Taking good care of your car means keeping it clean. To keep your car in the best possible shape, you should wash it regularly. Washing gets dirt and debris out of the frame and keeps the paint job looking spiffy, which will help maintain its value. However, there’s always the debate whether it is better to go through the automatic car wash, or hand wash it yourself.

Many individuals prefer to wash their own cars! But which way is better? Here are a few pros and cons when it comes to automatic vs DIY car washes.

Hand Washing Your Vehicle

There are a few reasons people prefer to wash their own cars. For one, people see it as a money saver. The other pro to DIY washing is that you can give your car the time and attention it deserves, which may lead to a more quality wash. 

On the other hand, the tools and soaps that you’ll need to wash your own car cost about the same as taking your vehicle through the automatic wash. If you’re not willing to take the time to be thorough when you wash your own car, then you may as well take it to the local car wash, where the soaps and machines will be able to properly dig dirt and debris out of crevices. 

While many individuals think that DIY washing is better for the paint job, the truth is that many store-bought soaps and sponges can actually harm the paint job. Some soaps wear away the exterior coat and paint. Scratching and scrubbing with the wrong tool can cause further damage. 

Going to an automatic wash is far more environmentally friendly than doing the job at home. The soap and dirty water traveling down the street can actually pollute the environment. Phosphates in soaps can cause extra algae to grow, which will throw off the environmental balance where you live. 

Benefits of Automatic Car Washes

The automatic car wash is created specifically to give your car a thorough but gentle wash. When you go to the car wash, you don’t have to worry that you’re ruining your paint job with hard sponges or sharp bristles. The flannel strips and the spinning sponge brushes in combination with jets shooting water will be able to help get rid of even the toughest, most stuck-on dirt and grime. Everything from the soap to the materials used is tested and safe. You can be sure that your car is getting thoroughly cleaned, especially all the nooks and crannies. 

It’s also much less time consuming to drive through a car wash than stand around scrubbing away the afternoon in your driveway. You can get your car cleaned within a matter of minutes and be on your way. 

What Should I Choose?

There’s no exact right or wrong answer when it comes to washing your vehicle by hand vs. automatic washing. That’s why at Flagstop Car Wash, several of our locations include a self-service station, so that you can wash your car whichever way is best for you! If you’re looking to hand-wash your car with the best soaps and tools, check out our locations in Chester, Chesterfield, North Chesterfield, and Colonial Heights. You can also run your car through the automatic wash at any of our locations if you want to save time and make sure you get a quality wash!

There are plenty of reasons to consistently wash your car. Weekly washes keep your vehicle looking clean and amazing. They’re also necessary to maintain your car’s long-term health. Removing debris, dust, and dirt from your frame, wheels, and the windshield will help make sure your car stays in top shape. And the best way to make sure you’re washing your car as often as necessary is to get an RVA Wash Club membership.

A Wash Club membership makes it easier and cheaper simply because you can get unlimited services whenever you want or need them. Like any membership or subscription, you’ll only pay once a month, and enjoy plenty of features that will make car maintenance simple and accessible.

Here are five reasons to consider a wash club membership.

Convenience and Accessibility

Subscription and membership plans are all the more common for tons of products. From food deliveries to service subscriptions, we love them because they make completing tasks easier. We can all admit that we put off washing the car sometimes. Having to get there and decide on services and pay seems daunting. But what if you could go anytime you need, pull through with your membership tag, and make the entire process that much easier? With a membership, you can feel free to go whenever the mood strikes.

Stay Ready for the Unexpected

Nature can sometimes take you by surprise – and leave your car looking like a mess. Between bugs, birds, dust, hail, rocks, snow, mud, or any of the other things that affect your car’s aesthetic, you want to have the ability to tackle the problem quickly. With membership and unlimited washes, you’re always ready, no matter what.

Save Money

With the RVA Wash Club membership, you can enjoy unlimited Best Washes, which includes an exterior wash, tire shine, Clearcool protectant, and wheel bright at any express wash location. Or, if you want even more services, you can take advantage of the other options at discounted prices.

Wash Multiple Cars and Save

The membership program is built to save you money, whether you own one car or several. While each car requires a subscription, you can have as many cars as you want on your account. It’s an easy way for families with multiple cars to keep track. Or, for businesses that rely on their vehicles and take them to get washed often – you no longer have to keep track of every single receipt, just your monthly membership fees.

Wash at Any Location

Flagstop Car Wash has 11 convenient locations located in and around the Richmond area. You can sign up for a RVA Wash Club membership at any of our locations, and your membership will work at all 11 of our car washes. Signing up takes minutes and you can quit anytime.

Get Great Service From Friendly Locals

Flagstop Car Wash has an A+ rating from the BBB, so you can expect excellent service from friendly staff members who are happy to answer any of your questions. Call us at 804-782-9274 if you want to know more about any of our services, treatments, or processes. Or, simply visit any of our locations and speak to our staff about becoming a member.

Keeping your car wheels maintained isn’t just about vanity, it is important to the integrity and longevity of the tires. At Flagstop Car Wash, we know all about what it takes to keep your wheels shining and functioning their best. Let’s learn about the ways Flagstop Car Wash can help you with the essential care of your wheels and tires.

Why Maintain Wheel Cleanliness?

As the wheels on your vehicle go ‘round and ‘round they are likely to take a beating from the rough surfaces they come in contact with. In addition, routine braking leads to the collection of brake dust. While this is extremely common, it isn’t something you want to accumulate over a long period of time. Brake dust is the breakdown of the pads’ and rotors’ tiny metal shavings. This dust is highly corrosive. If brake dust stays on your wheels and rims for a long time, it can eat into the rim coating. Although a good cleaning is a great idea, since you brake every time you drive, you need to be consistent with the removal of this dust so that it cannot begin a corrosion process.

Start with the Wheels

If you’re using the Flagstop Car Wash self-service wash bays, you’ll want to start with the wheels to get all of the dust and grime cleaned off prior to the car itself. Because these are bound to be the dirtiest parts of your vehicle, you want to avoid spraying grime from your wheels back onto a freshly washed car. Getting the dust and road grime off first helps prevent spreading anything to the rest of the vehicle. You will want to use a soft bristle and the appropriate cleaner for your rim type. Our professional customer service team can help recommend the appropriate cleaner for your wheel type if you aren’t sure of what you need.

Wax Those Wheels

Wax isn’t just an important step for the painted exterior of your vehicle, it can be just as important for your wheels. Wheel waxes are the only true way to clean, polish and protect in one simple step. Wax acts as a barrier to brake dust accumulation and adhesion. If using wax as recommended and as often as recommended, you will only need to clean with water between waxing times. Flagstop Car wash offers ample opportunities to get your wheels and tires clean.

Your Wheel Cleaning Experts

At Flagstop Car Wash, we want to help you get the most use out of your vehicle’s wheels. Clean wheels are more likely to operate as expected. Visit one of our eleven locations to start a cleaning routine that will ensure brake dust doesn’t erode any parts of your wheels or car exterior. Our RVA Wash Club is a great way to ensure that your car can get cleaning attention any time you need it. Check out our location directory today to see which convenient location can provide you with the services you need.

In the past, most would never think twice about taking their vehicles through a car wash. This is just something that people do. With modern technology though, it isn’t a good idea to assume that your car will be fine with an automatic car washing system. At Flagstop Car Wash, we want to ensure that you’re getting the best treatment for your vehicle so we always recommend reviewing your owner’s manual prior to using any of our full or self-service options.

If you drive one of the following, make sure to take extra caution before using any automatic car wash services. Not all vehicles are meant for a standard automatic car wash, but we offer multiple options for your needs.

8-speed Transmissions

According to the International car wash Association, vehicles like the Chrysler 200 and 300, Dodge Charger, and Jeep Grand Cherokee don’t do well going through car washes. Cars with 8-speed transmissions and push start buttons cannot ride in neutral through a car wash without possibly interfering with the automatic parking brake and rotary sensor. There can be a manual override, but it is complicated and may cause issues with the vehicle in the future.

At Flagstop, we always recommend checking with your dealer or manufacturer prior to going through the car wash.

Mercedes-Benz

Although the 2020 GLS models now have a car wash function, models prior to these have reported issues with car washes in the past. Because of the SmartKey function, you must leave the car running when going through a car wash. If you plan to turn your car off in the car wash, you won’t be able to due to the Smartkey. The manufacturer has acknowledged and addressed this issue with the newest models.

Large and Oversized Vehicles

Some vehicles simply will not fit into standard car washes. Large trucks, SUVs, and recreational vehicles or those with specialty parts like oversized tires and spoilers are most likely to not attach into the automated system. Also, vehicles with ladders, bike racks, or rear-mounted racks are also not suggested for automatic car washes.

If a standard automatic car wash isn’t an option for your vehicle, don’t fret. At Flagstop Car Wash we have options to get your vehicle clean inside and out. Our self-service option is great for washing these large or specialty cars, SUVs, and trucks. You will be provided with towels, window cleaners, and tire dressings along with detailing products like engine degreaser, triple-foam polish and spray waxes.

We are the Experts

At Flagstop Car wash, we want to give our customers the best and safest options for every type of vehicle. We have 11 convenient locations with a variety of self and full-service options. If you have a car that doesn’t do well in automatic car washes, we can help. Check out our location directory to find a car wash near you.

Keeping your vehicle’s windows clean has many benefits. Visibility is greatly reduced when windows are dirty and it increases the risk of glare. Your defroster works better with a clean window, allowing it to quickly clear off condensation or ‘fog’ that sticks more easily to a dirty windshield surface.

The proper items will make the process of window cleaning much easier especially when cleaning them yourself. The only essential items for DIY window cleaning are:

  • Automotive glass cleaner. Make sure to check the label before use, because some cleaners contain ammonia which can damage tint and seals.
  • A microfiber cloth that hasn’t been used with other cleaning solvents. The residue from other cleaners should not come into contact with your window glass. Even if you’ve washed the cloth, you could end up with a greasy, oily windshield from wax or other detailing compounds that don’t wash out.

Exterior Window Care

As you drive on busy roads a variety of residual oils can build up on the outside of your windows. The exterior is especially vulnerable to substances that can look unsightly and inhibit vision. Bugs easily stick to exterior surfaces and are especially unsightly and hazardous when they stick to mirrors and windshields.

If you notice any substance on the exterior window glass it’s important to try and remove it as soon as possible with a low pile soft clean cloth and a safe cleaning solution. The longer grime sits, the more chance it can lead to further buildup. Bird droppings are especially unsightly and the longer they are left on the glass the more difficult it will be to clean. Washing your car every time the windshield gets dirty may seem expensive and cumbersome, but the RVA Wash Club membership we offer at Flagstop Car Wash will save you time and money with unlimited exterior washes for a low monthly fee. This membership service allows you to use any location as often as you like, so you can keep contaminants like bird droppings from lingering on your windows.

When cleaning any portion of your vehicle, it’s important to remember that parking out of the direct sun will help cleaning go smoother. If a vehicle is being heated up by the strong rays of the sun it will cause cleaning fluids to dissipate before they have a chance to work. If you’re washing the entire vehicle you should wash your windshield last, as dirt from the roof will trickle down onto the exterior of the windows.

Interior Window Care

You might be surprised by how dirty the interior of a vehicle’s windows can get. Dust and dirt particles are constantly moving throughout the air in your vents and therefore can easily build up on the inside of the vehicle glass. As we carry passengers, especially children and pets, the interior of windows can really get filthy.

To thoroughly and more easily clean your interior front windshield, sit in the passenger seat. This position allows easier access to the window without your steering wheel becoming an obstacle. Spray the cleaner liberally on the windshield and wipe from top to bottom as you move across the entirety of the glass.

Keeping the exterior of your car clean also helps keep your windows clean since most dirt on the upper exterior of your vehicle will eventually find its way to your windows. Our self-service bays are a great way to keep your vehicle shiny and clean. You can also drive on through for an express wash. Flagstop offers 20 self-service car wash bays throughout the metro-Richmond area. We also proudly offer unlimited car washes with the RVA Wash Club so please stop on by or visit us online for details on this exciting option as well as our other services. Here at Flagstop Car Wash, we provide all the materials you’ll need to keep those windows smudge-free and clean all day long.

Most of our convenient locations offer vending machines with top-notch, do-it-yourself detailing products. From towels to window cleaner, we have it all and look forward to helping your car look it’s absolute best. We look forward to seeing you and your car very soon.

Keeping your car clean isn’t just a matter of aesthetics – getting your car washed intermittently will help keep it running smoothly, keep the exterior from rusting, and reduce your exposure to harmful bacteria. Many individuals aren’t sure what makes a car wash “good,” so we’ve outlined a few factors that will help you know if you’re getting a quality car wash.

Good Customer Service

First and foremost, you should always take your car to a wash that has friendly and helpful staff. They should be able to answer your questions about their car washing methods and tell you what kind of cleaners they use. They may have different packages and car washing options, and the staff should be able to explain the benefits of each one. Knowledgeable staff will treat you and your car right.

Clean and Well-Kept

One of the best ways to tell if a car wash is any good is to pull in and look at it. If it’s clean inside and out, chances are that they truly care about the quality of the service they are providing. A well-maintained car wash likely also uses good products and keeps their equipment clean. Some car washes may cheap out on service – they may reuse towels, thereby spreading dirt around, or resort to cheap cleaning solutions that damage your car’s exterior in the long run.

Uses Good Products

Not only should the staff be able to name the products and understand (at least mostly) what’s in them, but the car wash itself should employ good practices by using top-shelf products. One of the reasons many people are skeptical of car washes is that some use chemicals that will actually strip away the paint after a time. A good establishment, like Flagstop Car Wash, uses only the best to ensure their clients can upkeep their cars without worrying.

Lots of Options

Having plenty of options means that you can ensure you get the service you want. Look for car washes that have all the add-ons, but don’t pressure to get them more often than necessary. You may wish to wash your car yourself, so you’ll want to look for a place with a self-service station. Or perhaps you’re looking for a service you don’t use that often – like interior cleaning or car wax. An exemplary establishment will have all of those options available for you to choose from.

Benefits of Quality Car Washes

You can take the time to wash your car at home, if you have the time and space. Even then, there are drawbacks if you don’t use the right sponges, cleaners, or don’t dry your vehicle properly. An automatic car wash is best way to get the most bang for your buck. This simple convenience only takes 10 minutes out of your day, and extends your car’s lifetime with a little maintenance. Washing your car regularly will help keep it in shape and help you maintain it’s value if you ever want to sell it.

If you’re looking for a quality car wash, try any of Flagstop Car Wash’s 11 locations. We’re all over the Richmond, VA area. With friendly service, top-notch products, and a loyalty program that provides actual value to clients, stop by Flagstop Car Wash today and see why we’re rated one of the best in the state.

Your vehicle is an expensive asset. On top of that, most people take pride in their cars. This is why keeping them shiny and clean is important. Washing your car keeps it functioning well and keeps the paint job looking fresh. For some, taking the car through the car wash is a drag, while others have turned car washing into a hobby.

Washing your car several times a month is normal – in fact, you may even want to wash it a couple of times a week. As long as you’re washing your car properly, there’s no such thing as washing your car too much.

What Happens if You Wash Your Car Too Much?

Washing your car every week, or several times a month will not hurt the car’s mechanics or paint job. Of course, if you want to preserve your car’s sheen as long as possible, it’s important to use high-quality cleaning products that will not eat away at the paint. Flagstop Car Wash uses only the best, eco-friendly products in our washes to keep your vehicle protected with every wash.

How to Properly Wash Your Car

If you do wash your car weekly, make sure you’re doing it right. If you want to avoid damaging the car, try a professional service. Car washes always use the latest and best products that keep your car looking good. Running your car through the car wash, it’ll get the exact treatment it needs. Professional-grade cleaning agents will keep your windshield free of dirt and sap. An underbody flush keeps salt from building up on your undercarriage and wheels. Plus, the whole process is quick and easy!

If you are a DIY fan and enjoy washing your car yourself, follow these steps to make sure you get the best wash possible:

  • Use vehicle-safe soap and water. Avoid using rough sponges. If you must scrub your car, use something soft, like microfiber sponges and cloths to avoid accidentally scratching the paint or the glass on your car.
  • If you don’t have space or materials to wash your car at home, try one of our self-service car wash bays. Flagstop has everything you need from quality soap and waxes to polish your exterior, to top-notch materials to clean the inside of your car.
  • Use soft materials when drying your car after a wash.
  • Dry your car thoroughly so you don’t have water spots.
  • Be gentle when scrubbing anything sticky off your car – it’s easy to get over-enthusiastic and end up with a scratch.
  • Always use wax or some type of finish after you’re done rinsing off your car.

Take care of your car and you can avoid costly damage.

Best Car Washes in Virginia

If your car needs a thorough cleaning, try Flagstop Car Wash. We have eleven locations throughout the Richmond, Chesterfield, and tri-cities areas. With many years of experience in the business, we provide Virginia residents with all the best tools for keeping a clean vehicle. We have self-service stations, full-service washes, and even pet washing stations. We use only the highest-quality cleaning products that enhance your vehicle’s look and preserve the paint. Stop by one of our full-service or express wash locations today. If you have any questions, give us a call at 804-782-9274.

Keeping your car clean throughout the seasons is essential. It’s not just an aesthetic choice, although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the look of a spotless car. Cold weather is tough on cars, and frequent washes can help keep your car cared for and happy. Increasing your trips to the car wash during wintertime can help make sure your vehicle stays in tip-top shape, no matter what the weather is like.

Tips for Keeping a Clean Car in Winter

The cold affects the way your car runs. Salt and snow on roads can cause your frame to rust, and scraping off snow or ice often results in scratches in the paint. Keeping a clean car during the winter can help it last longer or retain its resale value. Check out these tips for maintaining your vehicle this season.

  • Wash off the salt – We can’t stress this one enough. Take your car to a local car wash to keep it spotless. All that salt and snow causes damage to your frame, suspension, undercarriage, and paint job. Flagstop Car Wash uses the best products to wash away all the calcium chloride in road salt so that it doesn’t build up on your vehicle.
  • Don’t tailgate – A good rule on the road on any day. In the winter, keep a large following distance to prevent the cars in front of you from kicking extra dust, dirt, snow, salt, and whatever else is in the streets into your car’s exterior.
  • Use rubber mats inside – Your vehicles might get water damage if you don’t take care to keep excess water out. Get some rubber mats to keep things dry.
  • Get it waxed – It’s recommended to use high-quality car wax or polymer sealant every three to four months. The extra coating will help keep dirt, dust, and grime off your car.
  • Wipe your windshield – Use a towel and cleaning products to hand-clean your windshield and windows a few times a month. This will keep grime from building up and inhibiting your visibility.
  • Protect your wheels – Salt and dirt can cake onto your wheels and mess with the mechanics. There are protective waxes and sprays available for wheels, so check with your local car wash and see what options they have.
  • Use heavy towels – Place these under the rubber mats to help absorb any excess muddy water, slush, and dirt. You can throw these in the washer every few weeks to keep things clean. Slush on the floor of the car can cause unnoticed rust and damage that’s expensive to fix.
  • Invest in mud flaps – These deflect road debris from the fender walls, keeping your car protected from the elements.
  • Inspect your car regularly – Do a check at least once a week to make sure there’s no rust on your frame. If you catch it early, you can have it taken care of before the problem gets worse.
  • Park indoors – This is not a possibility for everyone, but if you live in an area where there are regular snowstorms, you may want to consider investing in an indoor parking spot. Keeping your car away from the elements will keep it clean and running smoothly.

Find a Car Wash Near You

If you’re looking for a local car wash that you can trust to keep your vehicle in shape, visit Flagstop Car Wash. With eleven locations throughout Richmond, Chesterfield, and the tri-cities area, you always have a dependable car wash near you. At Flagstop, we take pride in our work and make sure each and every vehicle gets the best treatment possible.

While you should always keep your car clean and maintained throughout the seasons, it is especially important to wash your vehicle in the winter. Whether you live in the city or drive through the elements, salt, dirt, dust, and even dry leaves can affect the well-being of your car. It’s best not to allow dirt or salt to cake on parts of your vehicle. Normally, you should give your car a thorough wash every two weeks to a month, but in the winter, it’s best to wash it more often.

How Often Should I Wash My Car in the Winter?

The simple answer is you should wash your car every week in the winter. However, how often you wash your vehicle is also dependent on where you drive, how you store your car, the weather, and road conditions. A trip to the car wash can prevent salt from caking onto the vehicle’s body and rusting vital parts. The last thing you want is for your car to break down, or end up needing more expensive repairs to its frame because of salt deterioration in the winter.

If you live in or drive through the city, or park your car outside for most of the day and night, you should consider going to the car wash more often than you do in other seasons. Even if you live outside of the city where there is less salt (and more snow), you should still be vigilant and consider more frequent car washes during winter months. Most people living in and around the Richmond area would benefit from visiting their local car wash more often – it can prevent serious car trouble later on.

Don’t Forget to Wax This Winter

It is recommended to wax and detail your car twice a year. If you do so regularly, you’ll notice that weather conditions don’t affect your car as much. Wax has more benefits than making your car look shiny and new. It prevents corrosive substances – like salt or bird droppings – from damaging your car. A smoother exterior helps these materials slide off your car, instead of sticking to the car’s exterior.

What Salt Does to a Car

Salt on the roads keeps cars safe while driving in snowy and icy conditions. While salt can be vital when driving on snowy, icy roads by preventing drivers from sliding on slick surfaces, salt does damage vehicles after continued exposure.

The most common issue is that salt will rust your car. You’ll notice the difference immediately in cars that were not taken care of during the winter – the brown rusty spots are not easy to remove, and you may have to replace rusted parts entirely. You can rust-proof your car, but even that is not a guarantee. The best way to prevent your car from being damaged by salt is to wash it weekly.

Local Car Wash

Flagstop Car Wash has eleven convenient locations around the Central Virginia area. Our trained experts will make sure your car leaves in great condition and is ready to face harsh winter weather. We offer full-service wash locations, express automatic washes, and stations for self-service washing if you prefer to do it yourself. With an A+ rating by the BBB, expect friendly and honest customer service at every visit to our car wash locations. Stop by today and see how we can help your car stay clean this winter!

While many people know how to wash their car, the most efficient time to do so often goes unnoted. There is a common misconception that all car washes should occur around midday during the summer months, however, this is wrong and here’s why.

Why Wash Your Car

Firstly, it is important to cover the basics regarding the necessity of car washes. In a blog post published a year ago, we talked about the inevitability of car damage if you go too long without giving your car a proper wash. Rusting, damaged paint, and corrosion are just a few on the laundry list of harm that could happen if your vehicle isn’t washed for long periods of time.

Now that we’ve rehashed why adequate car care is essential, it’s time to address the best times to give your car that all-too-necessary wash!

When to Wash Your Car

If you are living in a place like Richmond where pollen attaches itself onto virtually everything you own, car washes are the best way to rid that unwanted dirt and that all too familiar plague of yellow dust particles from your car. It is important to wash during a time when it is neither too hot nor too cold. The most effective times to wash your vehicle are in either the morning, evening or during a mildly temperate overcast day, when the sun isn’t directly beating on the car. When temperatures are moderately cooler, as they tend to be during these hours, it is easier to avoid soap residue and stains. When temperatures are hot, water evaporates quicker which results in the evaporation of soapy water before a thorough rinse can wash away all the residues, leaving spots all over your vehicle. Even more so, when you wash your car under direct sunlight, it makes it more difficult to see the minute particles of dirt, dust and pollen laden on the surface of the vehicle. When you can’t see these deposits, you may subject your car to more damage if you unknowingly scrub these areas and scratch the surface of your vehicle.

In the same thread, it is best to avoid overly windy days when washing your car. There is nothing worse than cleaning off all the dirt, dust and pollen from your vehicle only to have a gust of wind pick it up and put it back on a now wet and sticky surface.

Winter Time Care

During the winter months, car care is equally as important. While pollen may not be the culprit in dirtying up your car during this season, snow, frost and ice play similar roles. When you’re washing your car during the winter, it is best to do so when the temperature is well above freezing. Similar to the summer months, washing the car during early daylight is preferable because it allows time for your car to dry before the temperature drops when the sun goes down. According to a blog post from Julia Douglas, the best way to maintain your car’s exterior in between going to the wash every two weeks is to use clean, warm water coupled with a little bit of baking soda to dissolve hardened salt during the winter months. It is important to dissolve the salt before carrying out a thorough cleaning of the car’s surface to avoid any scratching.

Now that you know when to wash your car’s exterior for the best results, stop by one of our 11 locations in the greater Richmond area for easily usable vacuums to tidy up the interior of your freshly washed vehicle!