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Cared For By Hand

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

Cared For By Hand

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
August 21, 2013


Classic Car Brochure
Once upon a time it was considered that cleaning the car was a ritual to be attended to on a Sunday morning somewhere between church and the roast. It became a bit of a joke beloved of film-makers and the like who would show rows of suburban houses with men (it’s always men) toiling away over their frothy motor. Sometimes these men would be replaced by erring children, paying dearly for their misbehaviour.

As we know, these days erring children are chastised by the removal of IT facilities or the confiscation of much loved smartphones; the car has to languish, grubby and unloved, outside. Unless of course Mum or Dad are going to the supermarket, because this is where cars get cleaned.

When automated car washes first came on the scene drivers fell upon them in hoards, prepared to queue for ages for the pleasure of having a machine perform this irksome task. As it turns out, sometimes these machines were not terribly good at valuing other peoples property. Aerials were ripped off and paintwork damaged. These days the machines are much more accurate and can do a decent job but drivers are still wary, especially with the fancy paint-jobs available. When was the last time you saw a queue at the auto-wash bay?

In a stunning reversal of roles, man - or sometimes woman - has for once replaced machine. In some recent new research it seems that about a third of motorists have their vehicles cleaned by hand. By somebody else.

In our busy lives when there is now a twenty four hour, seven-day-a-week culture we have no time on a Sunday morning for cleaning stuff. We have to have a lie-in, or go to a theme park to be royally ripped off or do the week’s shopping or, if you are really stupendously lucky, enjoy some relaxed Sunday morning lovin’.

One in three respondents apparently said they get their car cleaned or clean it themselves at least every couple of weeks and nearly a fifth get it spruced up at least once a week. Of these nearly a third use a hand car wash service with only six percent going to an automated car wash. With a basic hand wash starting at around £6 (although you can pay considerably more for a full valet service) this could certainly add up with even just a weekly basic wash costing a motorist over £300 a year. This suggests that although the country is mired in economic gloom there are some things that are just better when paid for.

Whatever, it still means that there must be more than half the motoring population continuing to slave over a sponge and bucket. Except for that filthy four percent who only clean their not so precious wheels once a year. With our disgustingly awful roads dirtying the exterior and our preference for junk food sullying the interior not even the most caring hand-washer is likely to want to take those on.



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