You have my word for it, we neither have an advertising contract with any car-wash company nor with any car-valet service, we are however, convinced that their services are necessary. We are least impressed by those who hand-wash their cars, particularly when it's done in the driveway at home, which by the way, is nearly always not permitted (see video).
It's just like brushing your teeth, one can overdo it. Scrubbing for minutes on end with a hard brush, does nothing for dental hygiene, it does however cost you tooth-substance. As far as the paintwork is concerned, it's the uneven removal and also the development of grooves (scoring). By the way, intensive scrubbing is also not approved of in the so-called Clean-Parks, particularly then when it causes long waiting periods.
At the moment, at my favourite car wash, it costs € 5,80. Indeed, this price cannot be seen from the outside. If you're not careful, you'll be paying more for the confusing add-on services. Additional rim-cleaning can however be very sensible, after long periods of brake-dust build-up.
Now, before you accuse me of being lazy, I would like to refer you to a page, on which the normal paint-thickness is mentioned. Of one thing you can be certain, every time you polish the paintwork, a certain amount of paint is removed. You can see this by having a look at your polishing cloth.
So, it really does make sense, to carry out this procedure as gently as possible. Should unavoidable minute grooves develop, they should be kept as even as possible, thus not disrupting the optical impression. This is almost impossible when washing by hand, it doesn't matter how much foam you use.
Give it some thought, in today car washes, there are also particularly gentle (textile) roller-brushes. Apart from that, by the time you've finished feeding coins into the machines at the self-service Clean-Park, it's going to have cost you almost the same as the automatic car wash, the difference is, you're sitting in you car and in addition, it only takes a fraction of the time. If you want to do something for your blood-circulation, you can e.g., vacuum the interior afterwards.
Perhaps not with every washing, but every now and then you might deal with the areas that the automatic car wash can't reach, e.g., where there are double-seals. Although today's rubber is of a much better quality than it used to be, I still rub the door-seals with good old talcum powder.
As far as the rubber-care is concerned, we are certainly not quite up to date. However, at this point let's stay with the work done by the professionals. Admittedly, for the likes of us, the work that they do is actually only done in the event of the car being sold or after a mishap has occurred. Their work is sometimes valuable because e.g., juices or milk that have been split, should be dealt with straight away or one should have it cleaned up.
By the way, this is also valid for the paintwork. Bird-droppings which have been left for any length of time, are aggressive and can attack the paintwork. However, let's stay with the professionals, who of course, have a great deal of experience with the suitable cleaning products for every problem, solutions in fact, that most laymen don't even know about.
The first time I was really able to admire the work of the professionals, was when they worked on a heavy smoker's car. From the day it was bought as a new car it had been maltreated. Spending any amount of time in the car, was practically only possible with the sun-roof open. Nonetheless, after their treatment, the car gave the impression of having always been well cared for.
The expert starts off with the high-gloss sealing of the windows, which gives them a 'Lotus-' effect, where the water simply rolls off the glass. He then devotes himself intensively to the outside cleaning done before, indeed, he uses products which are nowhere nearly as aggressive as those used by the average layman. He can sometimes even get under the embellishments, finding dirt in places where the layman only gets at by chance.
If the professional does have to apply special cleaning products, he will probably use masking tape to cover any plastic parts, to avoid leaving them unsightly. Not only does he vacuum the seating material and the foot-mats in the interior, he also has the means to do a deep-cleaning. He has the right polishing machines and knows how to use them on the paintwork without risk.
As a rule, the person doing the restoration also has the possibility to remove scratches from the paintwork. Should the scratches be too deep, a partial repainting of vertical surfaces is also possible. There is also a clever method of repairing dents, quite often, even without having to respray.
The amount of various instruments and devices is almost endless. If, e.g., the rim-edges have been ground against the pavement, damaged aluminium can often be replaced by welding some back on. This only makes sense in the case of expensive wheel-rims or if the rim is no longer available. Another interesting aspect, is the darning of holes in the seats, this however, depends a little on the obsession of the craftsman. 06/14