Washing a Car for Under $2 at Suds-on-Sixty in Vermilion, Ohio, USA Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Washing a Car for Under $2 at Suds-on-Sixty in Vermilion, Ohio, USA

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A classic pink car under a car wash sign

Suds-on-Sixty is a typical American pay-and-spray jet wash located on State Route 60 in Vermilion, Ohio. Putting in a quarter will get you 49 seconds1 of power in one of seven methods:

  • Pre-wash
  • Rinse
  • Soap
  • Tyre cleaner
  • Spot-free rinse
  • Clear coat
  • Suds brush

The real trick comes in using these settings efficiently and effectively to remove exterior road grime and prevent future dirt build-up with a clear coat. These methods should work at any American-style local carwash given similar spray times, car sizes, and dirt amounts.

What Does this Mean to You?

Washing a car cheaply and efficiently is important for anyone. Saving money is always good, and saving time can be important as well. Directions like these should prove especially handy for anyone who has to be somewhere soon and looking his or her best - like someone going on a date, for instance. Moreover, these steps can probably be performed using spare change found in the car. It might take a little scrounging, but most drivers probably have a bunch of quarters floating around under their floor mats or in the ashtray or stuck to the dashboard. It's probably no use checking in the spare change compartment2. This compartment is more likely to be home to two gum wrappers (one with already-chewed gum stuck in it), selected parking tickets, old fast food receipts and a note reminding you to pick up bread on the way home.

The Steps

Quarter Number 1

The first quarter is used to wet the entire car and remove the more obvious clods of dirt and bird droppings. With the spray wand in hand3, turn the control switch to 'soap' and insert the quarter. When the full spray begins, go over the entire car focusing mainly on the really bad parts. If you're really fast and have some time left, use it to spray the suds brush clean.

Quarter Number 2

This is when most of the actual cleaning work is done. Put the spray wand back in its holster, insert the next quarter and turn the control switch to 'Suds brush'. The trick to using the brush is realising that the soap doesn't need to keep coming out as long as there's enough on the car to scrub with. Therefore, go over the entire car with the brush while the soap is coming out, then go back later to get the bad spots. Use the brush on everything except the tyres as they can't really be kept clean anyway.

Quarter Number 3

Once you've finished using the suds brush, you'll have to get the soap off. Put the brush back on its hanger and pick up the spray wand. Turn the control switch to 'rinse' and insert the third quarter. Rinse the entire car starting at the roof and working down. Chances are good that you won't be able to rinse the entire car with one quarter.

Quarter Number 4

When the time on the third quarter expires, insert the fourth quarter and finish rinsing any suds that remain.

Quarter Number 5

After rinsing insert the fifth quarter and turn the control switch to 'Clear coat'4. Avoid spraying the windows, but go over the rest of the car. To do this, it's sometimes better to let the wand spray at low power, without squeezing the trigger.

Quarter Number 6

If you need more time to clear coat, feel free to use part of quarter number six. However, it is best to use most of the sixth quarter to rinse the clear coat off of the car. If you finish applying clear coat by the end of the fifth quarter, wait a few minutes for the wax to soak in a little. Turn the control switch to 'Rinse', insert the sixth quarter, and rinse the car again as described in 'Quarter Number 3'.

Quarter Number 7

Most of the seventh quarter is used to finish rinsing. Normally this is needed to ensure the removal of all excess clear coat and any remaining soap that may have escaped. It is also a good idea to spray the wheel-wells, especially during the winter if salt is used on the roads. If you still have some time left, be kind to the next patron and spray your dirt out of the suds brush.


These steps were successfully tested on a Honda Accord and Ford Taurus with two weeks' worth of dirt on them. Smaller cars may be cleaned more cheaply. Expect to pay more to wash a Sport Utility Vehicle or Buick, though.

1Why it's 49 seconds and not a more regular division like 30 seconds or a minute, no one can say.2A spot that develops in most cars, with suitable space and a lip to store and hold small coins without them rolling off on to the floor.3This saves the precious seconds needed to remove the wand from the holster on the wall.4Clear coat is a spray-on/rinse-off car wax that will make it easier to clean your car the next time. It will also keep your car cleaner longer.

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