Which of the 6 Types of Car Washes is Best for You?

Which of the 6 Types of Car Washes is Best for You?

Once in a while, you will have your car splattered in mud, dirt, fingerprints, bird droppings, salt and so on. We understand how important it is to keep your prized possession sparkling clean and the effort you have to go through to just to keep it that way from day to day. This could mean washing the car yourself or simply or using a Sydney car wash service.

For those living at home, performing the basic hand wash on the driveway may be enough. But not everyone is comfortable converting their driveway into a car wash pit and more importantly, nobody has the time or energy to spare for this. For the apartment residents, you may not even have a car wash bay facility or the space to cater for a car wash, which means a car wash service is a likely option.

Whether you reside in a house or apartment, having the car wash done is a must. But before you go ahead with that, here is everything you need to know about all the different types of car wash services out there. This article will be showing you some types of car wash services and also help you with how to find the “best car wash near me” whenever you search.

At Home Car Wash - DIY

car wash at home


Even though there are different types of car wash Sydney services, the at-home car wash is the most affordable among them all. It involves washing your car by yourself on your driveway, or better yet, if your garage size permits, in your garage undercover. However, as much as this type of service is one of the most affordable options, it requires a lot of time and also labor-intensive. Also, you need to ensure that you are well equipped with the right products and technique. One of the most common culprits for scratches on a vehicle is due to improper car washing technique. For example, washing the car with a sponge was once good practice in the good old days, but now it is highly recommended to use a microfibre wash mitt, which significantly reduces the likelihood of scratching the car than a sponge, which tends to collect dust particles quite easily. But if you know your stuff and have enough time to spare, then it is definitely worth it.

Generally, at-home car wash service involves rinsing all dirt and mud from the surface of the car; washing it with water and pH neutral car wash shampoo; using a microfibre towel cloth to dry it, and then applying a good-quality protective wax on it, then following through with a basic vacuum.

However, if you are the type that loves to wash their car at home but do not have the necessary tools and supplies to do so, you might need to consider going to a self-service car wash. There, you will have access to all you need to wash your car yourself. One of the biggest concerns of this method however, is that you may subject your car to heavy scratching and marring. How? Well, if the car previous to yours was heavily soiled and they used the exact same brush you are using to clean their car, chances are, the brush is no longer contaminant free. Using a brush that has been cross-contaminated to wash your car is like using sand paper and that’s how scratching occurs.


  • Affordable
  • No need to travel anywhere
  • Wash it to your standard


  • Labour-Intensive
  • Time-Consuming
  • Need to purchase the equipment and supplies
  • Must know the right technique

Self-Service Car Wash

DIY car wash

Do you love cleaning your car but don’t have the space, supplies and professional cleaning equipment to do the job? A self-service car wash might just be the best option for you. Here, you are doing the cleaning job yourself but only paying a service fee to use their equipment. It is a great option for those who love to have control over the process of having their car clean in order to do a thorough job.

You won’t need to bother about buying or storing supplies. All you need to do is to just drive in and park your car, spray with a powerful water stream, wash with soapy water, rinse it and then dry it. After that, you can apply protective car wax or polish as needed. But of course, the products tend to be quite economical and of a cheaper quality. Needless to say, incomparable to the quality of goods used in car detailing.

However, using this option means you are still paying to clean your car when you are actually doing all the work yourself – very labour intensive. A great cheap option, but it is common practice to ‘beat the clock’ since you are paying for time at these DIY car wash places and often waiting in line. Rush the job and you could rush yourself in to an expensive mistake ie marring and scratching. As mentioned previously, reusing the same brush as the previous owner can be a risky decision to make. Not checking the brush for contaminants prior to use and then quickly performing an ‘express wash’ could spell a disaster for you. Sure enough if you have a 4WD that is regularly driven off-road on to dirt tracks or Sydney beaches and that cleanliness is all that you are looking for, this may be a great option. But for those who have invested quite a bit of time and money in to their car, it could pose a risky situation with all the potential contamination.


  • Affordable – only pay for the time and product you need
  • No need to purchase the equipment and supplies
  • Can be performed quickly


  • Labour-Intensive
  • Cross-contamination: reusing dirty brushes and equipment.
  • Low-quality economical products
  • Limited services: only basic wash and vacuum
  • Highly susceptible to scratches when rushed
  • Must drive here and wait in line

Local Hand Wash Cafe

car wash cafe

This is more like a mixture of both at home and self-service car wash. While it also involves having your car washed by hand for the best cleaning ever, this time, you will not be doing it yourself – great!

It’s a reasonable deal to consider in a situation where you just don’t have the time to do it yourself and have at least two hours to burn. Even though you are not performing the wash, you still need to travel, fight through traffic, wait in line at the car wash and then finally have your car wash completed.

But at the end of the day, the local car wash café is still a business, operated by high rental costs, salary fees and pretty much high ongoing overhead costs. So what you most often receive is a hand car wash using very economical products and performed quite hastily to get as many cars through the day to make up for these high costs. So yes, you can achieve the comfort of not having to do the wash yourself, but it may not be up to the same standard that you would have done yourself considering how quickly they are washed.

If you are in Sydney or staying around, opting for car wash Sydney may be an option, but please do remember to ask if they have insurance to ensure that your car is in safe hands. As most often, the employees may be hired as cheap labour with very little experience, but you never know, you may find a real gem out there! Although many may claim to offer car detailing services, they are more a car wash than a car detail. If you are looking for specialised services such as paint correction and protection, a detailer would be the preferred choice.


  • Price is affordable, but not the cheapest
  • No need to purchase the equipment and supplies
  • Can offer better care than the Automatic Car Washes
  • Don’t have to wash the car yourself
  • More services available than Auto & DIY Car Washes


  • Most often a rushed job due to high overhead costs, which is why you see them commonly promote an express 5-minute wash.
  • Tends to use low-quality economical products
  • Must drive and wait in line: time consuming
  • Must check if they’re insured for safe practice
  • Could be hiring non-experienced workers

Mobile Car Wash and Detailing

graphene coating professional

Don’t have time, always busy with life, but still want a professional car wash? Well good for you, you can request a car detailing professional to come to your home and wash your car to sparkling new. Mobile car wash services is a pretty new concept, but it’s already making huge waves all over Sydney. It combines the benefits of time and quality together, it’s clever car care convenience.

In addition to the convenience – since you will barely have to leave your house, and high quality of course, a mobile car wash will clean both the exterior and interior of your car. If you are looking for a spotless car, inside out, and yet want to save time and effort, mobile car wash services might just be the best thing you’ve heard today. Unlike all the other options, a car wash and car detailing professional would have more tools and supplies than any of the options listed, meaning they are well equipped to perform specialised services beyond your typical car wash eg. clay bar paint decontamination, buffing out scratches, adding car paint protectionheadlight restoration, removing overspray and the list goes on.

But bear at the back of your mind that this option would cost the most amongst of them all. But, if you are someone who values their time and energy for the more important things in life such as family, friends or simply down time, which is also very important, then this is hands-down the best option. 


  • High quality products, safe and professional washing methods
  • Highly experienced and can offer extensive car care advice
  • Convenient & time-saving – they come to you 
  • Can provide additional and specialised services for tricky situations
  • Fully equipped with advanced tools


  • Most expensive option of them all

Automatic In-Bay Car Wash

automatic car wash

This is no doubt the quickest means of getting your car washed. Asides washing your car at home, automated in-bay car wash service is the cheapest. It is a very convenient option and because of that, it is increasingly becoming a very common car wash option. You can find it in most petrol stations today.

Here, you will drive your car to an unattended terminal for a car wash service. Then you purchase the service and put your car into neutral and pulled through a conveyor, much like a machine. The car wash moves back and forth using brushes, hoses, and blow dryers to clean your car. You won’t have to do anything; just wait and watch your car cleaned automatically in a matter of few minutes.

However, as quick and convenient this option may be, it doesn’t offer thorough cleaning and often comes with a pretty high risk of causing damages to your car’s paint job. So if you care so much about the appearance and quality of your car, you may need to stay away from this type of car wash whenever you are searching for “car wash near me.”


  • The fastest option
  • Very cheap and affordable
  • Semi-convenient: You don’t have to wash, but still need to wait in line and drive to a specific location


  • Very basic, limited service availability
  • Limited reach, one size fits all concept (areas may be missed) – no human attention to detail
  • Risk of cross-contamination with other previous dirty vehicles = scratch prone
  • Tends to use low quality products

Tunnel Washes

car wash tunnel

Tunnel wash is very similar to the automated in-bay car wash. The only difference is that in a tunnel car wash, your car will be moved through a tunnel on a conveyor belt. Strategically positioned in the tunnel are different cleaning agents to do the job.

While the first part sprays cleaning chemicals on the car, the second part has rollers and cloths that uses friction to clean the car. And the third part which is the last part has a high-pressure water hose that sprays water to remove any remaining chemicals off the car.

Compared to an automated in-bay car wash, a tunnel car wash provides more thorough cleaning with each section specializing in a particular function. Although this may alleviate some of the cross contamination that occurs in an automatic-car wash, the brushes can still be exposed to contamination and cause damage.


One of the fastest options

Very cheap and affordable

Semi-convenient: You don’t have to wash, but still need to wait in line and drive to a specific location

Tends to offer more extra services than the automatic car wash


Very basic, limited service availability

Limited reach, one size fits all concept (areas may be missed) – no human attention to detail

Risk of cross-contamination with other previous dirty vehicles = scratch prone

Tends to use low quality products

Sydney Mobile Car Wash Schmicko

How to Find the Best Car Wash in Sydney

What is next on the line is knowing how to choose the best car wash your car deserves. While there are so many car washes scattered all over Sydney, not all of them can do a quality job for you. While some of them don’t have the supplies and equipment, some lack the experience to give you an awesome car wash service that you need – there is always a trade off.

Knew like you just bought it. The coating is able to do all of these by making your car more resilient and pretty easier to clean. Below are some major reasons you should consider ceramic coatings for your car.

But you can’t know a good car wash by simply driving past one or checking through their adverts, a big reason why many search their car detailing Sydney jobs, usually start with Schmicko. That is the reason it’s important that you carry out research before you choose one.

#1:Check their website

Does the website look presentable and professional? First impressions count and you want to ensure that your vehicle is being handled by a legitimate business. Perhaps check their packages to see what particular services they can offer and whether there is a perfect package for you. Don't pay for extra things that you just don't need. When you search for like 'Car Detailing Sydney' does their website appear at the top? If so, it means they are very popular and common with the locals due to heavy traffic and most likely, more bookings - a great sign of trustworthiness and reliability.

#2: Check their reviews and ratings

Listen to the customers. What do they have to say about their business? Are there testimonials or recent car detailing reviews? Better yet, do they have any ratings across Google, Yelp, True Local and so on? Don't also just rely on the score rating out of 5 stars, identify how many reviews have been submitted for consistency and validity. 4.5 out of 5 stars is not the same for a business that has only 50 reviews compared to one with at least 200.

#3: Ask questions and ask friends and family

Ask family and friends if they have heard of the business before, what can they say about the business? If they're unable to help, maybe get in contact with their customer service team and fire away your questions.

#4: Look for images - before and after photos

Are there images of the recent work, particularly before and after transformations? See if the business is registered on Google and check for uploaded images or check on Youtube for videos. It's always reassuring to see a Detailer regularly post fresh content whether it'd be blogging, images, videos, guides and so on, it just means that they are serious about what they do. If they can make time to help strangers out there with car care advice, I am sure they would provide the time and care your car deserves.

The Bottom Line

As you can see there are a number of options to having your car washed, cleaned and detailed, but there are of course trade-offs for each alternative. For safe, premium results we always recommend a mobile car wash and car detailing service as it ticks all the boxes in terms of quality, convenience and professionalism. It may cost more than your average local car wash cafe or automatic Shell petrol station car wash, but it definitely is the best option for your car. Not only does it provide your car long lasting protection and maintenance, it highly reduces the likelihood of scratches from taking place, of which we know can costs thousands to fix. When you have narrowed down your options to a few car detailers, best that you have a look at their car detailing reviews to find your ideal option. Also a good idea to ask yourself, do they have fresh job ads online? Why? Because this shows they are always actively looking to bolster their team with amazing talent – start with a simple car detailing jobs Melbourne search to see if their website pops up.

Don’t want to worry about the details and would rather a professional do it just for you, at your home? Then Schmicko Mobile Car Wash & Detailing can help you no issues. Have a boat sitting at your home? Well, we also offer Boat Detailing Sydney packages as a convenient mobile boat cleaning service too – book online or call today!

schmicko car detailing

Protect Your Car Professionally

At Schmicko, we offer ceramic coating and car paint protection services all over Sydney. We apply our german-engineered coatings to provide you with the ultimate gloss and protection for your vehicle. Of course, it is ideal to have your coating installed by one our experienced professionals for the best results. Much of the detail comes in to the preparation, such as machine buffing to ensure that we can minimize any surface blemishes as much as possible.

Car Mould Removal Sydney Service

 Car Care Advice For The Everyday Driver & Enthusiast

As a seasoned author on our team, Chester also known as ‘Gadget’, for his love for all things mechanical, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, particularly when it comes to automotive topics.

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