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Should I Take My New Car Through an Automatic Car Wash?

Taking care of your car is a debatable subject. I know some people that couldn't care less about how their car looks and I know some people that wash their car twice a week. In my opinion if you ever plan on selling your car, you should take some time to consider how you're washing your vehicle. There are many different ways to wash your vehicle and almost no one does it the safest way. The ways to wash include these:

  • Take through a automatic contact car wash

  • Automatic no contact wash

  • Hand wash at home with one bucket

  • Hand wash with the two bucket method

Why The Automatic Car Wash is Bad

Your car is covered in dirt and debris from being outside and being driven. As soon as you make contact with it, whether it's with your shirt or when you are washing it, you will put minor scratches or swirls in the paint. These scratches and swirls are what causes your car to lose its shine.

Why Contactless Car Washes Aren’t Good Enough

They are good in the sense that they won't add these minor imperfections to your paint, but it also won’t do a very good job at cleaning your car. You have to make contact with the paint if you want to actually clean your vehicle. I've seen countless times where cars get run through a contactless wash and there are multiple spots that are still dirty on the car.

Hand Washing Improperly is just as Bad as an Automatic Car Wash

Maybe not quite as bad, but pretty close. I am so against automatic car washes because so many cars get run through them and the same brushes are hitting car after car without being cleaned. Most people at home are going to fill up one bucket and use that on the whole car. This is not good for the paint let me tell you. I used to use dawn dish soap to clean my car without even knowing that it would strip any kind of protection that your paint has. The wheels of your car need their own designated bucket. The bottom quarter of your car and the wheels will always have the most caked on dirt. If you are cleaning off all that brake dust then using that same brush or sponge to clean the paint, you are doing a lot of harm you may not realise.

How To Properly Hand Wash Your Car

If you truly care about your new vehicle or if you just had a paint correction done and you don't want it to go back to how it looked before, I recommend hiring a detailer to maintain the washes on your vehicle. It doesn’t usually cost that much because detailers can get it done pretty quick. The way I recommend doing it at home is make sure you have at least two 5 gallon buckets. Clean the wheels first with a separate brush from the one you will use on the paint. After you are done cleaning the wheels, empty that bucket and fill it up again because you are going to learn the two bucket wash method. Now that you are working on the paint, after you clean a panel dip your mitt in the bucket that just has water and ring it out completely. This will remove as much debris as possible and then dip it in the soap bucket again and continue. Do this every time to prevent putting scratches in your paint.

A detailer will most likely have a foam cannon set up on their pressure washer that really minimizes the scratches they can add. When the foam sits on the car it actually lifts up the dirt and it will run off the paint making the contact wash a lot safer.

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