By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you pull into a car wash, even the word sounds cheap: Basic. No wonder they always try to upsell us with names like, “Premium,” “Platinum” or “Ultimate.”

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So, are those car was extras in more expensive packages worth the money?

“’It’s smoke, mirrors, twinkle dust,’ I’ve heard it before,” said Mike Reget, owner of Park Lake Car Wash in Minneapolis.

“It’s real stuff,” he said from the back room of his car wash, where all of the Turtle Wax products are pumped out into the main car wash tunnel.

“This is the triple coat foam wax, this is the fun stuff to watch,” said Reget.

Indeed, the triple coat foam wax is fairly new car wash technology; the three colors are three different agents, one of which is intended to get the other two agents to bond together.

“Does a spray on wax work as well as a hand wax?” asked WCCO reporter Jason DeRusha.

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“It doesn’t, in the essence of the hand waxes today are very protective,” he said.

The spray wax does thin out the pores that form on the car’s paint surface. Clear coat protectant is similar. Not a wax, but a silicone polymer that fills in cracks.

Rust inhibitor is another thing that may not be necessary depending on the age of your car, according to Reget.

Those Spray Wheel Cleaners may be the least useful.

“Not unless it’s followed up with somebody with a towel and can wipe it off. It’s going to soften it up and loosen it up like we do,” said Reget.

All the upgrades and extras are real and do work. But are they necessary or worth the money?

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“It is your best wash at that point. Does it have to be every time you wash your car? No.” said Reget.

Jason DeRusha