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Are Automatic Car Washes Bad? Should You Use them?

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Have you ever used an Automatic Car Wash before? I’m willing to bet that you have. It’s OK, there is no reason to be ashamed of this.

It’s completely understandable. Not all of us have the time, to Hand-Wash our Vehicles. Life gets in the way, and unexpected things happen.

Most of us will never find the extra time, to Hand-Wash our Vehicles. Automatic Car Washes can help us out with this. They are very convenient, easy to use, and usually inexpensive.

But the two Questions you should be asking yourself are, “Are Automatic Car Washes Bad? Should You Use them?”. Let’s discuss.

Automatic Car Wash Types

Like most things in life, we have choices, when it comes to Automatic Car Washes. There are more than one type, but we won’t be covering all types here. The different types, of Automatic Car Washes, which we will cover here are:

  • Soft Touch
  • Touchless
  • Standard (A.K.A. Hope you have paint left, on your Vehicle, when you exit! LOL)

Soft TouchAre-Automatic-Car-Washes-Bad-1

Soft Touch Car Washes are what I use, if I don’t have time to hand-Wash my ride. The Soft Touch Car Wash will start by applying a “Pre-Rinse” Agent/Detergent, which will loosen the Dirt, and Grime, on your Vehicle.

Then, the Soft Touch Car Wash will “softly” touch/scrub your Car, using soft cloth-like materials. While the Soft Touch Car Wash is softly touching & scrubbing your Vehicle, it will simultaneously blast away the loose Dirt, and Grime, with High Pressure Water, and Automotive Soap.

After, the Soft Touch Car Wash will Rinse your Vehicle, using a “No-Spot” Rinse, to help prevent Water Spots, from forming, when the Water dries, on your Vehicle. Lastly, the Soft Touch Car Wash will blow-dry your Vehicle, using a large Blower.

What you have to be on the look out for, is a Good Quality Soft Touch Car Wash. They are not all created equal. You can usually tell a Good Soft Touch Car Wash, from a bad one, by the way the Owners take care of their building, and equipment.

If the building looks newer, and maintained, you should be OK. If it looks run down, and not neat and tidy, it’s probably not being mechanically maintained either. I would definitely avoid Soft Touch Car Washes that do not look maintained, since they could damage your Vehicle’s paint.

If the Soft Touch Car Wash applies the wrong amount of chemicals, it could also damage your Vehicle’s paint. If the Owners didn’t keep the “Soft” cloth-like materials cleaned, and in good condition, it could scratch your Vehicle’s paint.

Touchless

I’m not going to say that I never use Touchless Car Washes. If I don’t have the time, to “Hand-Wash”, and I am not near one of my preferred Soft Touch Car Wash Locations, I will use a Touchless Car Wash.

Similar to the Soft Touch Car Wash, the Touchless Car Wash will start by applying a “Pre-Rinse” Agent/Detergent, which will loosen the Dirt, and Grime, on your Vehicle. Then, the Touchless Car Wash will blast away the loose Dirt, and Grime, with High Pressure Water, and Automotive Soap.

After, the Touchless Car Wash will Rinse your Vehicle, using a “No-Spot” Rinse, to help prevent Water Spots, from forming, when the Water dries, on your Vehicle. Lastly, the Touchless Car Wash will blow-dry your Vehicle, using a large Blower.

Again, similar to the Soft-Touch Car Wash, what you have to be on the look out for, is a Good Quality Touchless Car Wash. They are not all created equal either. You can usually tell a Good Touchless Car Wash, from a bad one, by the way the Owners take care of their building, and equipment.

If the building looks newer, and maintained, you should be OK. If it looks run down, and not neat and tidy, it’s probably not being mechanically maintained either. I would definitely avoid Touchless Car Washes that do not look maintained, since they could damage your Vehicle’s paint.

If the Car Wash applies the wrong amount of chemicals, it could also damage your Vehicle’s paint.

Standard

What exactly is a Standard Car Wash? A standard Car Wash is neither a “Soft Touch”, nor a “Touchless” Car Wash. Similar to the other types of Car Washes, the Standard Car Wash will start by applying a “Pre-Rinse” Agent/Detergent, which will loosen the Dirt, and Grime, on your Vehicle.

Then, the Standard Car Wash will scrub your Car, using some sort of scrubbing materials. Note that you can’t be sure if these Materials will harm your Vehicle, or not, since they usually don’t state “Soft-Touch”, or “Soft-Scrub”, anywhere on the Car Wash.

While the Standard Car Wash is scrubbing your Vehicle, it will simultaneously blast away the loose Dirt, and Grime, with High Pressure Water, and Automotive Soap. After, the Standard Car Wash will Rinse your Vehicle, using a “No-Spot” Rinse, to help prevent Water Spots, from forming, when the Water dries, on your Vehicle.

Lastly, the Standard Car Wash will blow-dry your Vehicle, using a large Blower. Note that some Standard Car Washes may not offer the drying feature.

If you are willing to take the chance, on the Standard Car Wash, and you have no other choice, please pay attention, to the way the Owners take care of their building, and equipment. If the building looks newer, and maintained, you will be better off.

If it looks run down, and not neat and tidy, it’s probably not being mechanically maintained either. I would definitely avoid Standard Car Washes that do not look maintained, since you run the risk of damaging your Vehicle’s paint, even more than what a Standard Car Wash may already do, due to the lack of “Scratch-Free” Scrubbing Materials.

If the Standard Car Wash applies the wrong amount of chemicals, it could damage your Vehicle’s paint. If the Owners didn’t keep the scrubbing materials cleaned, and in good condition, it could scratch your Vehicle, even more, than what the non “Scratch-Resistant” Materials may already do.

It’s Really Up To You

In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of Standard Car Washes. I have had too many issues, in the past, with my Vehicles being damaged, as a direct result of using these “Standard” Car Washes.

I highly recommend a Good Quality Soft Touch Car Wash, as an alternative to hand washing your Vehicles, if you don’t have time to do so. I also recommend using a Good Quality Touchless Car Wash, if you can’t find, or don’t have access to, a Good Quality Soft Touch Car Wash.

Ultimately, your choice of Car Wash is really up to you, but please avoid the Standard Car Washes, if at all possible. You want to keep that Ride looking new, for as long, as possible.

Hopefully, this Article has given you some insight, into the world of Automatic Car Washes, and helps you choose the appropriate Car Wash, for your situation. Please stay tuned, to learn about more topics, tips, tricks, product reviews, etc.

As always, If your have a particular question, or comment, please feel free to ask it below.

Have a Great Day,

Jeffrey


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Jeffrey

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