterwards. Important tip: don't direct the hard, hot water-jet too near to the rubber parts, e.g., the tyres.
4. Apart from the 20% who do the job themselves, every sixth car owner prefers to be served, even when paying they remain in their cars and allow themselves and their cars to be pulled through the car-wash. This is not really suitable for owners of convertibles with a soft-top, otherwise, it's unbeatably fast and with special textile brushes they are gentle on the paintwork.
5. Perhaps you belong to the largest group with 30%, who go to the filling station where the washing bays have been converted, there you leave your car and the brushes work their way around the stationary vehicle. The amount of time it takes is similar to the drive-through and aferwards you have the chance of a little exercise by wiping away the remaining droplets and vacuuming the interior.
Statistically seen, every motor car in Germany, is washed approx. 10 times a year, however, you can bet your bottom Dollar that this amount varies greatly. This is why we see so many shining, black cars driving around. One can see right away that these objects are dearly loved by their owners. By the way, the amount of affection can also be measured in the amount of time and effort that is spent on the car after the car-wash has finished it's job. On the one hand, there are companies which offer extensive 'Car-Valet' service, whereby other drivers simply wait for the lights to turn green, then drive off...
Car-washes have been around for a long time, in Germany since the 1960's and in the USA since the 1940's. As far back as 1914 manual car-washes were created, what's more, on a production line basis, similar to that which Henry Ford had just invented for the manufacturing of his cars. The cars were however, not placed one behind the other but in a circle where they were given, one after the other, all the attention that is connected with car-care.
Very soon they started thinking about the automation of these services. The early, stationary set-ups, with sprinklers and brushes, was replaced by a transporting system, in the beginning they were still pulled by leather belts which were fastened to the bumpers. In addition, air for the drying was created by fans powered by a small car engine. 05/11