Kids love pretending to do all the same things as mom and dad, which are why car wash toys are a huge hit with the younger set. There’s a lot of cool ones out there, and they can vary pretty widely in size, age range and features. We’ve taken a closer look at the 12 best toy car wash sets to buy in 2019 as well as the most important features to watch for while making your choice.

Our Top Picks

Best overall car wash toy

Best Overall

Theo Klein Bosch Car Wash & Repair

Upgrade Choice Car Wash Toy

Upgrade Choice

Hot Wheels Gator Car Wash

How to Pick the Best Toy Car Wash Set

It’s not rocket science, but there are a few things to bear in mind if you want an emphatic ‘parent win’. When buying your kiddo a toy car wash set, this is what you need to consider.

1. Recommended Age

Car wash toy sets can be a fun pick for a pretty wide age range, but small kids will need something tailored to their abilities and motor skills while bigger kids need something that’s a little bigger and more interactive to stay interested. Being aware of a toy’s intended age range can assure you that you’re making an appropriate pick that your child will enjoy.

2. Type: Playset vs Activity Center

Car wash playsets come in two basic types. The first type range from small to medium-sized and can generally be used indoors or outdoors. They sometimes use real water, but it is usually in a small amount if so. The second type is large, outdoor only and almost always uses real water. Indoor playsets are great for giving younger children imaginative free play activities, while larger outdoor sets are great physical play and come in a variety of age-appropriate styles.

3. Interactivity/Batteries

If you’re a No Noisy Toys parent, this can make or break your choice. Beyond that, though, it’s just more convenient to know what a toy does and what it needs before it gets unboxed. There’s nothing quite as anticlimactic as a brand new battery-operated toy with no batteries. When you’re prepared, you can have everything you need on hand to keep the excitement alive.

4. Assembly Required

Again, knowing what you’re going to need to do with a toy makes a big difference. If it needs to be put together and it’s too complicated for the kids to do alone, putting it together beforehand out of view can save you a lot of hassle. If your kids are older and like helping, though, building the toy together can be fun. There are a lot of options for younger kids that don’t require assembly at all.

5. Real Water

There’s a lot of car wash playsets out there, allowing you to decide between the backyard hose-powered water style toys or ones that stay dry. Water toys can be a lot of fun, but if you’re looking for an indoor set, that’s sometimes out of the question. Smaller play sets are awesome for small kids, but don’t hold the attention of big kids as much. Knowing what you’re getting will make sure you make the right pick for your child.

6. Supervision Required

While some of these playsets are very simple with large, safe pieces, others are more complex. It’s important to know if supervision is required with any toy so that you can look after your child and make sure they stay safe while playing. You can count on supervision being indicated on all toys with a significant amount of water or small pieces.

The Winners

#1

Theo Klein Bosch Car Wash & Repair

Best Overall

The details on this super cute car wash and service center are really fun. Not only does the Theo Klein Bosch Car Wash & Repair look like the kind of place you’d get your European sports car fixed, it has a lift that kids can raise and lower as well as spare tires that can be used to change the tires of the included car. There’s also a car wash, featuring a closing door. Taking apart the small car and changing the tires is great for motor skills, and the stylish design makes it an extra fun addition to pretend play.

Recommended Age: 3 – 8 years
Type: Small plastic playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: No
Supervision Required: Yes, for younger children – the tires are small and could be a choking hazard

#2

Hot Wheels Gator Car Wash

Upgrade Choice & Best Car Wash toy with real wateR

This Hot Wheels Gator Car Wash Playset is large and in charge! Featuring the use of real water and a color changing car, the giant car wash looks more like an exciting water slide with a cool gator hanging out at the bottom. The set features moving rollers and brushes and a water tank for fun interactive and sensory play. It features an elevator, track, water tower and dunk tank and comes with one car that changes colors when wet. This toy was our pick for the best car wash toy with real water.

Recommended Age: 5 – 8 years
Type: Large indoor/outdoor plastic playset featuring real water
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: No

#3

Melissa & Doug Service and Car Wash

Best Budget Buy & Best for Toddlers

A great car wash set for little hands, this sturdy wooden toy by trusted manufacturers Melissa and Doug offers many opportunities for creative play. It can also help younger kids fine-tune motor skills. It’s portable, lightweight and doesn’t take up much space, so it’s a great take-along toy. The Melissa & Doug Service and Car Wash features a service station with a parking garage, gas pump and car wash, which offers a lot of imaginative free play opportunities and makes it our pick for the best car wash toy for toddlers. Two painted wooden cars are included with the playset.

Recommended Age: 3 to 6 years
Type: Small wooden playset, designed for younger children
Interactivity/Batteries: No
Assembly Required: No
Real Water: No
Supervision Required: No

#4

Hot Wheels City Mega Car Wash

The rugged City Mega Car Wash playset from the car experts at Hot Wheels has lots of fun features for kids to enjoy. It features an automatic conveyor belt with sponge rollers, real water play, a color changing car and a dunk tank. It’s quite interactive for a toy that has no batteries, and it’s spill proof, which means playing with water indoors can be a reality without too much of a mess.

Recommended Age: 4 to 8 years
Type: Medium sized plastic playset with real water, usable indoors or outdoors
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: No

#5

Barbie On The Go

Barbie is back on a new set of adventures with motorized On The Go playsets. This car wash playset’s motorized track can connect to other sets in the collection, and the track and decorative elements like palm trees and other fun beachy accents can be rearranged to facilitate creative play. It requires 3 AAA batteries for use, doesn’t use real water, and can be transported easily for playing with friends.

Recommended Age: 4 – 8 years
Type: Small plastic motorized playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Yes, Yes (3 AAA)
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: No
Supervision Required: No

#6

Fast Lane Color Change Car Wash

Cool and a little futuristic, the Fast Lane Color Change Car Wash playset combines lights, sounds and real water to create a fun car wash play experience for kids. A movable ramp allows kids to send cars through the water tank and drier and out the other side. It’s a good toy for sensory play and it’s compatible with most small car toys, which makes it very shareable with friends.

Recommended Age: 4 – 8 years
Type: Small plastic motorized real water playset with lights and sounds
Interactivity/Batteries: Yes, Yes(3 LR44 1.5V Button Cell)
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: No

#7

Little Tikes Wacky Wash

Great for outdoor play on a warm day, this fun, kid-sized inflatable car wash themed sprinkler sparks little imaginations. The Little Tikes Wacky Wash features an archway with fabric strip curtains on either side to mimic a car wash, and even includes a maker and blower for soap bubbles. The outside-only toy comes with the stakes you’ll need to secure it to the ground for safe play.

Recommended Age: 18 months – 18 years
Type: Large outdoor motorized real water playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, requires electricity for blower(cords included)
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: Yes

#8

Shopkins Splash ‘N’ GO Spa Wash

Best car wash toy for girls

The Shopkins toys are endlessly popular with kids, and girls will especially love the  Cutie Cars Splash ‘N’ GO Spa Wash playset. It features all the fun bells and whistles of small car wash playsets – ramps, real water action and a drying station – with some stuff girls will enjoy, like a deco and scent station for their color changing cutie cars. The set contains an exclusive color change cutie car and 1 matching mini Shopkin as well as a deco brush and a collector’s guide. Of the selections we looked at, we voted this the best car wash toy for girls.

Recommended Age: 5 – 15 years
Type: Small plastic real water playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: Yes

#9

Hot Wheels Inflatable Car Wash

This tall, colorful playset with real water action gives kids the opportunity to run through the sprinklers inside the bright, inflatable Hot Wheels Car Wash Play Center. Two top sprayers, two washing rollers and a spinning fan which are great for sparkling young imaginations and fostering creative play. The toy is an inflatable, but doesn’t require electricity – just your garden hose.

Recommended Age: 3+
Type: Large outdoor real water playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: Yes

#10

Motormax Twisters Color Wash

Cool and sleek, this color changing real water car wash set is awesome for sensory play. Icy cold water in the fun pump tank makes the two enclosed cars change color, and garage and ramp mechanics are great for refining motor skills in younger kids. The press action pump and stop and go signs add an extra touch of realism to this Motormax Twisters Color Change Car Wash playset.

Recommended Age: 3 and up
Type: Small plastic real water playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: Yes

#11

Playmobil Car Wash

Playmobil is a brand parents trust to provide safe, high quality products that stimulate the imagination, and this Playmobil Car Wash toy is a great example. Featuring real water use and moving rollers, it’s compatible both with other Playmobil toys and other small car toys. The simple but realistic design makes it a great inclusion in pretend play.

Recommended Age: 4 and up
Type: Small plastic real water playset
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: Yes
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: Yes

#12

Matchbox Hydro Car Wash Vehicle

The Matchbox Hydro Car Wash Vehicle is unique among these playsets as it comes with a toy truck that’s part of the washing process. Kids can have fun placing cars on the truck’s front lift, raising them and dunking them down into the water tank to be washed. It’s a fun way for kids to build motor skills and also provides opportunities for outdoor and creative play.

Recommended Age: 3 – 7 years
Type: Toy truck vehicle with lift and dunk tank
Interactivity/Batteries: Interactive, no batteries
Assembly Required: No
Real Water: Yes
Supervision Required: No

DIY, Craft and Décor Ideas for car lovin' kiddos

Car themed party ideas

Car and racing themed parties are a huge hit among little auto enthusiasts. They can be especially easy to decorate for if you’ve already got tons of toy cars, plus car wash play sets like the ones listed here are a great addition for kids to both look at as a decoration and play with.

Semi Truck Car storage

When you’ve got lots of little cars on hand, a semi truck car storage idea is the perfect solution. This epic DIY project will make your car loving kid extremely excited to actually put his little vehicles away. I know, right!

Car toy storage idea

DIY Home Car Wash

A washed out milk jug, plastic tub, sponges, shaving cream and water can come together into a fun DIY kids car wash toy they’ll want to play with over and over. Outdoor sensory play personalized to your child’s imagination is sure to be a hit.

DIY car wash activity

Quick Decision

Theo Klein Bosch Car Wash & Repair – Best Overall
This fun, realistic, interactive and stimulating toy is lots of fun and great for developing motor skills and hand eye coordination.

Hot Wheels Gator Car Wash – Upgrade Choice
A leg above other car wash toys in its class, this impressive track is big, fun and keeps kids interested.

Melissa and Doug Service Station and Car Wash – Best Budget Buy
Economical and fun, this playset offers a lot of features kids look for in car wash toys. Interactivity and real water action keep them interested, but the reasonable pricetag doesn’t break the bank.

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Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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