Wash & Dry

How to Use a Drive through Car Wash for the First Time?

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to use a drive through car wash

Cleaning your car at the convenience of your home is an economical option. However, with your busy schedule, a drive through car wash can be the ideal option for you to tidy up your vehicle.

A drive through car wash offers various services, including high-quality vacuums, superb mat cleaning, and automated washing. The best part is that you can clean your car with minimal intervention.

Learn how to use a drive through car wash because the process only takes a few minutes. Thus, you can spend more time on much more important tasks.

Steps to Use a Car Wash for the First Time


It is not difficult to use an automatic car wash, but having some guides and knowing the basic steps would help you maximize your time and the services you can get. Read further to explore the steps.

Step 1: Locate the Drive Thru Car Wash Ahead of Time

Going out to clean your car without knowing where to go is like shooting at the moon. To have some direction, you can search in advance to locate the drive through car wash near you.

Searching for establishments is no longer difficult nowadays because of technological advancement. The internet is a powerful tool – you can use the keyword “car wash drive thru near me” in Google, and you will get some suggestions.

Also, way.com is a great place to start.

If you are not into gadgets and technology, you can take a look around your area to spot the best auto car wash, a day before you plan to clean your vehicle. There must be a drive thru car wash gas station around the corner or at convenience stores.

Step 2: Proceed to the Payment Station


When you have decided where to go, proceed to the payment section to choose the services you want. This step is also when you will pay for your chosen services.

It will help if you note that car washes offer additional services such as the undercarriage and engine washing. If you need to avail of them, ensure to advise the cashier or the car wash attendant before you proceed to the next step.

  • If your car is fairly new, I suggest you go with a brushless or a touchless car wash.
  • A brushless wash ensures that the thin layer of car paint is protected.

Step 3: Close Doors and Windows


The next step is to ensure your car is well-prepared for the wash:

  • Roll up all the windows and properly close all car doors.
  • Check the sunroof if your car has one because the water can easily leak through if it is not properly closed.

Failure to do this step will result in a lot of inconveniences. It will be another taxing job to clean and dry it out and might require you to spend outside your budget.

  • Additionally, you must turn off the automatic wipers. These wipers automatically function when they detect water and can result in damage if it happens during the automatic car washing process.
  • Finally, check your brakes, too.

Step 4: Proceed to the Car Wash Bay

Drive thru car washes usually have signs, arrows, and instructions on how to proceed or where to go next. Generally, you need to align your car with the track system that guides the car throughout the washing process.

Part of this step is to set the gear of your car depending on its transmission type. Set automatic cars in park mode and manual cars in neutral mode.

Step 5: Let the Cleaning Begin


After you position the car, stay inside the car and let the automatic cleaning process begin. When you go through a car wash, it will take roughly 5 minutes to finish.

As you wait inside the car, do some spot checks to determine if the water is not getting into your car. If you notice some water leaking through the car’s windows or door, ensure to close them properly.

If you have kids or pets inside the car during the cleaning process, ensure to lock the windows and the doors to avoid accidentally opening them. Kids will always be kids; they might get curious about what is happening and roll up the window to find out.

Step 6: Off You Go!


After the washing, you can safely exit the car wash. Drive thru car washes usually have light signals that give you the cue to exit.

You can also briefly park to check for any damage. Discuss a solution with the carwash manager if you notice any obvious damage you suspect happened during the car wash.


Although it is not difficult, learning how to use a drive through car wash is important. Learning the steps ahead of time saves you from worries and inconveniences during your carwash day.

What are you waiting for? Start looking for the nearest drive-through car wash in your area to experience it.

5/5 - (2 votes)

Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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