The world's first weblog written and maintained entirely by a sentient car wash. Automotive cleanliness is my business, my career and my passion. These are my stories; this is my life.

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What Dangers Lurk in the Summer Sun?

Salt, slush and snow can reek havoc on your vehicle's paint job. Thankfully, the summer months offer no dangers to the slick look of your car or truck, right? Wrong! Following are some tips to employ during the hot summer months in order to protect the look (and longevity) of your investment.

What's the number one risk to your paint job? The same thing that makes summer fun: the sun. While today's automotive paints are far superior to those of 20 years ago, ultra-violet rays can still fade the paint over time. The trick is to limit your car's exposure for long periods whenever possible. Park in a garage or shady spot. If your car must absolutely be parked exposed (especially if it's for an extended period of time) consider a car cover. In addition, regular washes AND waxes (kind of like the services Travel Clean Express provides) serve to shield your car's paint and mitigate the damaging effects of UV rays.

Of course, no solution is perfect and shady spots come with their own concerns--namely birds. It's no secret that birds do their business wherever it's convenient for them which, for some reason, always seems to be all over cars. While studies have shown that bird droppings are not acidic enough to damage the paint on your car—when exposed to heat from sunlight—the paint lacquer on your car warms causing it to soften and expand. Conversely, this same heat from the sun will harden any "deposits" made by birds. Then, as the paint lacquer cools (for example, overnight) it contracts, hardens and molds around the texture of the bird dropping. Again, regular washing and waxing to remove the droppings as often as possible greatly reduce the possibility of permanent damage to your vehicle's paint job.

Seriously, could trees be anymore dangerous to your car? Tree sap, though fairly easy to remove at first with a little rubbing alcohol and buffing, becomes much harder to remove once it is baked on by the summer heat. Avoid parking underneath sap producing trees whenever possible and keep a watchful eye to remove any sap that may accumulate on your vehicle. Once again, regular washes and waxes can go a long way toward preserving and protecting your car (noticing any patterns here?).

Finally, a seemingly innocuous threat lurks in the form of sprinklers. Think you're killing two birds with one stone by watering your lawn and washing your car parked in the driveway at the same time? Think again. The water supplied to outdoor spigots contains minerals and impurities that can leave unsightly sunspots on your car when the water dries. But, once again, a nice Travel Clean Express wash and wax can eliminate such threats to your car's shine.

Minor efforts like the care tips discussed above help to ensure a long (and beautiful) life for your car. Sure, looks aren't everything, but when you care about cars as much as I do—every little bit helps.

This summer, drive safe, stay cool, and travel clean.

A Celebration of Freedom

When our founding fathers laid the foundation for this great nation, to say that they envisioned the world exactly as it is today would be a bit of stretch. Further, for me to claim that Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams or any of the other 54 signatories of the Declaration of Independence had even the slightest inkling that their historic actions would one day be the subject of a blog post by a sentient car wash is utterly implausible.
I mean, really, what link is there between an automated car wash in 2012 and the birth of a free nation in 1776? Directly? None. However, as is apt to happen during the course of history the echoes of our ancestors ripple out toward and have far reaching effects on the present. For example:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
When you get right down to it, the whole aim of our founding fathers was to create a nation where every single individual has the opportunity to forge their own destiny and the freedom to shape their future however they see fit.
So, while it’s great to celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends, enjoying good food, great weather and beautiful fireworks—remember to celebrate freedom everyday by pursuing your happiness. Whether you wash cars, build homes, trade stocks, cook meals, write stories—whatever you do—remember, that simple pursuit each day is the greatest celebration of our forefathers and the freedom they fought for (and achieved).
On behalf of everyone in the Travel Clean Express family, have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Redefining Customer Service

Customer service is a phrase tossed around casually by just about every business, in just about every industry. But to the detriment of consumers everywhere the phrase has devolved into little more than a marketing buzz word devoid of any substantive virtue or meaning.
I endeavor to change that.
Let's begin by establishing what customer service is from an academic standpoint. Efraim Turban defines it in his 2002 book, Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective, as “...a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction–that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.” (Told you I was going academic). This seems to me like a straight-forward and common sense definition, i.e., set specific expectations and then meet or exceed them.
However, I feel this definition is missing something essential. Confession time. I'm about to admit something that many businesses are afraid to: I'm not perfect. I can laud the technology and time I've invested into Travel Clean Express which allows me to provide you with the best wash experience you'll have anywhere (and I have). I can prattle on endlessly about my business philosophy and passion for clean cars (and I will). But to claim perfection, honestly, would be a slap in the face to my idea of customer service.
I have high standards for both myself and the services I provide for each of my customers. 99.99 percent of the time I succeed in meeting or exceeding these expectations. But what about that other 0.01 percent whose expectations are not met? Surely that's well within the statistical bounds of acceptable customer dissatisfaction, right? Wrong.
At Travel Clean Express, customer service means providing high quality wash services for you every single time. It also means that when your expectations are not met, I expect to hear from you. In turn, it is then my obligation and duty to make it right.
I work very hard to ensure that you have a pleasant and highly satisfactory experience every single time you visit Travel Clean Express. But I also recognize that your continued patronage is a reward for excellent service, which is why customer service to me means that when you visit Travel Clean Express, I have the honor and privilege of working to earn your business as if you were a first-time customer each and every time.

Innovation Is The Sum of Technology And Intent

Technology can accomplish some amazing things—but these potential triumphs hinge on the applicable technology being used effectively. For example, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter allow me to communicate directly with my customers—allowing my friends and followers to hear about special deals and offers instantly. While communication is certainly a fundamental component of my business, it merely scratches the surface of my ambitious innovations and commitment to useful technology.
If you want to be the best at what you do (as I do) you have to offer something no one else does. Sure, I feature a wide variety of wash options to fit the needs of all types of car owners, for every budget, and all with exceptional customer service. But what sets me apart from my competition, is that I desire to take that a step further and offer more than just a clean car. Clean cars are certainly my passion, so the technology I use to cleanse and wax your vehicle is designed to be thorough and efficient—that's no surprise. However, this commitment to modern technology and efficiency serves another purpose—protecting and preserving the environment.
Every single wash component is meticulously calibrated to operate and consume resources in the most efficient manner possible. Specifically, I employ a proprietary system which analyzes data (such as size, shape, etc.) from every car that enters. This data, in turn, is used to calculate the exact amount of soap and water necessary to thoroughly clean each vehicle without wasting any resources. All cleaning agents used during my wash cycles are environmentally friendly, water soluble and free from harmful petrochemicals. I even use a radiant solar heating system to use the sun to heat my wash water!
But my commitment to the environment doesn't stop there. Once the wash is complete, all used water is processed and recycled in a state-of-the art treatment system which employs bio remediation and solids settling removal technology. On top of that, everything is powered by a system which employs more than 80 variable frequency drives to minimize our power consumption and reduce our electrical needs by more than 35 percent!
Finally, while technology can be beautiful, I have to acknowledge that nothing beats the beauty of nature, which is why I make sure my job site is expertly landscaped and features a variety of flowers, grasses and shrubbery. Because, at the end of the day, while I certainly want to leave my mark...I don't want to leave it on the environment.

Awash with Philosophy

So what sets me apart from other car washes? For that matter, what makes me better than just a bucket and hose in your driveway?

Convenience? Efficiency? Value? Quality? Well, yes, yes, yes and yes...but those are superficial responses which fail to address the real question at issue: why do you wash your car? To clean it of course, but there's more to it than that. A car is more than a machine; it is an essential transportation tool for business and family alike. You rely on your car to get you to and from wherever you need to go—be it school, work or wherever—so it's an investment in your everyday life and one you need to protect and maintain. This is key.

I recognize that every single person who comes to me—whether you're a high school student driving your first vehicle, a car enthusiast cruising around in a sporty coupe or a dad piloting the family minivan—cares about their car and how it looks. This is the car you drove on your first date; this is the car you drive to work every day; this is the car that gave your baby its first ride home from the hospital. Let's face it: your car is family.

Whoever you are and whatever you do, in some small way, your car is an extension of that. From my perspective, you're placing a lot of trust in me when you pull in for a wash, and it's not something I take lightly. It may seem minor to some, but when you pull your car into Travel Clean Express—no matter who you are and what kind of car you drive—you're receiving the best wash that money can buy because I treat each vehicle like it were my own. That's something you can't get anywhere else; that my friends is the difference.

Efficient, effective and eco-conscious technology ensures that every wash leaves your car looking brand new. Once I've done my part for the outside, feel free to use my vacuums to make sure your vehicle is clean inside—complimentary with every wash. I understand what your car means to you and your family, and that knowledge and understanding goes into every wash…backed of course by great value, friendly staff, exceptional technology and my unbeatable 48-hour wash guarantee.

For what it’s worth, an average person spends an estimated seven percent of their life driving (nearly six years of their life); you might as well look your best while you're doing it. It's my job—and my privilege—to help you with that.

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