Updated: Oct 17, 2021
In the vein of saving money, which seems to have become an all-consuming venture these days, I had to figure out a new car washing strategy. Ever since I moved to The Valley, from The Westside, I was shocked at how expensive car washes are out here. It can cost $25-$30 just for a one-time-run-of-the-mill wash. Can you imagine?
Even when I wasn't having to be so careful with my pennies, I thought that was a ridiculous rip-off. I found, what I thought to be the best deal, at the corner of Topanga and Van Owen, near the Topanga Mall - a place called Red Carpet Car Wash. There, you pay a flat monthly fee and can go as often as you want. Now, that sounds ideal, but really, who wants to sit at a car wash for close to an hour more than once a week, waiting for your car to be washed and dried? Especially when you have multiple kids with you who are bored to death. No one! Not even me, who is a clean freak about everything, including my car. That said, the $29.95/month all-you-can-wash deal, didn't seem too bad (about $7.50/wash if you go 4 times/month). Well, then the price creeped up to $39.95, which pissed me off ($10/wash if you go 4 times/month). But honestly, sometimes I couldn't get there or it was raining, so those per car wash prices, started to creep up, when I only went twice a month. Then came the final straw. The price went up to $49.95 per month. That was it! No more! Hasta La Vista, Red Carpet Car Wash!
A few months prior, I had noticed another car wash open, also on Topanga, just kitty-corner to Red Carpet. I decided go check it out. It turns out, it was owned by the same people (very smart entrepreneurs, I must admit). I felt reassured by that, because although Red Carpet was pricey, they always did a great job on my car!
The caveat at the new place, Topanga Speedwash, is you have to do everything yourself. That didn't sound very appealing, but for a savings of $30/month (or $360 a year), I was willing to try it. I could always quite my membership and go back across the street if being a car washer wasn't a good fit for me.
We have now been 3 or 4 times and we love it! We do it on Denny's Night and it has become part of our ritual. The kids get so excited to go. The place is really cool. It's really clean, well-run and also state-of-the-art. There are all kinds of bells and whistles, which make the kids feel like they are at an amusement park, rather than a car wash. There are different colored psychedelic lights that go off and appear to turn the soap, water and wax neon purple, green and red as your drive through the different stages. Then, once you pass go (there is literally an adorable little light that says stop or go at the end, letting you know when you are all done), you drive to the Vacuum Plaza (we are obsessed with that name). I bring a few of my own rags and start drying (the air dryers get most of the water off, but you still have to do a bit of touching up yourself), while the kids jump out, each grab a vacuum hose and start on the interior. Lickity-Split, we are out of there! The car looks great, the kids have a ball and I save $30 a month, which pays for one of our Denny's dinners and even a splurge on dessert!