Burning Man: the ultimate car wash challenge
You might’ve heard about Burning Man. A festival in the middle of the American desert where it never rains. Except this year. Cars and campers were stuck in sticky mud for days on end. And when they were finally able to move again, they showed up in hordes at nearby car washes. Where they often were refused, simply because the cars were too dirty to handle.
Sierra Car Wash in nearby Reno said the clay coming from vehicles returning from the festival in the Nevada desert seriously damages their tracks, vacuums, brush and other systems, leading them to need to replace equipment.
According to Collyn Skeen, assistant manager at Sierra Car Wash, changing equipment costs them a lot of money. He recommends the so-called ‘burners’ to use a self-car wash first to wash off the larger pieces of clay.
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Many other car washes are not so reluctant to receive returning burners. Over the last couple of years, a few washes in cities like Reno, San Francisco and Los Angeles catered especially to returning burners to clean their dusty (and often rented) cars.
Some cars are hardly recognizable as such and require multiple trips through a tunnel before being completely clean. Therefore, some carwashes charge $100 for a dirty burner car. An amount many drivers are often very happy to pay, because otherwise they’ll lose their deposit at the car rental.
Not every car returned super muddy from the playa, this year. According to some returning burners the rain also came with an advantage. “This year, the rain washed everything off”, a visitor said.
The organization behind Burning Man comes with an extensive advice to clean your car after returning from the desert.
If you look at the gruesome images from this year’s edition, it’s doubtful if this year’s visitors will return next year.