What questions to ask when buying a used car

Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

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What questions to ask when buying a used carIt’s estimated that a new car loses 11 percent of its value once it’s driven off the lot. For many, that makes buying a used car worth doing the homework.

Start by asking some basic questions, especially when you’re buying from a private party. The answers can help you determine whether it’s worth a trip to take a closer look. Any strange answers should put you on guard.

8 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

1. “How many miles has it been driven?”
If the vehicle was driven more than 20,000 miles per year or less than 5,000, ask why. Long highway commutes are easier on a vehicle than a lot of short trips or ‘stop-and-go’ driving. Still, take any claim with a grain of salt. Low mileage is nice, but is no guarantee of gentle care.

2. “How is it equipped?”
Whether they’re listed in the ad or not, ask about key features: trans­mission type; A/C; antilock brakes; air bags; sound system; power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors; cruise control; sunroof; upholstery material; and so forth.

3. “What is the car’s condition?”
Start with this broad question and see where the seller takes it. He or she could bring up something you wouldn’t have thought to ask about.

4. “How about the body and interior?”
If these areas weren’t covered in the discussion above, ask about them specifically.

5. “Has it been in an accident?”
If yes, ask about the extent of the damage, the cost of repairs, and the shop that did the work. Don’t worry too much about minor scrapes, but think twice about a car that has been in a serious crash.

6. “Do you have service records?”
You want a car that has been well cared for. It should have had maintenance performed at regular intervals manufacturer-specified intervals. If the owner claims to have done the maintenance but can’t produce any receipts for parts, be skeptical. Ask for receipts for any new muffler, brakes, tires, or other “wear” parts that have been replaced.

7. “Has the car been recalled?”
Ask if any safety-recall work was performed or, more important, still needs to be done. Dealerships keep records of that. Additionally, perform your own research. Search online for issues affecting the vehicle you are interested in buying.

8. “Why are you selling the car?”
Look for a plausible explanation rather than an interesting story. If the answer sounds evasive, be wary.

If you’re looking for tips on buying a used car, check out this helpful infographic. It includes 11 more questions to ask when buying a used car and a used car checklist to help you inspect a car for the first time.

giving the gift of clean

Giving The Gift of Clean

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giving the gift of cleanDo you know someone who just LOVES their vehicle?? With Valley Car Wash’s Toke Notes, giving the gift of clean has never been easier! The program offers substantial discounts for any customer or company that purchases quantities of toke notes for our touch free and soft touch automatic washes.

Toke Notes are paper wash passes that are inserted like a dollar bill into the Auto Cashier. The Toke Notes have a value of $12 (perfect for our 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

Keep some for yourself or share with friends and family! 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! You’ll love the convenience. They’ll love the gift. Purchase one today.

For additional information or to purchase Toke Notes, please call us @ 1-888-293-4746 or email us at info@valleycarwash.com.

how to drive in the snow

Winter Driving Tips: How to Drive in the Snow

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how to drive in the snowMore than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 are killed on snowy, slushy or icy pavement every winter. It is no wonder, then, that drivers are concerned about how to drive in the snow. The Car Care Council assembled a few crucial points to remember while braving snow-covered roads, and if you follow these tips, you might even look forward to cold weather driving!

Slow, Turn, Go!

A car’s three major capabilities are accelerating, turning and braking. When drivers are able to combine the three capabilities into smooth actions, vehicles are far easier to control. For example, if you’re approaching a sharp turn on a snowy road: first, gently apply the brakes in advance of the turn. After taking your foot off the brake, coast through the corner while turning the wheel. Only after you’ve exited the turn and straightened the steering wheel, gently accelerate. “As easy as that sounds, it’s really hard for most people to put into practice,” says Mark Cox, Director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School.

Limit Your Speed and Think Ahead

Excessive speed is one of the most common reasons why drivers lose control in the snow. Simply slowing down will give you enough wiggle room to correct your course in case your vehicle loses control. “It takes 4 to 10 times longer to stop in ice and snow,” explains Cox. “Adjust your speed to the conditions, but also remember that going too slow can be just as problematic as going too fast.”

Know How To Correct Your Steering

Should you start to slide… don’t panic! A proper response will ensure that car control is regained. If the vehicle oversteers (i.e., the back end swings out), BSR, Inc. recommends accelerating lightly in order to transfer weight to the rear and increase traction. Conversely, if the car understeers (i.e., slides forward without turning), BSR recommends lifting off the gas and applying gentle pressure to the brakes. In all situations, if you look where you want to go, your hands will follow your eyes and steer away from danger.

Become Familiar with Your Car’s Handling Dynamics

Weight distribution, suspension and drivetrain setups (like front-, rear- or all-wheel drive) affects how your car reacts to adverse conditions, so becoming familiar with your car’s handling dynamics will prepare you for the unexpected. If you can’t attend a driving school and learn about vehicle dynamics from the pros, carefully explore your car’s limits in a safe area.

Keep Your Car Maintained

A reliable car can help avoid a world of complications in winter weather. Make sure your tire pressure hasn’t dipped with the drop in temperature and your vehicle will be easier to control as a result. Install winter wiper blades in order to maximize visibility, and test your battery to make sure it can handle the challenges of cold weather cranking. Take care of your car, and it will take care of you.

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Tips to Help Boost your Fuel Economy

By | Car Maintenance, Uncategorized

Keeping our vehicles looking nice is just part of the appropriate maintenance. Although, cosmetic care can be just as important as internal, there are useful tips to help boost your fuel economy. Watching for the right signs your car may be putting off, safe driving patterns, and general upkeep all play a part in making your vehicle as energy efficient as it can be. There are a few easy steps that we can all incorporate into our daily routines for a bigger return on our investment.

Fueleconomy.gov provided a great list of gas mileage tips that can help you reduce the amount of gas you use. How does your routine car maintenance and checklist ad up to what they are suggesting?

Tips to Help Boost your Fuel Economy


Drive more efficiently

Keep your car in shape

Plan & combining trips

Choose a more efficient vehicle


Emergency Car Kits

By | Emergency, Uncategorized

Emergency car kitsEmergency car kits to keep in your vehicle, we should all have them but do we? An article shared by bankrate.com said it well “The ugly truth is that vehicle breakdowns do happen and they don’t always strike in a busy, well-lighted, cloudless, warm spot with flawless cell phone reception and a tow truck close at hand. A roadside emergency kit can ease the pain and reduce the hassle of such breakdowns.”

Although it may not be at the top of our daily to-do list, it’s always smart to be prepared for any emergency. Having a simple checklist like the one provided below can make having the essentials an easier task to tackle.

A few of the recommend items to have on hand:

    • First-aid kit
    • Fire Extinguisher
    • Reflective warning triangles
    • Charger for your cell phone
    • Tire gauge
    • Jumper cables
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Gloves
    • Rags
    • Duct tape
    • Tow strap
    • Multipurpose utility tool
    • Cat litter
    • Non-perishable snacks
    • Zip-top bags
    • Bottle water
    • Blanket
    • Small shovel
    • Maps

For more recommendations on what to have in your emergency car kit click here

How to Wash Tinted Car Windows

By | Car Maintenance, Uncategorized

Tinting our car windows has increasingly become more popular. With a wide variety of variations in tint darkness, colors, effects, and more, the customization possibilities are endless and make it hard to resist. After investing time and money into creating the perfect look for our vehicles, quality care comes hand in hand. Everyone has their own car washing routine that has proven to satisfy their needs. We’ve already discussed the benefits, pros, and cons of comparing home washing to professional, soft cloth vs. touchless, and how to care to the extra special classic cars. That being said it’s all relatively safe for handling the tint on your windows. If applied professionally, window tint should withstand all the elements.


There are a few tips to keep in mind to provide the best care when washing your tinted windows. 

  • Stay away from any window cleaner that contains Ammonia. Ammonia has the tendency to turn your tint film purple in color. Ammonia is typically used to remove tint from windows so it will break it down over time. 
  • Avoid scrubbing near the edges, around your windows. Scrubbing too hard near the edge can cause tearing that will quickly spread over usual wear and tear of your window going up and down. 


Our top of the line equipment and washing agents provide a amazing clean while also being safe for any car detailing you have on your vehicle and wish to last.

Old car of mechanic

Don’t Get A Wash Without The Rinse

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Don’t get a wash without the rinse. 

In this car insurance commercial from StateFarm, car wash customers are furious when they find out that the car wash they paid for didn’t include the rinse.

It’s quite comical, really. But, there’s also a valuable message behind it. You should always understand what you’re paying for so that you get the right deal.

When you come to a Valley Car Wash facility, you don’t have to worry about getting short-changed. We offer the best equipment and cleanest facilities in the area. Plus, all of our facilities are designed to offer our customers a choice of different washing equipment, self-serve, touch free or soft touch equipment.

At Valley Car Wash, you get the wash AND the rinse.

kids car wash

Life Lessons from a Kids Car Wash

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kids car washAh, there’s nothing like summer memories from your childhood. You may remember spending hours in the summertime working a lemonade stand, walking dogs, mowing lawns or even holding a kids car wash just to get a little extra cash in your pocket.

Every child needs to be taught the value of hard work, so if your child enjoys being outside in the sun, getting wet, and playing with the hose, encouraging your child to run a kid’s car wash can be an excellent choice of a warm weather activity. Plus, there are countless life lessons to learn from running a kids car wash:

  • Good work ethic. Encouraging children to start a business such as washing cars during the warm weather months can give them a sense of worth and pride in a job well done.
  • Meeting new people. Your child can use the time spent outside meeting new neighbors and hopefully making some new friends along the way!
  • How to earn and save money. Working at a car wash won’t bring in the “big bucks”, but it’s sure to teach your children valuable lessons about earning and saving money.

Take a little horse-play, a lot of sudsy soap, more fun, and add a garden-hose, sponge and a few terry-towels, and voila . . . you have great car washing experience. When kids are taught the lessons of good work ethic and money management skills, they can not only apply their skills towards building a business for themselves, but they can also apply the skills they have learned to their personal lives. And that’s a win for everyone!

The History of the Car Wash

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automatic car wash brushes (shallow DOF) Today’s automatic car wash systems are incredibly convenient, but they weren't always that way. Let’s take a look at the history of the car wash.

Today’s automatic car wash systems are incredibly convenient, but they weren’t always that way. Let’s take a look at the history of the car wash.

1914 – The First Car Washes

In 1914, Detroit debuted the “Automated Laundry”, a hand wash assembly line where attendants soaped, rinsed and dried cars as they were pushed through a tunnel manually. Customers had to leave their cars all day in order to get them washed!

1928 – The Arrival of Automatic Car Washes

In 1928, the Studebaker brothers in Detroit spawned the automatic car wash. These engineers envisioned a mechanism that would pull the cars through each cleaning stage. By 1946, the first ever semiautomatic car wash debuted in Detroit. Conveyors with moving tracks were installed and cars were pulled through a tunnel with an overhead water sprinkler, manually operated brushes and a blower for drying.

1960s-70s – Self-Serve Car Washes

In the 1960s and 1970s, brushes with plastic bristles were phased out and replaced with sponges that were gentle to the car’s surface. Self-serve car washes allowed drivers to use car spray guns and brushes to clean their own cars. They could use their own shampooers, foam treatments, fragrances, tire cleaners, spot removers and spot free rinses.

The Transition to Express

In the past couple of decades, people were beginning to lose interest in full-service conveyor washes. The transition to express car washes was made in an effort to serve more people, clean cars quicker and charge customers less money.

Today’s High Tech Washes

Nowadays, car washes are incredibly efficient.  They treat the water used in each wash with reclamation systems that recycles it for future use.  They also have high tech computer controls and high pressure nozzles that preserve water. The International Carwash Association estimates that over 20,000 car washes now exist across the world.

What’s Next?

The “waterless” car wash which utilizes a number of car cleaning solvents and sprays have come to market in recent years and use even less water than traditional detergents. The first car wash with no hoses, no spray nozzles and no water called Eco Green Auto Clean opened last year in Redwood City, California. It appears the next big car wash innovation will be the one that saves the most water, or doesn’t use any at all!

Do Professional Car Washes Conserve Water?

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Do Professional Car Washes Conserve Water? earth day

In the article 13 Ways to Make Earth Day Everyday, Huffington Post mentions how a professional car wash is more efficient with water consumption than washing your car yourself. Furthermore, if everyone in the U.S. who washes their car themselves took just one visit to the car wash, we could save nearly 8.7 billion gallons of water.

How Do Professional Car Washes Conserve Water?

Most newer car wash facilities are able to conserve more water because of their fairly sophisticated water reclamation systems. These systems enable the car wash to re-use water many times over, allowing the car wash to only use fresh water when absolutely necessary (such as a final rinse) to ensure a clean, dry car.

In other words, while many gallons of water are being used during the course of an average car wash, only 9 to 15 gallons of fresh water is introduced during any given wash cycle. That is at least a 65% reduction in water usage over home washing!

Water Conservation Is Only the Beginning

Besides conserving water, washing your car at the local professional car wash also preserves the environment! As many of you may know, washing your car at home or in a parking lot introduces harmful cleaning chemicals and phosphates into the storm drain and therefore rivers and streams, hurting the plants and animal life in that ecosystem. In contrast, professional car washes empty excess waste into the sewer where it belongs.

Washing the car is certainly not as essential as a toilet or shower, but if you are looking for ways to reduce water, look no further than your local Valley Car Wash.