The Island Car Wash on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is not a plain-vanilla car wash. I can say this with some authority as I regularly take my automobile to a car wash, usually once (sometimes twice) a day every day of the week, every week of the year. I like a clean car. I am the first to admit to an obsession; it may even constitute a psychological aberration of some description in the New England Journal of Medicine. But considering the inconsequential nature of the crime I am not about to renounce the fetish.
Over the past 39 years I have owned about 18 automobiles. I have a thing about cars. And I take care of them. I have tried car washes of almost every description. Car washes, like just about anything else, come in graduated varieties extending from the very basic to the most luxurious. Granted there is not a great deal of breadth between the lowest and the highest rendition of a car wash. Yet even within the minimal parameters the differences are both significant and desirable.
The primary distinction among car washes is whether you wash the car or whether you watch the car being washed. The latter experience might include a bunch of hysterical high school students washing your car on a Saturday morning as part of a fund raiser. This however is not something to which I have ever been privy. In fact it is the last place on earth I would care to watch my car being washed. The risk of unintentional damage – not to mention the likelihood of an entirely unsatisfactory execution – is too much for me to bear notwithstanding the object of the charity. Accordingly the primary distinction I intended to draw was between a self-help manual car wash and an automatic car wash with or without additional manual labour by others.
The self-help manual car washes are generally not worth the effort. The best that can be said for them is that they remove obvious layers of dirt (assuming there is no need for the application of elbow grease – or else you’re bound to use a mop rigged with a water nozzle). The manual washes do however serve an especially useful purpose for people who live in a snowbound climate where road salt and slush are common. In that circumstance, justing getting rid of some of the film is an improvement though it is customarily an ephemeral one as the condition is destined to recur within minutes after leaving the wash (unless the temperature is so cold that everything just freezes including the remnant drips of water on the car). Almost by definition, the manual car washes do not usually involve cleaning the interior of the car. This is so even with those automatic car washes which do not have that added level of attention from staff after the car exterior is washed.
Before leaving the generic automatic car wash it is important to note that they are not all created equally. Many of the automatic washes end leaving residue of suds or other oily layer and frequently the lower end automatic car washes have singularly poor dryers.
This brings us at last to the thoroughbred strain of car wash – the automatic car wash with staff. Of course even at this rarefied level there are staff and there are staff. While this category of car wash is normally passed off as having little or no differences of any distinction, this is clearly not so and undoubtedly constitutes an insult to the likes of the Island Car Wash on Hilton Head Island, but more on that in a moment. The Island Car Wash on Hilton Head Island has the added benefit of being located on a secluded spread of well maintained real estate which is so arranged as to suggest a spa-like atmosphere for its clientele. In addition to WiFi, a clean water closet and a comfortable interior sitting area (adjacent to an entertaining stockpile of accessory automobile provisions for sale), there is an outside sitting area with parklike benches. The sweeping drives leading in and out of the complex add to the sophistication of the adventure. The sine qua non is however the dedication and expertise of the staff. From beginning to end they bring new meaning to generosity, diligence and detail. After watching them perform one can only privately wonder why in the world anyone would ever consider the fiction of spending a perfectly good Saturday morning washing one’s own car no matter how attached one might be to the thing! The episode at Island Car Wash is nonpareil if it includes the hand wax polishing! All in all it is easily accounted as one of life’s small pleasures to have your car detailed at Island Car Wash!