Banpo Bridge Car Wash

CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GARCIA

Korea car wash picture -- koreaye.com

Confession. I’m very, very, very bad at keeping my car clean. Oh, I run it through a car wash now and then when I run out of things to do to entertain the children. But more often than not, I rely on mother nature’s natural car wash (rain) to get the grime off my ride.  I know, for shame!

But mother nature isn’t cooperating with me here in Seoul, because during a Korean winter, it doesn’t rain; it snows.  And snowy, salty city roads are excellent at creating a nasty layer of yuck on one’s vehicle.  And when you don’t know where to get your car washed, it winds up looking something like this:

Korea --Car Wash dirty car -- Koreaye.com

Eww gross. In real life it looked much worse.

(But hey, pretty sweet Koreaye sticker there, no?)

I needed to find a car wash. Not the expensive hand-wash place my husband takes the car to, but something quick and easy that I could get done with the kids.  I’d heard there was a place near Banpo Bridge and that’s where I went.  

car wash SK -- koreaye.com

(Car wash picture taken through dirty car windshield.)

Three minutes out of the commissary gate and, bam, I was there. I rolled down the window and the friendly, English-speaking attendant told me I could get the exterior cleaned for 5,000 won and for the mats vacuumed for 1,000 won more.  Sold!

He directed me behind the building where another guy took my money, had me put my mirrors in and directed me on the conveyor belt thingy.  Make sure you’re in neutral ya’ll…and take your foot off the darn brake! 

Korea car wash no brake -- Koreaye.com

Here we go!

Korea  car wash brushes -- koreaye.com

I love going through a car wash!

After the car was washed I pulled up to their little tent, got out for a couple minutes while two guys vacuumed and wiped down the places the car wash machine brushes missed.  And that was it.  The whole process took about 10 minutes.

Korea  car wash vacuum -- koreaye.com

Look, my van’s happy and clean. I could practically feel her breathing a sigh of relief!

Korea car wash after -- Koreaye.com

Where do you go to get your car washed?  Do you have any recommendations or directions?

Directions:  Leaving the commissary gate turn right and veer left up the hill toward the Prugio apartments.  Stay in the right lane–you are driving like you are going under the bridge, not over it.  On the right hand side you will see an orange and red SK gas station.  That’s where the car wash is.  The car wash is behind the garage.

Price: 5,000 won exterior (machine car wash), 1,000 won vacuum

11 thoughts on “Banpo Bridge Car Wash

  1. Wendy says:

    How are you? We are considering taking our minivan to Korea, how does it work out for you? I hear that is very difficult driving big vehicles there.

    Thanks,

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  2. kelly says:

    We’re in Seoul and driving here is not a picnic no matter what kind of car you have. I drive a lot though since I live off base and I’m happy we brought our minivan. We can easily throw our bikes in if we’re going to the park or pack a bunch of people in to go on a trip together. Parking is a little tight. (If you don’t have one of those rearview camera things in your car I’d definitely consider having one installed.) But there are a lot of large vehicles on the road so you won’t be alone. 🙂

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  3. kelly says:

    Hi Arlyn! I think so. It’s a pretty sharp little turn around the back of the garage to the car wash machine…but my mini van made it. I think it should be fine in the car wash itself. If you go there, drive into the gas station part first, by the pumps. The attendant should be able to tell you for sure. (The man who helped me spoke excellent English.) Sorry that’s not more definitive! Let me know how it goes! 🙂

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  4. Tina says:

    THANK YOU!!! The snow, salt, and sand really trashes my car. Your directions were super easy to follow and accurate. Thank you for posting info for everyone to use!

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  5. kelly says:

    No problem Tina. That’s great to hear! Thanks for the feedback! Also, reminds me my car is about due for a wash. 😉

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  6. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this post Kelly! We are getting ready to ship our car and I was worried about finding a car wash.

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  7. Callie says:

    IAL is the DoD Contract, and is currently under a Class-Action Lawsuit filed by Service Members for Lost Vehicles, Late Delivery Times (they are contracted to 93% on-time Delivery. As of this summer, they were at a mere 67% on-time delivery rate), and Damaged Vehicles upon arrival. Our car was VERY late, arrived Damage (thank GOD I took photos when the process was complete, and the vehicle fully in IAL’s custodianship!), they never emailed us, they didn’t pay a proper amount to repair the vehicle in Seoul, South Korea (or in the USA, for that matter. I was quoted a minimum of $498.00 plus taxes and fees by East Coast, USA AutoBody shops. It was shipped from the East Coast. Here, I’ve asked Kia, but they refuse to work on a Japanese vehicle. Ours is a Scion), never contacted my husband by email, etc. That said, Camp Casey has listings on Facebook of used vehicles MUCH cheaper than those in Seoul (most USFK Yongsan are selling 20 year old vehicles for between $1,000 and $2,000 USD. Your vehicle WILL get damaged here. GUARANTEED. Tight Alleyways, irresponsible drivers and difficult conditions contribute to this. Ours has been scraped while parked (aka “hit and run”). There is CCTV here, but unless you file extensive police reports and know the time frame to review and file also with the city, difficult to obtain (On the other hand, if something happens in an establishment that has CCTV, the police WILL go with you to review footage. This happened once when a foreigner stole my former camera, unfortunately. Koreans will rarely steal things like that, as it is against their culture and honor system here, from my experience. ). Camp Casey’s Facebook selling pages has vehicles (same quality as Seoul has listed for USFK inspections, which conform to US emissions requirements, NOT Korean Emissions Requirements, which are less stringent) for between $300 and $600, average. Good Luck! That said, I still don’t regret shipping our vehicle here. I simply regret that IAL was contracted May 1, 2014. I shipped her out while home in USA on leave on Friday, May 16, 2014. They still weren’t ready to handle the paperwork, and their website wasn’t fully functional. Although the staff in Maryland were friendly (a relief!), most did not know what to do, and were unfamiliar with the “long form” for Republic of Korea shipments (luckily I had the requirements and everything else with me. I am notorious for maintaining a fine attention to detail and organization with paperwork, from my life and professional experience). It arrived here July 24, 2014 and we contacted them just the day before, again inquiring when it was expected to arrive (I was told 6-8 weeks, maximum). We picked her up AUGUST 8, 2014, damaged and filthy (I was required to have the car’s interior and exterior SPOTLESS. They claimed to have “cleaned” her. Then when I complained, they grabbed a rag to begin wiping the grit in, and caused further surface damage, on top of the multiple paint scratches. I told them to “stop, ANAYO” (Anayo: “Ah-nay-yo” means “NO!”. rarely used in Korean culture. They prefer “maybe, perhaps, possibly, etc.”. Qualifiers, rather than direct and absolute negation), and they did. Anyway, this car was is reliable and affordable, and there’s another on Seobinggo-ro just next to the Kia Motors Express Repair shop 🙂 They are wonderfully kind and nice. Even with our big dog walking every day (Koreans are generally afraid of black dogs to begin with. Add “Large Breed” to that, we got terrified screams of bloody murder first two months we were here. Now that they know he is kind and gentle and friendly, he has so many friends here, and makes new ones, young and old, regularly. Important to note: AMC, Air Mobility Command, flies animals for Service Members, up to 150lbs, for FREE. Osan AB, just a bit over an hour south of Seoul, is where they arrive from SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport), and occasionally Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman AirBase, Hawaii, and out of Travis AFB, California. Good Luck! Seoul is a WONDERFULLY AMAZING place to live! We’ve extended another 2 years (which will be a total of 4 years for my husband, minimum), and will stay longer if we are able. 🙂

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  8. Jackie says:

    2018 Update
    Car wash is still there, price is 4,000₩ for machine wash and they hand dry, we didn’t have them vacuum so I’m not sure on pricing.

    Like

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