With the sunshine out, the lines at the car wash today were as long as the list of options.
So, we wondered is a $16 premium car wash really better that a basic $5 wash?
We talked to two auto experts who have no stake in car washes -- Martin Benade, owner of Artisan Bodyworks in Cleveland, and Simon Daher, President of Simon's Automotive in Cleveland Heights.
We showed them pricing from several different car washes with multiple locations throughout Northeast Ohio. All offered three or four packages ranging from basic up to premium.
The first level is typically just a wash and dry, which both experts recommend.
"Especially in the winter," says Benade. "Car washes will help keep salt off, make the car last longer."
Next up, the mid-range packages typically include undercarriage cleaning and a basic wax. Both experts say that having the underside of your car cleaned is the most important part.
"The underbody spray helps remove salt and corrosion," says Daher. "If you rust out your subframe you could have thousands of dollars in replacement costs."
Above that are the ultimate or premium packages, typically with rain repellent and a wheel shine treatment.
"That's all cosmetics," says Benade. "It won't make it last longer."
However, Daher warns against the shiny tire treatments.
"The rubber is a petroleum based product and when you put petroleum on it, that could actually soften the rubber and cause it to deteriorate," Daher said.
Ultimately, both of our experts said they would pay for a middle-grade package, being sure that it included the undercarriage/under body cleaning.
"The cheapest one that includes washing the bottom of the car," Benade recommends.
And that's verified.
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