Automatic car washes are designed for convenience, speed and cost saving. They consist of a system of water jets and scrubbing brushes built at different angles.
These jets spray water, soap and then water again to wash your car. Some automated systems also blow hot air onto the vehicle for drying.
The entire system is automated and treats every car as the same. Needless to say, an automated car wash is far from perfect and may even be detrimental to your vehicle.
Why Automatic Car Washes Do Not Work
On first glance, automatic car washes seem like the perfect solution. Simply driver through the system slowly and let the auto jets take care of everything.
However, anyone who has used them more than a couple of times can tell you the many problems that automatic car washes leave behind.
Abrasive and Dirty Brushes/Bristles
Most car washes have abrasive brushes that move on rollers and grind against your vehicle’s body. If you have custom detailing on your ride, these brushes can mess it up.
The brushes can also cause damage to lights, wipers and side view mirror if you are not careful on how you drive through the car wash.
If you use a commercial car wash with an automated system, the brushes are also likely to be dirty from previous car washes. They can add more dirt to your car than they remove.
Car washes are busy and they don’t have the time to thoroughly clean their brushes/bristles between each wash. If the vehicle prior to yours was particularly dirty, some of the dirt will rub against your car.
Low Grade Cleaning Soap
Automatic car washes are built to make car cleaning cheaper, quicker and more convenient. Quality of the cleaning chemicals is not always a priority.
If you use a commercial automatic car wash, chances are that the service is using a low cost product to increase their bottom line. Low grade chemicals contain strong acids. They don’t just remove dirt but also any protective coating like wax or sealants that you have used on your car.
Pressure Water Jets
Brushes are not the only component that can damage your vehicle. Automated car washes use powerful jets to ensure dirt and grime are removed from your car.
The strong water pressure can also damage vehicle parts like antennas, wipers and customized detailing.
If your vehicle has a lot of dirt on the body, the water pressure may push the dirt into the paint, instead of removing it. The strong pressure may also cause the paint to peel off or cause scratches on the body.
If your vehicle is old with small hairline cracks and chips on the body, the intense water pressure will make them much larger.
Some of the more advanced car washes have become completely ‘contactless’. No brushes are rubbed against the body paint in an effort to protect it. The entire car wash is performed through water jets and hot air blow dryers.
However, these automated carwash strategies can be ineffective at times. If there is grime stuck to your vehicle there is a change that it will remain on the vehicle’s body even at the end of the car wash.