Car Maintenance

cleaning the company car pixabay

Car Wash Tokens for Cleaning the Company Car

By | Car Maintenance

cleaning the company car pixabayMany businesses provide a company car to their employees to use. Unfortunately, when people are given anything that isn’t their own, they tend to abuse it and the privileges associated with its use. At minimum, cleaning the company car to make it “last” isn’t often a top priority.

Because these cars represent the company itself, they should always be kept clean. Here at Valley Car Wash, we’ve come up with a way for you to give your employees an ‘allowance’ for cleaning the company car without actually giving them cash. We call them Auto Car Wash Tokens, or “Toke Notes”.

Toke Notes are paper wash passes that are inserted like a dollar bill into the Auto Cashier. The toke notes can only be used at any Valley Car Wash and depending on the amount of toke notes you purchase, the savings can be up to 30% off! The Toke Notes have a value of $12 (used for the ultimate wash package) and are sold in the following increments:

  • 10: $120 Value for $108 a 10% savings
  • 20 $240 Value for $204 a 15% savings
  • 30 $360 Value for $288 a 20% savings
  • 40 $480 Value for $360 a 25% savings
  • 50 $600 Value for $420 a 30% savings

If you’d like additional information or to purchase Toke Notes, please call us @ 1-888-293-4746 or email us at info@valleycarwash.com.


Are Our Car Wash Brushes Safe On Car Finishes?

By | Car Maintenance

People LOVE their cars and rightly want to see them taken care of. Properly understanding the threats to vehicles (both cosmetic and functional) and how to head them off is key to keeping a car running and looking great for decades to come. So this brings us to the million dollar question: Are our car wash brushes safe on car finishes?

First off, car wash materials and cleaning instruments have changed with time. Before today’s technology, most car washes used more scrubbing action (brushes and friction) rather than chemicals, detergents or wash pressure. Advancements have been made in water filtration, detergent application, high pressure washing, and in the friction cleaning material in particular, leading to fewer scratches and scuffs on the vehicle’s exterior.

When you pull up to a Valley Car Wash facility, you get a choice of different washing equipment: self-serve, touch free or soft touch equipment.

Self-Serve: All Valley Car Wash locations are equipped with Self-Serve bays where you can wash your vehicle, vacuum and purchase car care vending supplies.

Touch-Free: We offer one of the industry’s best Touch Free Automatics, the Hydro Spray Rainmaker, which utilizes high pressure water and hot chemical pre-soaks to produce a clean, shiny car. Technology for the touch-free wash has come a long way; sensors can now “see” the vehicle and follow the contour of car for a more effective wash. Furthermore, the chance of car damage is greatly reduced.

Soft-Touch: For soft touch washing, we offer the Autec Soft Touch Automatic, an industry work horse that provides safe and gentle friction washing. Soft-touch bays are excellent for lifting organic matter (bird droppings, bugs, pollen, dirt, etc.) and inorganic matter (road film, hard water spots, salt, etc.) off a vehicle’s surface.

In fact, automatic car washes in general can be safer for your car’s finish than washing your car yourself. So, yes. Our car wash brushes are safe to use and the overwhelming majority of our patrons never have any issues—even after repeated washing. Come in for your wash today!

Top 4 Ways to Protect Your Car From Sun Damage

By | Car Maintenance, Summer Maintenance

Believe it or not, sun damage doesn’t happen exclusively to skin. When you leave your car in the sun for extended periods of time, the temperature inside can reach as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit, while the surface of the car’s exterior can reach much higher – up to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit! Keep reading to see the top 4 ways to protect your car from sun damage.

1. Seek the Shade

The summer’s UVC, UVA and UVB rays can wreak havoc on your paint job. Parking in a shady spot is one of the best ways to reduce sun damage to the exterior of your vehicle. Besides protecting the paint from UV rays, this can also decrease interior heat, reduce heat damage to electronics, headlights, trim and interior.

2. Wash Your Vehicle Regularly

To prevent paint damage and oxidation, you should wash your vehicle often and thoroughly. That way, you won’t have to worry as much about the dirt and residue that usually collects on your vehicle’s exterior over the summer months.

Skip the hand-washing. Visit your local Valley Car Wash to ensure that you drive away dry, as water evaporation and surface heating are disastrous side effects of washing in the sun.

3. Wax It!

Keep your vehicle waxed during the summer to create a barrier against sun damage, bug residue and dirt. Since wax reflects UV rays (rather than absorb them), you can prevent paint oxidation from ever occurring! Waxing will also prevent dirt and grit from sticking to your vehicle, which can protect your paint from pit damage.

4. Utilize Window Shades or Window Tint

They aren’t just for looks! UVA rays penetrate glass, so when you use window shades or tint, you’re actually preventing the bleaching effect the sun has on your interior surfaces and upholstery.

Despite all the elements that can affect the beauty of your car paint, you can still maintain its value with regular washing, drying and waxing. Remember that even with your car, there is nothing that tender loving care could not prevent.

See YourMechanic’s blog post for 6 more ways to protect your car from sun damage.

Summer Car Care

By | Car Maintenance, Summer Maintenance

Summer Car Care | Valley Car Wash | VA, WVIt’s officially SUMMER and although summertime is synonymous with fun and relaxation, it also means scorching temperatures, afternoon thunderstorms and greater overall wear and tear on cars due to all that increased vacation mileage. Keep reading for our tips regarding summer car care and keep your car looking good all summer long.

Wash Your Vehicle Frequently

Giving the family chariot a thorough cleaning inside and out is not just a good way to protect your investment, but it’ll make the car a nicer place to be on those long drives to vacation spots. We recommend washing your car at least once a week; less frequently if it’s garage kept and rarely driven.

A proper wash shouldn’t take that long, and it will help protect the paint of your car making it look newer for longer. Plus, the more often you care for your car’s paint, the easier it is to care for down the road.

Pro Tip: Always make sure you wash your car when it has a low surface temperature – early in the morning or early evening.

Mind Your Parking Spot

The number one risk to your paint job is the sun. This is because over time, ultra-violet rays can fade the paint. The trick to preventing this is to limit your car’s exposure whenever possible. Park in a garage, shady spot or you could even consider a car cover.

Ok, so you’ve followed our recommendation and parked in a shady spot. Now, you’ve got a whole other issue: birds. If bird droppings or bug guts get on your paint, always spray it off as soon as possible. The longer contaminants sit on paint, the faster it can damage paint.

Finally, a seemingly innocuous threat lurks in the form of sprinklers. Think you’re killing two birds with one stone by watering your lawn and washing your car parked in the driveway at the same time? Think again. The water supplied to outdoor spigots contains minerals and impurities that can leave unsightly sunspots on your car when the water dries. But, once again, a visit to your local Valley Car Wash can serve to shield your car’s paint and mitigate the damaging effects of UV rays and sunspots.

Minor efforts like the care tips discussed above help to ensure a long (and beautiful) life for your car. Sure, looks aren’t everything, but when you care about cars as much as we do—every little bit helps.

Drive safe, stay cool, and travel clean this summer!

Read: Cleaning Your Vehicle After a Trip to the Beach

Looking to save some money at the car wash? Get $2 Off Any Automatic Car Wash with our summer promo code!

washing pollen off of your vehicle

Washing Pollen Off of Your Vehicle

By | Car Maintenance, Spring Maintenance

washing pollen off of your vehicle

Its that time of year again.. Pollen season.

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent pollen from landing on your car, unless you keep it locked away in a garage or under a cover, so at some point, you’re going to have to remove it from your vehicle. Continue reading about the dangers of pollen as well as our tips for washing pollen off of your vehicle.

Pollen is something you want to remove as often as you can. While there are many types of pollen, two popular types around this time of year are flower (Morning Glorys) pollen and tree (pine) pollen. Although they may not look abrasive from a distance, all pollen is considered environmental fallout (along with acid rain, bird droppings, tree sap and decaying insects) because of its threat to material surfaces, including auto finishes.

But, pollen isn’t something that can simply be wiped off (without damaging your vehicle). This is because a single pollen grain can cling to the various pores of your paint. For this reason, simply wiping pollen off your car can cause many small scratches. For a quick and harmless solution for washing pollen off your vehicle, visit one of our touch free car washes.

Once you have your car washed at a professional car wash, you can reduce the “stickiness” of pollen by having a good wax job. But wax on or wax off, you can count on pollen coming back, again and again, until the season is over. In the meantime, get yourself a $3 car wash once a week to protect your investment.

Now that you have some knowledge, fight back against mother nature, and keep your ride looking fresh!

Hand Washing is Extremely Harmful to Automobile Finishes

By | Car Maintenance

Hand Washing is Extremely Harmful to Automobile FinishesTests conducted by the University of Texas and the Technical University of Munich set out to compare methods of washing cars and determine whether hand-washing or professional washes caused the most damage to a vehicle’s finish.

In the studies, each car was to receive the equivalent of one year’s wash stress (about 25 washes) – some cars by hand washing methods, others by automatic car wash equipment.

Ultimately, researchers found that hand washing is extremely harmful to automobile finishes in comparison to professional car washes. Read on to see what specific findings that resulted from the University of Texas and the Technical University of Munich’s research.

Key Findings

In an attempt to compare surface disturbances, researchers found that a single home hand wash on an automobile can produce scratches that penetrate as deep as 1/10 of the total thickness of the automobile’s paint. Much of this is because the average backyard hose is not able to supply enough water along with the detergent action to avoid damaging the car’s finish.

One thing we found interesting was that the most harmful method of washing cars was found to be the special “car wash” brushes that hook on to a garden hose and are purchased from local hardware stores or automotive supply dealers.

By comparison, the surfaces of the test vehicles washed with automatic car washing equipment appeared different. Compared with the hand washed surfaces, they were remarkably smooth, with markings less than .0003mm deep – the result of evenly moving and rotating cloth pads and curtains.

The universities’ comparison tests produced results that every car owner should be aware of. Wash a car by hand or by machine, in either case, it looks immaculate right after the wash. But, these sophisticated tests suggest that looks are deceiving: automatic car washing and hand washing have completely different effects on automobile paint.

Washing Your Car After It Rains

By | Car Maintenance, Spring Maintenance

Washing Your Car After It RainsMany people think that when the car sits under the rain, that the rain water will wash the dirt and salt off the car, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, rain water can cause even more damage than it helps. For this reason, we recommend always washing your car after it rains.

I’m sure we’ve all heard of Acid Rain, where rain collects pollutants and contaminants from the air as it falls. Even after a short rainfall, rainwater and pollutants collect on your vehicle. The rain water eventually evaporates, leaving a thin layer of pollutants that can damage your car’s finish. The longer you leave the pollutants and contamination on your vehicle’s finish, the more damage it will inflict on your cars paint finish.

For these reasons, it is often a good idea to head straight to the car wash after it rains and right now, you can receive $2 off any automatic car wash at any of our Stephens City, Winchester, Inwood or Berkeley Springs locations! Check it out!

How to Wash a Car with Matte Paint

By | Car Maintenance

A majority of the cars on the road today have some variation of a shiny, reflective paint finish, but recently, car enthusiasts and manufacturers alike have been turning to a different type of finish in order to stand out: matte paints.

Standing Out From the Crowd: Matte Paint

Matte paint is quite the opposite of the typical gloss paints that use a clear-coat finish and appear to be “shiny”. A matte finish uses a different coating that defuses light, providing its unique “flat” finish.

According to Automobile Magazine, BMW first introduced its Frozen matte paints for various special editions of the M3, and recently made Frozen Bronze Metallic a $3500 option on the new 6 Series Gran Coupe. Hyundai’s new Veloster Turbo can be optioned with matte gray paint for $1000.

However, the expensive price tag also means that these matte paint surfaces are more expensive to maintain and repair. Consumer Reports recently gave this product it’s “diva award” due to its cumbersome care requirements:

If a paint color/finish is more expensive to buy, chances are it’s more expensive to maintain and repair… The diva award in this category goes to the matte finish… Matte is also an expensive finish to doctor if it gets dinged. Even a small repair area might require fixing an entire car panel…” (Full article here.)

General Matte Maintenance

The key point is to avoid scratching or damaging the paint surface. Whereas small scratches in a typical gloss finish can be corrected with waxes or other methods, damage to a matte paint job is usually permanent.

For this reason, BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz all recommend against automatic car washes. According to them, owners should wash by hand every time (Full article here). Although many matte cars have been successfully washed in professional car washes, we always recommend reviewing your owner’s manual prior to making any car washing decisions.

All in all, matte paint finishes aren’t any less durable than regular gloss finishes, but they simply need more attention to keep them looking new. That could dissuade some people from spending a few thousand dollars on the unique paint, unless of course they’ve got a strong desire to stand out from the crowd.



April Showers Bring.. Bugs, Pollen, and Tree Sap?!

By | Car Maintenance, Spring Maintenance

Young spring field with sprouts of corn. april showers bring may flowers, pollen, bugs, car wash

Spring is here and we’re all thankful for the warmer weather, but April is only DAYS away, bringing those infamous April showers! But that doesn’t mean it is time to ease up on your exterior car maintenance.

While you may think that rain will clean your car perfectly fine, it leaves behind corrosive acid rain, which can permanently damage your exterior paint. For more information, read the EPA’s article Effects of Acid Rain on Automobile Coatings.

“Environmental fallout”—a term widely used in the auto and coatings industries—refers to damage caused by air pollution (e.g., acid rain), decaying insects, bird droppings, pollen, and tree sap–all of which come with warmer, Spring weather.

These exterior assaults can all cause serious damage to the paint and surface of your vehicle. Leave your car parked in the hot sun, and the damage will be intensified.

Regular washing is one of the keys to keeping these acidic and unsightly blemishes from digging into your cars finish. Don’t give them the chance to damage your paint, because there is no going back.

Let Valley Car Wash affordably maintain your car’s value for you. Visit one of our 4 locations today!

how often should you wash your car

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

By | Car Maintenance, Uncategorized

how often should you wash your carWashing a vehicle is very important, and we usually see three types of “car washers”.

You have the obsessive washers and those that wait until their car is covered in dirt, pollen and grime to wash it.

And somewhere in the middle is the average person like you.

In between obsessive washing and simply not caring is that place where you can keep your car in top shape, not jut aesthetically but from a resale and value standpoint.


How Often Should You Wash Your Car, Then?

This “sweet spot” is definitely where you want to be. But how often do you have to wash your car to be there? The answer is: it depends.

I know, not exactly what you wanted to hear.. but let me tell you why. There are MANY things that contribute to how dirty your car gets, and how quickly it collects grime. Here are some examples:

  • Where you live- do you live in a heavily wooded area or near a beach? Salty air car wreak havoc on your vehicle’s undercarriage and paint job!
  • Where you park- do you usually park under a tree or an electrical wire where birds frequently sit? Even tree sap can damage your paint!
  • Where you drive- do you do a lot of city driving? Air pollution can leave chemical residue that eats away at your paint.

..And the list goes on! You must keep dust, dirt and grime from adhering itself to your paint and possibly damaging your paint. Schmidt’s Collision & Glass recommends washing your vehicle at least once a week to prevent any dirt buildup and paint damage.

A good rule of thumb is that if you live in an area where your car is free of salty air and sand, and if you don’t have to contend with tree sap, bird droppings and dead bugs, you can wash your car about once a month and still keep it in good shape. Lots of city driving? You may want to visit your local car wash once a week!

Ultimately, a couple of times a month is a good bet to ensure that you’re not waiting too long to get rid of harmful chemicals, residues, salt, sand, tar, grease and grime. Visit your local Valley Car Wash to start preserving your vehicle’s value.