A self-service car wash is a coin-operated or token-operated car wash that provides the user with the cleaning materials needed to wash the car himself. The user pays by the minute to wash his cars, rather than paying by the item or items used to wash.
The first self-service car wash was created in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan and featured a system of pulleys and brushes. A self-service car wash is cheaper than a regular car wash, gives the user control over how his car is washed, and has no stipulations about which vehicles can use a self-service car wash as long as they can fit under the overhang.
A self-service car wash has multiple bays with hoses and sprayers hung up on the wall. A small group of self-service car washes offer hand-held dryers to their customers, and the ability to pay by credit cards or loyalty cards, but these are relatively new features. In a self-service car wash, there is typically a pressurized water hose, a foaming brush filled with soap, a waxing wand, and a dial that controls all of these. In the parking lot of a self-service car wash, there is usually a vacuum and air station available as well.