Paradise Car Wash--how do I use it?



Hear me out, because I just used a regular car wash for the first time last weekend. (First-time car owner.) But sometimes I drive past this place called Paradise Car Wash and it looks like they have multiple outdoor vacuums. I’m always driving by when I see it, but it looks like people just pull up, insert so many quarters and use the vacuum to clean out their car for a certain amount of time. I guess maybe that’s what the “detail” part of their title is…

I thought I’d ask on here before I called them. The most specific question I can think of asking when I call is “are those yellow pipes that look like vacuums part of your services, too?”


We have an inexpensive car wash that includes free vacuums, $7 or so. Maybe simpler would be to ask do you have vacuums, and how much do they cost, then oh are those the yellow hoses?


Yeah if it has a coin dispenser on it, it is to be used by customers. Either before or after a car wash depending on where they are located, or skip the car wash entirely. Sometimes a full service car wash where you sit in the lounge while your car is being cleaned will have the vacs for employee use only. They tend to be more powerful than your home shop vac but then they don’t have the attachments either like a thin nozzle for tight spaces. Plus those hoses are pretty big and bulky but better than nothing depending on who used it before.


The car wash may be one of those combination full service ( with detailing service ) and self service ( person uses spray wand ). Why not just stop and ask the place ?


Yup - you got it … those are self-serve, coin-operated vacuum cleaners. There will be instructions on them as to how many quarters you need for how many minutes (or they may take a credit card). They have wide hoses to help prevent clogging.

“I guess maybe that’s what the “detail” part of their title is…”

Detailing is additional work performed by humans :wink: Some places have “express” detailing which is done “while you wait” where an employee will, for example, vacuum all of the interior (floors, seats, floor mats, etc.); clean all interior windows; clean all interior surfaces (back window ledge, front dashboard / windshield area), and dashboard itself, as well as cupholders, etc. – may, or may not apply a cleaner/protectant like Armor All*.

While-you-wait detailing (if available) will typically take 10-15 minutes, depending on staffing, and the number of customers. Tipping the detailers a few dollars is appreciated (if there are 2 people working on your car and you don’t have smaller bills, you can tip one and ask him to share it :wink:

Other facilities may offer detailing but will ask you to leave your car … (maybe for a hour… don’t know). While yet “full detailing” is offered at some facilities – which is definitely a “drop off and pick up later” scenario, and some/many offer appointments. “Full detailing” includes everything mentioned above, and can include exterior hand-waxing, wheel cover cleaning, and polish, tire cleaning, interior fabric cleaning, floor mat cleaning, protective coatings as needed, some will paint the rear window ledge if it’s become faded, or marked. The trunk is also vacuumed and all interior surfaces are cleaned. The dashboard area receives particular attention, with all surfaces being cleaned and perhaps protected (waxed)… it is not unusual for the Q-tips to come out at his point to clean the surfaces of the air vents and other hard-to-get-to dust collectors :wink:

Most, if not all facilities offering detailing have a menu (which may also be on their website) offering different “levels” of services, – the old “Bronze”, “Silver” “Gold” “Platinum” :wink: depending on what you want to be done, and wanna pay.

If you’re going for one of the more involved detailing options, plan ahead and take out any extra stuff you may have in the car, trunk, glovebox, before you go :wink:

A car just seems to perform and run better that’s just been detailed! :wink: :wink:

*some car washes have vending machines that dispense single-use quantities of Armor All, and other products for self-serve “detail cleaning”.

*Also what Bing and Volvo_V70 said while I was typing :wink:


They most likely have a web site, try that.


That reminds me of when my car was sideswiped a few months back, while it was legally parked, and I was away at a meeting

After I got my insurance involved . . . the other guy left a note, which my insurance contacted, and he fessed up . . . I took my car to a body shop that I always “wanted” to try out. I put that in parentheses because I’d rather my car didn’t get hit in the first place.

Anyways, I was informed that the body shop had different levels of cleaning/detailing service . . . . same levels you mentioned, btw . . . and since I was an auto club member, I would receive one of the middle levels at no extra charge. And I was asked if I wanted to upgrade.


Not worth reading but brought it to mind anyway. I took my 86 Riv to one of those full service places in the winter once and they refused to wash it because the rear end was hanging too low and they were afraid it would get caught on their pipes on the floor. It had the automatic air shocks to adjust the level and I hadn’t figured out what the problem was yet. Figured out I had hit a chunk of ice/snow and it knocked that little plastic arm off the sensor in back so there was nothing to tell the compressor to pump the shocks up. Once I figured it out it was a two minute fix but it still miffed me that they wouldn’t wash my car and it was a long time before I went back.


I don’t know if this is what you’re talking about but here near where I live are two “Self Serve” car washes. They have an area where you use a wand to spray water with or without soap and they have a large brush that has soap & water running through it that you can use for scrubbing.

There are also separate stations where there are vacuum cleaners that you can use. The wash station and vacuum station accept tokens that you have to buy in a machine with paper bills and then insert into the control panel at your station. The more tokens you use, the more time you get.


We have those diy’er car washes in San Jose, as described by @Joe_Guy above . They had them in Colorado too, when I lived there. One of my co-workers actually owned one as his part time business. If you ever needed to borrow a quarter to buy a candy bar, he was the person to see :slight_smile: He had so many quarters he didn’t know what to do with them all, so he invented a quarter counting machine which he manufactured and sold to other car wash owners. What I learned from all that, there’s a lot of money to be made in the car washing business. If anybody out there is unemployed, that’s one place to start your own business.

The diy’er car washes in Colorado, they started out at 25 cents for 3 minutes of spraying with a pressure wand. It costs a lot more now of course. I used the Colorado ones all the time after I bought my truck, after each winter snow storm, to wash the road salt off. The wand came in very handy for gaining cleaning access to my truck’s wheel well area. I doubt my truck would still be on the road now if I didn’t do that. I usually used the pay by the minute vacuum cleaners too.

The coin operated vacuum cleaners are a really handy way of cleaning the car’s interior OP, so suggest to give it a try. It’s a lot easier job somehow to use those rather than drag out the shop vac and do it in your driveway. I think it’s b/c they’re bolted to the ground and don’t move around bumping into things like the diy’er driveway ones do.


Yowza! I just looked at a couple of car wash detailing packages, (including Paradise). Prices have soared at the place I go to since my last visit! :expressionless:

The takeaway is that many of the extra services I mentioned are part of a “car wash bronze-silver-platinum” plan, instead of the “detailing plans” so if, for example, you wanted interior vacuum (seats and floors) and all windows cleaned, and dashboard “dusted” that would be $16.99 at Paradise vs. $9.99 for their regular exterior wash. Extra services, like cleaning floor mats, are available.


We have a Paradise Car Wash location where I live. They’re one of our vendors where I work. I’m not too impressed with them. They’re expensive, and they have near constant turnover of their employees. If I wasn’t spending my employer’s money, I’d never go there. I’d much rather go to one of the many self-service car washes in my area, spending less and doing a better and more thorough job.