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Are car washes bad for your car?

  • Car Wash
  • Renee Martin
  • 6 minutes

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Are car washes bad for your car? Some car owners stay away from car washes fearing it can cause scratches on their car. In this post, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of different types of car washes out there to help you make an informed decision. Keep reading to know more.

Automatic car wash   

Automatic car washes have made the whole car washing process simple and hassle-free. All you need to do is park your vehicle onto a conveyor belt; it then takes your car through a tunnel – with brushes, hoses, towels – to get it squeaky clean in no time! The car washing process should take less than five minutes when you visit an automatic car wash near you.  

Automatic car washes – The pros     

Scientific and gentle: When compared to manual car wash methods, automatic car washes use scientific techniques to wash your car. What’s more, the state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality car wash products used in an automatic car wash are gentle on your car’s paint job.  

Affordable: You can get your car washed for affordable prices when you visit an automatic car wash near you. You can also get an unlimited monthly car wash subscription to save more.      

Saves you a lot of time: If you don’t have enough time to wash your car at home, automatic car washes are a great option. You can get your car cleaned in an instant without having to spend too much time.   

Automatic car washes – The cons  

Can cause water spots: In automatic car washes, the chances of water spots being caused are pretty high if older equipment is used. This is due to the inefficient cleaning and drying process.     

Scratches on the paint: Some automatic car washes still use abrasive brushes and bristles in the car wash bay. The worn-in brushes used in these car washes are more likely to cause scratches on your vehicle’s paint and can even damage your car’s clear coat.   

Cannot reach all spots: Automatic car washes cannot clean the nooks and crannies of your vehicle. The dirt in these unreachable spots over time can cause damage. 

Self-service car wash

Self-service car wash   

A self-service car wash is the best option to clean your car if you don’t have the right equipment or if you live in an apartment with a water shortage. Here are the pros and cons of a self-service car wash.   

Self-service car washes – The pros     

Access to professional car wash equipment: In a self-service car wash, you’ll have access to all professional car wash equipment to clean your car effectively. You no longer have to depend on a hose, driveway, and other household items to wash your car.   

Can control the process: You’re directly involved in the washing process in a self-service car wash, and you have control over the whole procedure. What’s more, it also gives you an unmatched sense of satisfaction.  

Self-service car washes – The cons  

Time-consuming: In a self-service car wash, a lot of time is spent on cleaning and drying your car since you’re doing it manually.     

Damage to your vehicle: Some self-service car wash stations have low-quality equipment and car wash products that can damage your vehicle. What’s worse, since you’re washing your own vehicle, one simple mistake can sometimes cause irreparable damage to your car.  

Touchless car wash  

In touchless car washes, high-pressure washers and strong detergents are used to clean the vehicle. As the name suggests, no equipment is in direct contact in a touchless car wash during the cleaning process. Therefore, the chances of scratches being caused are very minimal.   

Touchless car washes – The pros  

Time-saving: Like an automatic car wash, a touchless car wash is also a convenient and time-saving option. You can be in-and-out of the car wash station with a clean car in few minutes.       

Cost-efficient: A touchless car wash is affordable and wallet-friendly. On average, a touchless car wash will cost you between $10 to $15 for a single wash.   

Scratch-free: Since no equipment comes in direct contact with the car, the possibility of paint damage is minimal or none.   

Touchless car washes – The cons  

Not 100% perfect: In a touchless car wash, your vehicle is cleaned with minimal or no contact, therefore in cases, the dirt and grime are not entirely cleared off.   

Causes water spots: Touchless car washes use blowers to dry the vehicle. Sometimes incomplete drying can cause water spots on your car!    

Use of harsh chemicals: Some touchless car washes use harsh and strong chemicals to get rid of the dirt. These harsh chemicals can make your paint look dull, and over time can even damage your car’s clear coat.   

Hand car wash method

Hand car wash method

Are you someone who thinks car washes are bad for your car? Do you think a drive-thru car wash can damage your car’s look? Then clean your vehicle using the hand car wash method. You can visit a hand car wash near you or use DIY handwashing techniques to clean your vehicle.   

Hand car wash – The pros  

Close to perfection: Unlike a drive-thru car wash, a human mind and body are what’s at work in the hand car wash method. Therefore the results are usually close to perfect.       

Reach all spots: The hand car wash method lets you reach the nooks and crannies of a car where machines cannot reach. What’s more, for handwashing, all you need are a washing mitt, microfiber towels, and a water bucket. 

Hand car wash – The cons  

Can cause damage: Your car’s paint job can be damaged by the excessive scrubbing involved in a hand car wash. Also, if you employ improper hand-washing techniques, you can cause scratches and swirl marks on your car.      

Time-consuming: To get the best results, you need to spend a lot of time.        

Water wastage: In a hand car wash method, you end up wasting a lot of water. You can save a lot of water by visiting a drive-thru car wash near you.   

We hope the detailed analysis of each car wash method in this post will help you decide what’s best for your car. You can also use websites and apps like Way.com to book top-rated and affordable car washes near you.  

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 Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car.

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