Though they can save time and hassle, are car washes bad for your car? And if you hand wash your vehicle, are you cleaning it effectively enough? In many instances, a car wash is the safest course of action, but for others, they swear that hand washing is the only way to go. Having said that, let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of car wash options, and how they can affect your vehicles paint and appearance.
The Truth About Car Washes
Soft Cloth Wash
The “soft-cloth” car washes are made of soft cloth hanging vertically from the ceiling. The problem is that they barely agitate the surface of the vehicle. They are considered to be a more gentle option, than one of the spinning brush tunnel washes, but don’t be fooled; they are still abrasive and can cause damage! The ‘soft cloth’ ends up getting caked with abrasive debris and grime from all of the other vehicles that come through. The soft pads aren’t sprayed in between each wash thoroughly enough to properly clean them before the next car. So while they can help brighten your shine, soft cloth washes barely scratch the surface.
The Tunnel Wash
The spinning “brushes” are what is more commonly referred to as the tunnel wash. These are fairly abrasive washes for your car’s exterior. The dirt and debris from all of the other vehicles also get wiped onto your car at a high rate of speed. These are probably the least beneficial to your car or truck.
The touch-less, or laser washes are far more safe than the other types of washes. Though they don’t always get vehicles as clean as a cloth or tunnel wash, they do a pretty good job and don’t damage the paint as bad. The biggest downside to these washes, however, is that they can use harsh chemicals to do the cleaning portion so effectively, so depending on the products being blasted onto your vehicle, you might want to limit how often you use this option.
Professional Hand Wash
If you’re stopping at a place with an assembly line of people working there, then they’re probably using the same abrasive kind of soap and scrubbers as an automatic car wash uses. Find a professional detailer that is educated on the 2-bucket method of car washing, or who also incorporates pressure washing with clean, filtered water and custom detailing. These services help keep your car looking fresh and with the least amount of harm to the paint and exterior.