Recent snow leaves car wash employees washing hundreds of cars

Monday, March 4, 2013 | 4:37 p.m. CST; updated 8:35 p.m. CST, Monday, March 4, 2013
The recent winter weather that swept through Columbia has left plenty of dirty cars to be washed at Joe Machens Automotive Group.

COLUMBIA — After a big winter storm, much less two, scraping ice and snow off just one car is a chore in itself.

Now, imagine there are hundreds of cars to clean.

With several hundred cars on the lot at Joe Machens Automotive Group at 500 Vandiver Drive, keeping cars clean is all in a day's work.

Alfonso Hayes and the four other car preppers and detailers work in the car washing bays at the dealership. The crew washes or details at least 100 cars — by hand — each week, Hayes said.

Cars traded to the dealership get detailed before they are sent out to the lot. New cars get washed and waxed after delivery before they are put out for sale. Sometimes, like last week, a dealership employee takes a four-wheel drive vehicle home because of the snowy road conditions. When it comes back, it needs a wash before it can go back on display.

"We stay pretty busy back here, year-round," Hayes said.

It takes about 15 minutes to wash a car from start to finish, Hayes said. Each vehicle is washed, waxed and dried by hand.

"Hand washing is the only way to do it. At least, the only way to do it right," Hayes said. "Automatic machines would be faster, but they don't know each individual vehicle."

Supervising editor is Brian Kratzer.

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