My Favorite East Bay Car Wash

Okay, so let’s be real. Car washes are pretty utilitarian places. When you recommend your town to a friend, you probably don’t tell them “We have great car washes here!”

Still, a good car wash is extremely helpful to know about. Many of the Bay Area’s car washes are full service. That’s great if you want to leave your car for hours and have the interior cleaned out or detailed. But in some cases, you just want to stop in for a quick exterior wash and then be on your way.

For that kind of car wash, my favorite place in the East Bay is the Arco in Moraga, California. It’s located off Moraga road, right by the painted rocks in downtown Moraga.

Why do I like this specific car wash? There are a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s not a full-service car wash–it’s the traditional kind, where you pay around $8 to $10, drive-in and spend a few minutes with the car wash automatically cleaning your car for you. Again, full-service places can be great, but if you just want a quick exterior wash, this is a better option.

I also like that Moraga Arco’s car wash is not touch-free. Many Bay Area service stations seem concerned about the risk of damaging residents’ often pricey cars, so they go for touch-free washes. These are great if you’re driving a Maserati. But if you’re like me and you drive a Honda minivan, you want a wash that really gets the dirt off, not one that’s super delicate on your expensive Italian paintwork.

The Arco car wash in Moraga is reasonably gentle, but it uses real scrub brushes, wax, water jets, and the like to wash down your car comprehensively. I prefer that to the touchless models, even if there’s perhaps a bit more risk of damage. The car wash is convenient and usually not too packed, and the attendant who is there on weekend mornings is friendly and attentive.

Check out the car wash at the Moraga Arco if you’re looking for a local’s tip on the best car wash in the East Bay.

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