Perk? Pointless? Laziness Enabler? Ford Offers Amazon In-car Deliveries, On-demand Car Washes

With e-commerce being the new hotness for automakers, Ford is busy working to grow FordPass as a service. Though slow to start following its 2016 launch, the company had done a decent job of expanding its utility — it seems every time we speak to someone at Ford, there’s a new feature about to be implemented. One of the biggest upgrades brought Amazon’s Alexa into Ford vehicles as a voice-enabled digital assistant — a feature used by other automakers.

Ford now plans to further expand FordPass (and its partnership with Amazon) by allowing in-car deliveries via Key by Amazon. It also says it will enable customers to order traveling car washes from Spiffy, Rub A Dub and Sparkl — likely to highlight how FordPass and Lincoln Way can be integrated with other apps, hopefully resulting in new business opportunities.

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Automated Cars Are Not Able to Use the Automated Car Wash

We’ve been cautiously optimistic about the progress of autonomous driving. The miraculous technology is there, but implementing it effectively is an arduous task of the highest order. A prime example of this is how easy it is to “blind” a self-driving vehicle’s sensors.

TTAC’s staff has had its share of minor misadventures with semi-autonomous driving aids, be it during encounters with thick fog or heavy snow, but truly self-driving cars have even more sensitive equipment on board — and all of it needs to function properly.

That makes even the simple task of washing a self-driving car far more complicated than one might expect, as anything other than meticulous hand washing a big no-no. Automated car washes could potentially dislodge expensive sensors, scratch them up, or leave behind soap residue or water spots that would affect a camera’s ability to see.

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Your Dirty Questions Answered at The Car Wash Show 2017

Some trade shows embrace the purist of missions, refraining from creating pointless content in hopes of mindless media coverage. The Car Wash Show caters to professionals in the car-care business with nary a sensationalist notion and not an autoblogger in sight on the show floor. This show isn’t about clicks, reach or engagement.

Which was precisely why I attended, embedded with my Mumbai-based cousin in the trade to learn more.

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Submit Questions for The 2017 Car Wash Show!

That’s right, there’s an annual Car Wash Show.

And, of course, it’s in Vegas.

Next week, I’ll be knee-deep in cleaning supplies, equipment and professional services offered to the car wash industry. And I need your assistance to get the most from this opportunity.

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Piston Slap: Hands-on Questions for the Touchless Car Wash?

Seth writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve admired your columns from afar for years, as a non-commenting TTAC reader. I especially appreciate your tenacious appreciation, possession and maintenance of cars you love. My automotive life is not nearly as exciting or robust.

While I love my cars, with two small children, a wife and a full-time job, I only have time and money for two at a time (his and hers). I aim to keep them for at least 10 years each. So, I obsess over the scratches and dents knowing I’ll be stuck with them for that long. Ridiculously, I even worry about scratches from washing them.

Which brings me to my question: What’s the best automatic car wash to use to minimize paint damage?

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Florida Car Wash Helping Homeless Off the Street

A Florida pastor is helping homeless, unemployed and ex-convicts make money by washing cars at a gas station parking lot, WTSP in Tampa is reporting.

The woman who started the car wash, Dr. Mentha Thomas, says she started the business to help locals get back on their feet.

“To me, that hits your heart. That’s a sad place to be unless somebody helps you,” she told the news station.

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Saskatoon Strippers Protest Law With Charity Car Wash

Strippers who are peeved about Saskatoon’s recent law banning peeling in bars held a charity car wash Aug. 16 to benefit breast cancer — and protest the new law — CTV is reporting.

Dancers from the Pink Champagne Girls company say a court reversal of a law that allowed them to strip down to their underwear in March is hurting their business. The company said it raised $600 for charity from the car wash.

“It’s kind of a boobs-for-boobs thing. We thought it would fit in nicely,” Emily Kempin, owner of the Pink Champagne Girls, told CBC.

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Garden City, NY Man Threatened By Police Over Washing Car In Own Driveway

A Garden City, NY man was visited by law enforcement and threatened with a ticket as he prepared to wash his 1997 Volkswagen in his own driveway.

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Tales From The Cooler: Is Mercedes-Benz All Washed Upton?

Our Managing Editor is losing sleep over the imminent collapse of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand images due to their upcoming sub-$30,000 models. When you are finished with your 27th viewing of Benz’s sneak peek at their Super Bowl ad above, let’s discuss.

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Piston Slap: a Camry Car Wash Conspiracy?

Scott writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Recently I took my 1999 Toyota Camry (2.2L 4-cylinder) to a touchless car wash with underbody sprayers. This was a car wash that I used often, so I had good luck with it until this one particular day. Prior to getting it washed the Camry ran fine all afternoon, including during the wash.

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Buy Nine Car Washes, Get One Sex Free

A massage parlour and a car wash outlet in the Sunway Mentari suburb of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, engaged in a flourishing joint venture until it was disrupted by police last week. After nine car washes, customers received a free detailing – but not of the car.

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Piston Slap: Because You're Worth It?

TTAC Commentator jkross22 writes:

Sajeev, I’ve got a question for you. I took my car in for a warranty covered service (oil and brake fluid change) and the dealer suggests I have a fuel injection service done along with an alignment. The FI service is $260 and the alignment is $290. I’m driving an ’07 3-series wagon.

I can’t imagine why they would recommend an FI service other than to help pad dealer profit, and the alignment cost at the dealer is literally double what Firestone charges for the same thing. There is no drivability problem, but this is the 2nd time this dealer has tried to sell me on this FI service.

They have posters of it in their cubicles to ‘educate’ the unwashed masses about the dangers of dirty fuel injectors. It’s actually pretty funny. What gives on the FI service and is this something that is actually needed… ever?

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My Chinese Car Is Bigger Than Your Western Car

There is an interesting analysis on Chinacarforums: China-produced Western cars tend to come out bigger than their Western siblings. Especially at the higher end. A made-in-China Cadillac STS is 124mm longer than the U.S. sister model. The wheelbase grew by 100mm. A Chinese Audi A6 L has gained 97 mm in length over the Made-in-Ingolstadt relative. A BMW 5-series, made at the Chinese joint venture with Brilliance, has gained a whopping 140 mm in length and wheelbase over the Bavarian model.

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.
  • MaintenanceCosts Chevy used to sell almost this exact color on the Sonic, Bolt, and Camaro, as "Shock." And I have a story about that.I bought my Bolt in 2019. Unsurprisingly the best deal came from the highest-volume Bolt dealer in my very EV-friendly area. They had huge inventory; I bought right when Chevy started offering major incentives, and the car had been priced too high to sell well until that point.Half the inventory had a nice mix of trims and colors, and I was able to find the exact dark-gray-on-white Premier I wanted. But the real mystery was the other half of the inventory. It was something like 40 cars, all Shock on black, split between LT and Premier. You could get an additional $2000 or so off the already low selling price if you bought one of them. (Neither my wife nor I thought the deal worth it.) The cars were real and in the flesh; a couple were out front, but behind the showroom, there was an entire row of them.When I took delivery, I asked the salesman how on earth they had ended up with so many. He told me in a low voice that a previous sales manager had screwed up order forms for a huge batch of cars that were supposed to be white, and that no one noticed until a couple transporters loaded with chartreuse Bolts actually showed up at the dealer. Long story short, there was no way to change the order. They eventually sold all the cars and you still see them more often than you'd expect in the area.