One of the fastest growing segments in the automotive cleaning supply industry is the car vacuum segment. Traditionally, almost all Americans have gone to their local or commercial car wash to get a good interior carpet cleaning. However, the typical American can spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars throughout their life when they could be saving some serious cash over the next decade by owning their own car vacuum. We have put together a guide that will help you find the best car vacuum for your needs.
Is it worth it to buy your own car vacuum?
As I mentioned, most vehicle owners in the United States have frequented the car wash. Even if you’re not one to clean your car much, some minor disasters have surely brought you to pay a visit to these businesses, often taking all of that spare change you had been acquiring in your console. Still to this day, there are car washing businesses that charge up to $3 for 5 minutes or less of car wash vacuum service. A few dollars may not sound like all that much, but rest assured, you’re paying some serious money over the duration. You’re also rolling the dice when using a car wash vacuum cleaner because many of them are poorly maintained which kill their suction performance.
A friend of mine’s family owns multiple car washes in the United States. Recently, I spoke to him and told him that I was considering an article about car vacuums. He said that there is serious thought that goes into pricing car wash and vacuum services. Not only do they factor in demand, the number of competitors, the prices those competitors charge and quality of the car wash vacuums, they also do a sampling of how often customers visit the car wash, which helps them set up their long-term budgets for the car vacuum service. To sum it all up, you’ll spend a lot of money and since it’s so spread out over time, you probably won’t even realize how much you’re paying. My friend also mentioned that they filter out the vacuumed contents because finding diamond rings and other valuables is extremely common.
In more recent years, there has been an influx of car washes that offer vacuum services. However, don’t think for a second that they’re just being kind. This is another pricing strategy. In the long run, you’ll pay for this service as well.
What are the benefits of frequent car vacuum use?
After hearing about how much car washes charge for vacuuming services, and after giving it some thought, you’re probably thinking “I’m not going to the car wash again!” However, it’s not a one-way street when using a car vacuum at the local wash. Vacuuming your car frequently comes with a list of benefits that are well worth the charges rendered.
One of the most obvious of these benefits is the increased value of your vehicle. Our lives are full of objects that lose value, and of those objects, automobiles depreciate particularly quickly. Just think about it – you buy a $30,000 vehicle and 5 years later, you’re very lucky to get half of what you paid for it ($15,000).
Another friend of mine’s entire family is in the wholesale auto sales business. I knew that as long as I’ve known her, she’s gotten her car detailed at least once every 2 – 4 weeks by a portable detailer that came by our office that offered a $100 detail. I remember thinking that she’s easily spending $1,500 a year on detailing services, which sounded crazy to me. My curiosity continued to grow over time and I asked her about spending this much on car cleaning.
She told me that there are basically three things that affect the value of a vehicle (in the eyes of the purchaser). The first thing is exterior damage and the paint job. The second turn-off is mechanical problems. Lastly, she mentioned the state of the vehicle’s interior. Because of her regular detailing, she could get full resale value versus up to 35% less.
Since the resale of her car would be around $20,000, the cost of the detailing would basically cancel out the reduction in the resale price. Then, she totally shut down my initial thoughts by telling me that she also got to drive a car that looked as good as it did when she bought it (inside and out) and that it was always spotless.
So it is worth it to vacuum and wash your vehicle frequently. It can increase the value of your ride and allow you to live in a cleaner environment too.Vehicle interior carpet, similar to the carpet inside your house, is a great stomping ground for tiny mites and other critters that are basically naked to the human eye.
Many people with allergies are allergic to mite droppings. You’d be surprised just how quickly mites can turn your car’s interior into a mite litter box when you do not vacuum your car frequently. This is especially true for those that let their dogs or other animals ride around in the car. These mites generally latch onto pet hair and hitch a ride inside your vehicle.
A vehicle’s interior also collects dirt, dust, pollen, and other small particles that often cause allergy and asthma issues with both children and adults. These particles are able to enter the vehicle when driving around with the windows down or tracking them in from the outdoors on your shoes or clothes.
Finally, mold can be a threat to your health or your children’s health as most types of mold are mildly neurotoxic and may contribute to breathing problems and fatigue as well. There are more species of mold than there are plants on Earth. Spores are basically tiny little fungus seeds. Most spores are extremely difficult to see with the human eye, but it’s safe to assume that there are spores located all over the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
Anytime your carpet is exposed to moisture and not dried within a reasonable amount of time, the spores are basically germinated/activated. From there on out, the mold spreads and usually diffuses new spores in the process. If a liquid such as a soft drink, milk, coffee, or a glass of water is spilled, you should dry it up as soon as possible with an absorbing towel or a wet/dry vacuum to prevent mold growth.
Once mold starts to grow and spread, it can be difficult to remove and stop the growth. Some cases of mold infestations can only be removed by replacing the entire carpet interior which can cost a fortune.
What features should I look for in a car vacuum?
Today, there are many types of car vacuums to choose from. This is extremely relevant because people have specific needs for a car vacuum. Most of you that are out there reading this are probably shopping for a vacuum for personal use, while others are shopping for a car vacuum for their car cleaning or auto detailing business. The first step that you should take before shopping for a car vacuum is listing out all of the different features you need a vacuum to have.
For instance, if you’re a real estate agent that frequently walks customers around properties, it’s likely that you frequently track in dirt and leaves from your shoes. However, you do not have children and rarely have instances that trash your vehicle. Most likely, you’ll want to go with a portable handheld vacuum so that you are able to store it in your truck or in front of your passenger seat. Then, as you see you’ve tracked in a mess, you can quickly vacuum the dirt and leaves up in seconds. If you live in a rainy or snowy area, you may want to get a portable vacuum cleaner that is rated “wet/dry” so that sucking up liquids will not damage the vacuum.
If you work in the construction industry, your vehicle’s interior probably attracts dirt. Many work in muddy conditions, often tracking mud into the vehicle on their boots. Your truck may be overexposed to liquids (if working out in the rain, around pools/lakes, etc.). If this more closely resembles your scenario, you may want to start by shopping for a powerful and heavy-duty shop vac or possibly even a wall-mounted vacuum for your garage.
What are the most common types of car vacuums?
Common Household Vacuum
Some people use their household vacuum to vacuum their car’s interior. However, this typically isn’t the most convenient option. Not only can they be a pain to haul around and down to the garage, but you also may need an extension cord. You need a vacuum that is equipped with a suction hose (and different attachments for the different types of surfaces your vehicle’s interior has). Some vacuums have poor suction when using a hose attachment and can be tricky to maneuver.
This style of vacuum is the way to go for many consumers. Shop-Vacs typically come equipped with a very long suction hose and a large reservoir for the dirt and other particles to be captured. Most do not require vacuum bags – they can simply be dumped into the trash can when full or when you’re finished vacuuming. Most are built to be able to handle wet and dry conditions. Some shop vacs are used in conditions where a shop, garage, room in your house, etc has become flooded. These vacuums can suck up dirt, mud, debris, and liquids. Lastly, you can use these to clean just about anything – not just your vehicle.
They can be heavy to haul around and maneuver because they’re equipped with heavy motors for high suction power. Most come seated on casters so that they can be pulled in the direction that you need them. Most of the shop-vacs are also short and bulky which can take up a bit of space when it comes time to store them. Lastly, these car vacuums can be pricey, especially for the ones equipped with higher horsepower.
Wall-Mount Car Wash Vacuum
These vacuums are high-powered with long suction hoses that provide plenty of power, but they also come with very large reservoirs and only need to be emptied once in a blue moon. Because they can be mounted high up on the wall, storage space usually isn’t an issue, either.
The obvious list of downsides to the wall-mount car vacuum includes the inability to transport the device outside of your garage or shop. For a car vacuum they can be expensive. They often run up to around $300 for a basic model. However, if you’re a mechanic, own a car wash or detailing business, or if your family has several cars that you’ll be cleaning often, this may prove to be a viable option that will quickly pay itself off!
Handheld Portable Car Vacuum
I’ve got to say that this is the way to go for most vehicle owners. You can store them in your vehicle as well. Most are equipped with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Many handheld vacuum owners even use these in place of a dustpan (when sweeping) and use them to clean other vehicles like RVs, boats, etc. If you can live with a power cord, there are cheaper vacuums available with more power too.
Some handheld car vacuum cleaner models have less suction power (this is where it’s really important to buy a model with good ratings), however, this is not an issue with most models/brands of car vacuums. Some can also suffer an early death that is usually caused by the battery dying. However, this is an issue that can be avoided by purchasing a good model of hand vacuum. Because of the size, they require emptying more often than other vacuums. However, most manufacturers make the reservoirs large enough to get at least one full vacuuming of a vehicle before needing to be emptied (if not multiple vacuum sessions).
Our Top Car Vacuum Cleaner Picks
To get this list together, we considered several variables such as the most reputable brands, motor power and suction power, features, tools, attachments, wet/dry capabilities, price, value, and most importantly, customer experiences and reviews. For your convenience, we have also included links to the product pages so that you can check out all of the features and product reviews for yourself in order to be sure you’re buying the right vacuum for your needs.