By Christopher Tobutt
With three decades of experience in industry, whatever Mr. Joey Ebanks doesn’t know about commercial car washing facilities isn’t really worth knowing. His present business, the Auto Spa on Godfrey Nixon Way in George Town is a testament to his knowledge and experience, and it contains some of the most up-to-date professional car washing equipment available. As the only automated carwash facility on the island, it really does much more than just wash cars. It’s really about car care, both inside and out. Auto Spa is also leading the way in showing how businesses can each do their part to take care of all of Cayman, by recycling nearly all of the hundreds of gallons of water it uses every day, making sure that no dirty water filled with detergents finds its way into Cayman’s storm drains and from there into the water table.
Here in Cayman cars get a beating from the sun and salt spray and so without being properly washed regularly, new, expensive cars can deteriorate and lose their value fast: “People believe that cleaning the inside is important, but really, cleaning the outside is ten times as important,” Mr. Ebanks said.
There are several different options for customers. ‘Full Service’ at 26.95 is by far the most popular, and means an exterior clean followed by a thorough interior clean, with not only carpets vacuumed, but the dashboard and inside of the doors and windows are all carefully cleaned too, making the car feel new and shiny again. Then there is the “Express” service, starting at 13.95 for just the outside of the car. Everything is in line with the professional procedures of the Western Carwash Association of America, right down to the special, soft, high-tech brushes that wash gently without any kind of scratch or swirl on paintwork. It’s a small price to pay, really, for keeping your car in tip-top condition, and Auto Spa offers several cards that help you save money when you are a loyal customer.
In addition to the regular cleaning, Auto Spa offers a detailing service, which really brings your car up looking just like new. Inside the air conditioned room there is a trolley full of specialist preparations, from UV resistant wax polish to special application that makes yellowed plastic headlights clear again. Auto Spa’s staff are all highly trained, and you can see they take a real pride in what they do, but that seems especially true in the detailing room. The detailing service is more expensive, at between 200 and 300 dollars, but Mr. Ebanks believes it really can be worth it. Detailing means exactly that: Attending to every little detail, transforming the car into showroom cleanliness: “Waxing helps protect your car from salt, sun, acid rain; and shampooing the interior is really very important in maintaining value,” Mr. Ebanks said.
Auto Spa cares about cars, customers, and Cayman, and that means taking care of the environment and using our resources wisely. Mr. Ebanks has installed a state-of-the-art wastewater reclamation system, which recycles 85% of the water they use. “We put a lot of emphasis on the environment in this carwash, and we have a system at this carwash which we have now upgraded,” he said. The system is very ingenious and begins by catching all the water that falls onto the floor of the semi-enclosed car washing machine, and pumping it to the first of three tanks where it is spun around very fast, creating a mini water cyclone. The centrifugal force pushes the clean water out to the sides, but the mud and grit and dirt sink to the bottom of the tank. Then the clean water is put through a sand filter, and a carbon filter too, so that the final water is more than clean enough to be used again. The dirty water that is left over taken away to be properly processed before disposal. Visiting Auto Spa means that you are putting your car in safe hands, and stopping it deteriorate. But it also means you are helping Cayman’s future by supporting one of the businesses that really cares about the environment.