Do you remember going to the car wash as a kid and being enamored by the water and the brushes as the soap sprayed all over the car, or being at the local hand wash and eating snacks as you washed the crew work tirelessly on every corner of the car only to leave it sparkling like had just come off of the dealership lot.
Maybe there was a time in your younger life where you actually got to work at the car wash, as this is a popular career starter for many people as you need very little experience and the pay is based on performance and sales at most car washes leaving for a pretty good earnings potential.
Since the 2008 economic downturn, there has been a decline in consumers going to the car wash, and this is really just because many of us had to tighten our belts. This has left an array of abandoned car washes, which remain in decay and abandonment because no one simply uses them any longer and the business dried up.
Car washes are generally powered by sales, but the self-service car washes rely on foot traffic to come and use the hoses and the vacuums. When this doesn’t happen you get a good deal of business that is lost, and thus car washes tend to close down just like a laundromat would. We are going to be taking a look at 20 car washes that are sadly in a state of decay from their one notable operations.
20 Abandoned Car Wash Fredericksburg, VA
Finding an abandoned car wash is never a pretty sight for a true automotive enthusiast because one of the best parts of owning a car that you love is taking it to the car wash on a Saturday morning.
Here we find what appears as a self-service car wash in Fredericksburg, VA. The entire place is in a state of decay, with the vacuums and hoses becoming rusted out from non-usage. We can assume that the owner just couldn’t afford to maintain the operation anymore, and that is why the car wash went bust.
19 Abandoned Car Wash/Gas Station Tucumcari, New Mexico
New Mexico is a beautiful state and one that is extremely dusty due to the close proximity to the desert. This is where a car wash is most likely to succeed, but in the small town of Tucumcari, New Mexico the car wash industry has been hit hard.
Thus, we find this abandoned car wash and gas station combo that looks like it was in operation probably a decade ago. It's sad to see what was once a bustling business lack any life, and maybe someone will buy this piece of property as an investment and bring it back.
18 Abandoned Cafe/Car Wash Tucumcari, New Mexico
It would appear that Tucumcari, New Mexico was hit hard during the economic downturn because here we find another roadside attraction that was once a cafe and car wash combo.
This was most likely a truck stop location, which would also offer the usual features of a service station but the times have been tough and this property was left to rust and decay. We’re not sure who decided to leave their classic Chevy truck in front, but this property might be restored one day.
17 Illinois Car Wash
When it comes to a car-centric city, Illinois is a place that has quite a few notable car washes, and thus it comes as no surprise that this one is abandoned and in the process of being demolished.
This Illinois car wash actually looks like it was built pretty recently, which is quite sad as it would appear that the establishment was built during the boom and just couldn’t sustain itself any longer. We can only imagine what is going to be built in its place, maybe a recession-proof McDonald's?
16 Abandoned In Sacramento, California
The capital of California has a huge amount of car washes throughout the city, from self-service to hand washes. So it comes as no surprise that this car wash has become left to the wolves so to speak, with a lack of life or business.
We’re not sure what the owner is going to do with this property, but it doesn’t appear that it will be coming back into business any time soon. We could only assume something cool will be put in its place sometime in the future.
15 Car Wash That Closed After The Economic Downturn
Before the recession, new businesses were popping up all over the place, and with a good economy, people were rushing out to spend money. Because cars were selling so good, this was the only logical explanation as to why all the new car washes started to spring up, but after the recession hit the car washes are among the first places that began to lose money.
This property actually looks like it was a brand new construction, and it's sad that the business wasn’t able to maintain itself.
14 Former Chicago Shell Car Wash
One of the most common sights when it comes to a car wash is the gas station combo car washes, and the Shell Oil company has pioneered these establishments. Many of these car washes were prone to issues as well as the fact that the cheap brushes tend to scratch new paint jobs.
Thus, this Chicago shell car wash didn’t survive the economic downturn and it looks like the establishment is in the process of being demolished, which is a sad sight, to say the least.
13 Old Oklahoma Car Wash
Oklahoma is a place where automotive lovers enjoy the signature drag racing culture, as well as the southern classics of the south. This abandoned Oklahoma car wash actually looks like it was in a great location at one point in time, but when the economy began to tank - the car washes in the smaller communities were hit the hardest.
We think that this car wash would make a great type of other business, especially with the classic looking exterior and the one of a kind retro design that really sets it off.
12 Old Magic Minute Car Wash
The modern car wash industry really began to hit its stride when automatic car washing technology was introduced, as this allowed companies to lower the labor costs and charge much less for a car wash.
This old magic minute car wash was one of the first to incorporate the new car washing technology, which was a first of its kind. This was far before the advent of the car washes that we see today, and it just appears that the car wash hadn’t been kept up with the times.
11 Abandoned Car Wash In Texas
Texas in itself is a car mecca, with a huge aftermarket vehicle scene that centers around Cadillac and other big body vehicles. To find a car wash that is abandoned in Texas is a sad visual, and it really goes to show just how bad the economy has tanked.
This particular abandoned car wash has become overrun with weeds and debris, and it doesn’t look like anyone has actually used the car wash in quite some time. This is sad for a place that has a bustling car community, to say the least.
10 Automatic Car Wash In Chicago
Self-service car washes are one of the best ways that you can wash your car on a budget, and yet sadly many of these automatic car washes have become abandoned and decayed. This is a normal thing at car washes all around the country, and for the most part, this car wash in Chicago seems like it has seen better days.
Chicago has never really been a car-centric city, but the car washes that were in the area are a testament to how the industry has changed in recent years with the crashing economy.
9 Abandoned Car Wash L.A.
Los Angeles has always been a mecca for aftermarket cars and a huge custom low rider scene, so this would be a place where you might be surprised to see a car wash go out of business.
This abandoned self-service car wash in Los Angeles has been overrun with graffiti and other artifacts that show just how downhill the car wash scene has gone, and how no one has put the effort into cleaning these locations up. This is just one of many abandoned car washes that are in the Los Angeles area.
8 Abandoned Triangle Wash
What appears to be a fairly recent car wash that went under, this particular property looks to have had a full-featured car wash service at one point. The property has been run down very badly, which has happened to many car washes across the country and will continue as new technology is developed that aids in washing a vehicles paint job.
The Triangle Car Wash that is shown above will probably move on in some sort of facet, but sadly we haven’t seen any activity here.
7 Old Touch free Car Wash In Montana
This Montana Touch free car wash was one of the first modern car washes to actually incorporate automatic brushes which became popular during the 70s and 80s. The times have not been too nice to this particular location which looks like it has fallen into a state of decay.
Sadly, this is the state of many car washes that are located around the country and have become either obsolete or failed to update with the times. We can only assume that someone might turn this establishment around at some point.
6 80s Style Car Wash
Wow, take a look at this 80s style car wash that was once bustling with activity. We are surprised to see that it has been left pretty untouched in terms of vandalism, which means that the establishment must have just recently closed.
This is the most common type of self-serve car wash that you might come through, and if the economy is bad these car washes are not able to survive because they are driven by consumers who are paying with quarters to use the sprayers and the vacuums.
5 Once Popular Car Wash For Sale
This is actually a very good condition car wash that has been placed on the market for sale, and it looks like the place might have just fallen on hard times. This is new construction and it is evident that someone had put some thought into the design, which is a good sign although the place is closed at this moment.
There are many car washes just like this one that was built in metropolitan areas and has just failed to either maintain foot traffic or remain relevant with consumers.
4 Self Serve Car Wash That's Seen Better Days
This is a self-service car wash that looks as though a pack of wolves has run through it, and it's a sad visual, to say the least. Just take a look at the entire building and you can see where some good thought went into the design, and it's a sad sight that someone failed to take care of it, to say the least.
This is just one of the thousands of car washes that have slipped into decay in the last few decades, and we are sad to see an establishment that has so much so offer slip so far downhill like this one above.
3 Buffalo Bay Car Was In Oklahoma, closed down.
This Buffalo Bay car wash is a fairly new construction that has seen a lot of life in its recent time of existence, but the business was just not able to maintain itself. While the property still looks good there might be other business opportunities that could go here such as a service station or an oil change facility.
It will be interesting to see as time goes on what becomes of this Buffalo Bay Car Wash and if anyone will bother putting the effort into it to try and bring it back to life once again.
2 Another Abandoned Car Wash
The self-service car wash industry seems to have been hit the hardest, and pictured above is another example of a once bustling car wash that has since been left on hard times. While this seems to be the general consensus with these car washes, it’s still sad to see one that was once bustling with activity fall on such hard times.
We think that this car wash was probably a popular destination at one point in time, but times are rough on the coin powered car washes that can’t properly generate consumer traffic.
1 Former Top Car Wash That Went Out Of Business
Pictured above is yet another self-serve car wash that was the by-product of a failing economy, and this particular one still has all of its branding up. These are the most common forms of car washes that you see today, and what makes them unique is the fact that they are generally still powered by quarters instead of upgrading to new card readers like a lot of the more modern car washes.
This right here would attract a whole new level of the customer base, and this is why many car washes haven’t evolved with the times.