Studies have shown that 66 percent of Americans wash their cars between one to two times per month. But is a minimum of 12 washes per year good for your car in the long run? It depends on how you do it. 

If you want to keep your car clean but safe from any damage, it’s best to avoid automatic car washes. Read on to learn why they aren’t a good idea. 

They Affect Your Paint Job

After going through a car wash, you expect your paint job to look pristine, but the opposite is often true. The brushes used in car washes often hold debris from previous cars that may result in chipped car paint or car scratches. 

The dryers are also to blame. They don’t remove water completely, leaving water spots or swirls in your clear coat that often need to be polished away. 

Harsh Chemicals

Car washes use harsh chemicals to remove dirt, bugs, and grime from your vehicle. While they may get the tough stuff off, they also remove wax and fade other materials such as plastic or vinyl. 

They May Damage Your Engine

In most automatic car washes, you leave your engine running as you go through it. This has the potential to damage your engine when the cold water comes in contact with the hot engine and other electrical parts that power your car. 

If you must use an automatic car wash, choose one with an automatic conveyer system so you can shut your vehicle off.

Expensive Over Time

Most basic car washes start at around $10 per wash. If you’re visiting 1-2 times a week and opting for more expensive options, it will cost you at least $500 each year. At that price, you can detail a car and receive more value for your money

The Worst Type of Automatic Car Washes

Soft cloth car washes are the worst automatic car wash to choose from. The brushes hold onto debris from other vehicles, making them the most likely to damage your paint job.

If you have to choose an automatic car wash in a pinch, the touchless carwash is a better option. While they still use harsh chemicals, they’re less likely to damage your car than soft cloth or tunnel car wash options.

Alternative Ways to Wash Your Car

The best alternative to automatic car washes is to hand wash your car at home. At home, you are in control of the products used to clean your car and can keep it safe from damage.

If you don’t have all the supplies you need at home, the next best option is the do-it-yourself car wash where you get out and wash the car yourself.

Read more on how to hand wash your car at home like a pro. 

Car Damaged in an Automatic Car Wash? We Can Help. 

Automatic car washes are harmful to your vehicle, often causing damage to the paint job and sometimes resulting in worse problems. If your car was damaged in an automatic car wash, Detail Time can help.

We offer paint correction, detailing packages, and premium car wash services to have your car looking its best. Contact us for a quote today.