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Old 04-07-2018, 09:29 PM   #1
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Self-Wash/Service Car Wash Places

Okay, this will probably sound pretty dumb to some of you. Please keep the eye rolling to a minimum.

The only kind of self-wash I've used is me at home with a scrub brush on a pole and a ladder sort of situation. I plan to bring all that with me on this upcoming 2 month trip as no way will I be able to tolerate seeing the trailer filthy dirty for that long. I'm not going to be able to wash it at every place I'm planning on staying at, so figured I'd use those self-wash car wash places.

However, I'm clueless about them. I'm a sit in the car and let it go through the wash automatically sort of gal. Until we got the trailer.

So, some questions:

Will the water pressure be okay to use on the softer fiberglass (as opposed to cars/trucks)?

Will it be okay to bring out my scrub brush, bucket and soap or do I have to use theirs?

I will have a ladder that I can access most of the roof with, so I don't have any questions about access.

I know I have to pay for them. Quarters or debit/credit cards? Pay by the minute (holy cow, is that gonna be expensive!) or how much water I'm using (again, probably expensive).

To use Tulsa again as an example (as in my thread on the AllStays app), I did a google search for "self service car washes" and most of what came up are the automatic type. Not gonna work. About the only self service one I found was completely worthless in terms of getting your vehicle clean.

So, do I need to use different words for a search? Yeah, more eye rolling here, but maybe I used the wrong terms. Yep, like I said clueless.

Those of you that long-term in your trailer, how the heck do you keep it clean? I see on most campgrounds' sites it says you can't wash your rig there and I fully understand the reasoning for that. So, how do you find those self-service places? Ask at the place you're staying at?

Thanks folks!
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:37 PM   #2
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Ha!

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Originally Posted by NW Cat Owner View Post
Okay, this will probably sound pretty dumb to some of you. Please keep the eye rolling to a minimum.

The only kind of self-wash I've used is me at home with a scrub brush on a pole and a ladder sort of situation. I plan to bring all that with me on this upcoming 2 month trip as no way will I be able to tolerate seeing the trailer filthy dirty for that long. I'm not going to be able to wash it at every place I'm planning on staying at, so figured I'd use those self-wash car wash places.

However, I'm clueless about them. I'm a sit in the car and let it go through the wash automatically sort of gal. Until we got the trailer.

So, some questions:

Will the water pressure be okay to use on the softer fiberglass (as opposed to cars/trucks)?

Will it be okay to bring out my scrub brush, bucket and soap or do I have to use theirs?

I will have a ladder that I can access most of the roof with, so I don't have any questions about access.

I know I have to pay for them. Quarters or debit/credit cards? Pay by the minute (holy cow, is that gonna be expensive!) or how much water I'm using (again, probably expensive).

To use Tulsa again as an example (as in my thread on the AllStays app), I did a google search for "self service car washes" and most of what came up are the automatic type. Not gonna work. About the only self service one I found was completely worthless in terms of getting your vehicle clean.

So, do I need to use different words for a search? Yeah, more eye rolling here, but maybe I used the wrong terms. Yep, like I said clueless.

Those of you that long-term in your trailer, how the heck do you keep it clean? I see on most campgrounds' sites it says you can't wash your rig there and I fully understand the reasoning for that. So, how do you find those self-service places? Ask at the place you're staying at?

Thanks folks!
Ive had the same questions about washing a TT and I dont even own one yet. I did think of the self service car washes but so many of them are in urban areas, usually on a tight corner with acute turns that makes even washing my extended van in a bit of a nightmare. Some are quite low, height wise, too. I wont have a sticks and bricks by the time I purchase the TT, so even washing it in the back yard will be a no go. Im interested in what people do use to accomplish this chore...!
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:43 PM   #3
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Google "Truck Wash" near whatever location you plan to be. You don't need a car wash.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:01 PM   #4
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Google "Truck Wash" near whatever location you plan to be. You don't need a car wash.
Really? Obviously I never thought of that.

So, you don't need to take your big rig Class A diesel pusher there or your semi truck? You can take your regular tow vehicle and trailer?

Cool! I see signs for those all the time at truck fuel station but never thought about that as I figured it was just for semis.

Are they automatic? I saw pictures of one where a whole bunch of guys were washing a semi and another of one where it looked like the tractor and trailer were going through an automatic system.

So, let's go see what pops up for Tulsa ......

Okay, Semi Crazy Truck Wash - 55 to 65 bucks for an RV/5th wheel. That's LOTS of quarters! Sounds like they wash it for you as it says each bay has at least 3 workers in it. They do mention power washers so not sure how that would work on the little ol' fiberglass trailer.

Gill Express' site tells me diddly squat. Just that they have locations all over the place but lists a CA address.

Nothing for some of other places listed as "best truck washes" sort of link.

Hum, I just might go with a dirty trailer! Jeez. Sneak the bottle of Windex out at night for a quick scrub sort of situation. HA!
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:39 PM   #5
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There might be automatic truck washes (you won't want that) and there are truck washing places which manually wash it for you (I wouldn't be willing to pay for that), and then there are the places which work well for trailers: truck washes where you use a spray wand to wash it yourself. They're just like the car washes where you use a spray wand to wash it yourself, but with much bigger bays, and usually with some sort of platform where you can climb up to get to the top.
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:02 AM   #6
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I have almost never seen a car wash where I could get the trailer in. And out. Few car washes have the height or a suitable entrance and exit.

Some truck places do not let you wash. I'm not letting them wash. Someone had said that the sprays can damage the trailer so I just let the water drop onto it and then wash it.

I have been out for more than two months and not washed although I have also done it while out a long time.
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:31 AM   #7
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I'll give writing it up an attempt.

I've used a self wash car wash just once with the trailer, I usually cheat and do it in the CG little by little if they have no explicit rule against it. I do use the self car wash for the truck a lot.

For the car wash, you need to find one with the higher opening bays. Usually one or 2 bays are the extra high ones, but not all places have them. I've always used quarters as we bring a lot of them along for laundry, I have noticed that many now take bills or charge cards. It's something like $2 for 3 minutes. They have selector knobs for the different types of spray you want, something like 8 choices.

I turn it to wheel/tire, put in the $ and when the soap starts spraying out hit the tires and wheels, it's kind of a presoak thing just spray them and leave it till you rinse later. Change the knob the wash or soap mode and go over the trailer, I do it just to get the trailer covered, not really clean. You have to work pretty quick as 2 or 3 minutes doesn't take long. When the time expires I use my extendable brush to very quickly go over the trailer, I don't do the top. Try to get the part that is inevitably in the sun last as it'll dry first. If you want, you can take out your own wash cloth here and hit the spots you can't get to with the brush, you do have to remember to soak the cloth before you run out of time. Quick turn the selector to rinse, put in another $2 or whatever, wait for clear water then rinse off the trailer.

Depending on how fast you soap up or rinse the trailer, the washes usually beep for the last minute or 30 seconds, you can put in another dollar or whatever and extend the cycles for another 60 seconds or longer depending on how much you feed it.

If there is time they usually have a spot free rinse, I'll use it for whatever time is left. It doesn't have much pressure so it's not enough to do the rinse after using the brush.

I then move out of the bay to a clear area and use my chamois to dry the trailer. I do my truck like this all the time, no one cares if I use my own brush. I've used it when the care takers are there, they've not said anything either.

The car wash sprayer and brush are on a long hose that's suspended from the roof, you have to be careful when moving them around, don't want to break anything up on the roof. I don't think it'd take much to rip off the JACK antenna on mine.

I carry a 2nd fresh water hose and a sprayer with me. The times I've done it in the CG I do it when there aren't many folks around. Hookup, fill a bucket with water, quick spray one side, hit it with the brush as fast as I can go, then quickly rinse it off. No one seems to care if you do the front, many people do to remove the bugs and such. The wheels you can do with just a bucket and cloth or sponge. I'd be surprised if it takes me 5 minutes to wash the trailer, in this abbreviated quick mode. Traveling in the winter I often stop at public CG's that are sparsely populated, I don't think I'd try washing the trailer in private CG.

This last 11 week trip I cleaned the trailer twice, maybe 3 times, the truck at least double that. I only clean the trailer if it's really dirty, you know, the point where kids will write "wash me" on it. I'm not all that concerned about getting it spotless, just decent.

Not that I've looked for them but I've never tried a Truck Wash, the only ones I've seen are at the big truck stops at the highway exits.

I like to try and get to the wash early, before it gets too sunny. Makes it easier to wash without the soap drying. On the flip side it makes it harder t dry when you are done, just like in the driveway at home.
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Old 04-08-2018, 06:06 AM   #8
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To me, a dirt covered trailer is like a badge of courage, saying," Look where I have been" in lieu of those bumper stickers. I wait til I get home to wash and wax.
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Old 04-08-2018, 06:25 AM   #9
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On my maiden voyage - 9 weeks from BC to North Carolina, I was obsessed with keeping the trailer looking good. 1st, I didn’t camp in commercial cg’s. I would normally just go over the trailer with a bucket of plain water and a cloth. (No soap) While my wife would prepare the inside for travel, I would take care of the front of the trailer. I’d often add some Star Brite Marine Polish. (It helped keep the bugs from sticking and working on the front kept me busy instead of asking the wife if she was ready yet) Not perfect, but definitely better than waiting until I got home.
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Old 04-08-2018, 09:44 AM   #10
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To me, a dirt covered trailer is like a badge of courage, saying," Look where I have been" in lieu of those bumper stickers. I wait til I get home to wash and wax.
Amen Jim. I do try to get the bugs off when a spray washer is handy though.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:11 AM   #11
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Most any drive through car wash will do, preferably with a double length bay. I have never seen one yet the trailer would not fit through.

Single drive through work too, you just have to finish the tow and pull ahead. When coming through Great Falls in early March, I googled drive through car wash near where I dropped my wife off to shop, and headed their to get an inch of ice from road spray off. I never realized until I washed the truck and went to pull through to do the trailer that they had the opposite door locked due to it being cold, a bit below freezing. I had to back out, turn around in their wee lot, and back the trailer in to wash it. Probably one of my most expensive truck/trailer washes ever, as it took ages to get the ice out of the plumbing, step, wheels, and front grille.

On occasion I do wash the trailer in campgrounds using a bucket and cloth.
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Old 04-08-2018, 11:53 AM   #12
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I'm sure we all have our plans on how to keep our trailers clean. For me I would never take my trvel trailer through a conventional car or truck wash. Openings for the refrigerator vents furnace and other areas can receive a lot of water in the process for which you have no control. If you're used to a pole brush and bucket at home you can stop at most any self serve car wash that has bays high enough for the trailer (I cannot remember seeing one that wasn't) and wash it much like you do at home. You can be careful not to direct high pressure water into areas prone to water exposure. I did this many times while traveling with my Casita.
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:15 PM   #13
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car wash

I always stop at the little town south of the border going to Osoyous (?), I go to the bank for C dollars and then I visit the do it your self wash and wash the TV and the trailer after nearly 2000 miles and probably some rain. For shorter trips I use quick detailer to clean bugs and touch-up.
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:23 PM   #14
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I always stop at the little town south of the border going to Osoyous (?), I go to the bank for C dollars and then I visit the do it your self wash and wash the TV and the trailer after nearly 2000 miles and probably some rain. For shorter trips I use quick detailer to clean bugs and touch-up.
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Welcome back Jack, hope to see you next year at Osoyoos. Speaking of Osoyoos, there is a car wash (not trailer) in Osoyoos that I have used several times, a dirty trailer is one thing, a dirty truck is not allowable. It is located across form the IGA store downtown.
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:36 PM   #15
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One thing I wanted to add. Camping in a no wash Marcopia county (Phoenix area) park CG this winter, came back from a laundry run to find a neighbor washing his class C in the rain. He told me it was the only time they let you wash your RV so I got out my stuff and did mine too.
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:45 PM   #16
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One thing I wanted to add. Camping in a no wash Marcopia county (Phoenix area) park CG this winter, came back from a laundry run to find a neighbor washing his class C in the rain. He told me it was the only time they let you wash your RV so I got out my stuff and did mine too.
Was it the only time that people were allowed to use water to wash their RVs, or the only time they could get away with it because it didn't leave a tell-tale wet area on the otherwise dry ground? Washing restrictions are often due to water consumption concerns (although the Maricopa County website suggests that they have no rules about consumption), and whether or not it is raining at the moment is irrelevant to the area's water supply.
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:59 PM   #17
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I was told it was/is the only time you're allowed to wash your RV, not that it was the best time to try and sneak it done. This was from the neighbor who lived in the county and spent weeks at the park each winter. I did not go find a Sheriff to ask, however my site abutted the hosts. The neighbor being across the road and also next to the hosts.
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:20 PM   #18
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I was told it was/is the only time you're allowed to wash your RV, not that it was the best time to try and sneak it done.
Thanks Bob.
It just seems like a strange arrangement. Maybe their concern is with mud when people wash their RVs in dusty conditions?

We stayed in one RV park that had an RV wash bay, at no extra cost. The manager said it was the only one within a park in the area (Vancouver), and that it was grandfathered in - a new one would not be allowed. In that case the concern wasn't water consumption, it was waste water runoff (which they directed appropriately to the sanitary sewer system). At another park in the same area, there was no wash bay but washing at the site was allowed without restriction.
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:23 PM   #19
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Thanks everyone for your tips on how you keep the trailer clean while out on trips. I know the trailer won't be spotless and some dirt on there will be fine. But I wanted to get bugs off especially. And my trailer will be viewed by a bunch of my friends on this trip, so it would be nice if it was half way decent looking. Although they all know how far I'm traveling to get to their places, so I think they'll cut me some slack.
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:30 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone for your tips on how you keep the trailer clean while out on trips. I know the trailer won't be spotless and some dirt on there will be fine. But I wanted to get bugs off especially. And my trailer will be viewed by a bunch of my friends on this trip, so it would be nice if it was half way decent looking. Although they all know how far I'm traveling to get to their places, so I think they'll cut me some slack.
Having a nice coat of wax helps to remove the bugs . There are other products too to coat the front but you need to remove the wax first . We carry soft towels , soap etc. if things got too bad . But having the shine helps to get that stuff off . Pat
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