Self Service Car Wash: 2002 Toyota 4Runner


Toyota 4Runners are known to be one of the most durable and resilient sport utility vehicles available to the masses. Interestingly, the 4Runner equivalent truck (called the Hilux in certain countries) have been the vehicle of choice of rebel fighters in recent decades. This speaks volumes to the trustworthiness of these Toyotas. As the old Australian adage goes:

If you want to drive into the Outback, drive a Land Rover. If you want to get out, drive a Toyota.

The below example is of a 3rd Generation Toyota 4Runner that has over 230k miles and is still running strong. It has been an incredibly reliable and continues to run to this day. Although there are small problems that arise from time-to-time, it is usually a bulb that needs replacing or some other minor issue that becomes apparent in a high mileage vehicle.

3rd gen toyota 4runner car wash  3rd gen t4r

I had the car for about a week and I started by washing the car at a self-wash car wash (try saying that three times quickly.) Normally I don’t like to use these types of car washes since the water gun can be quite powerful and the soap brush may have small rocks and dirt that can scratch the car’s glass and paint. However, if the car is quite old and has not been detailed in a long time (or ever for that matter), then I usually start here to get as much dirt, oil, and grime off before doing anything major.

3rd gen toyota 4runner car wash  3rd gen toyota 4runner car wash

As you can see, just a quick wash can really clean up the car. If I owned this vehicle, I would have started with this wash, then gone with a hand wash at home to clean off anything else that may have been missed. That would be followed up with a clay bar, compounds (depending on how clear coat is), glaze, polish, and finally a wax.

But with a car like this, do you really need to make it shine like a showroom car? If you actually use your car for its intended use, it maybe unnecessary to get that paint shining perfectly. In this case, I’d skip the heavy compound and glaze if I didn’t have the time and still end up with a very clean car.