Why wash a car in an automatic wash?

Brush and automatic washes have always been popular due to their convenience and reasonable pricing. Nowadays, you can sign up for a monthly plan and have your car washed as many times as you want in an automatic wash. It’s easy and convenient. Brush washes can get your car almost completely clean, although occasionally a very dirty car may remain somewhat dirty. In brush washes, you can also choose wax or gloss wash. Have you ever wondered what you’re actually paying for? In this blog, we will go through the drawbacks of brush and hand washing as well as the benefits of hand washing.

Hand car wash.

Can a brush car wash damage the car?

The simple answer is yes. One might think that if the machine were brand new and absolutely clean, then it might be possible that your car would not get scratched or the paint damaged during the wash.
Usually, however, the brushes are old, unclean, and full of dirt. When you drive a dirty car into a car wash and the machine pre-washes it, the surface does not get sufficiently clean before the brushes go over your car. The dirt particles and other impurities in the brushes rub against the paint surface throughout the entire washing process. Have you ever tried what a snow brush does to your car’s paint? The same thing happens in a brush car wash. The brushes can significantly scratch your car.

The “wax” sold in car washes is intended only to aid in drying during the wash process. The “wax” helps with drying but does not provide any long-term protection to the paint. This is merely a sales gimmick.

Paint surface damaged by brush washing.

Hand wash drawbacks

An improperly done hand wash can damage more than an automatic brush wash. For example, if a brush is used during a hand wash, it can scratch worse than the brushes in machine washes. If you handle your car’s paint surface without being certain it is clean, this too will scratch the paint. A good rule of thumb is never to touch a dirty surface with anything. Use high-quality cleaning products in your wash and adhere to their mixing ratios. Ensure that the pre-wash is done correctly and that the car’s surface is clean before touching it with a soft glove. Always dry your car. Do not dry only a pre-washed car. This can also scratch your car’s paint surface.

The surface shines.

Washing a coated car in a machine?

If your car has a coating and you are considering using a machine wash, think twice. Ask the installer if machine washes are covered under the coating’s warranty. Generally, the warranty on the coating becomes void if the car is taken through a brush wash. A coating can be damaged by just one brush wash, and nothing will compensate for these damages. If a coated car undergoes a brush wash and you want to repair the damage, the entire car must be mechanically processed and re-coated. These costs can be substantial. If you still choose to use a machine wash, we recommend always using a touchless wash. The hydrophobic properties of the coating make touchless washing effective in removing dirt during the summer. Remember that your car occasionally requires a mechanical hand wash to remove the dirt film. During winter, touchless washes do not clean the car nearly as well as in summer.

Ceramic coating for Porsche.

Tapes and PPF in machine washes

When you apply tape or install a paint protection film (PPF) on your car, note that machine washes are not covered by the warranty for tapes and PPF. The brushes in machine washes and the high-pressure water spray can potentially damage the edges or seams of the tapes. Vinyl tape can easily scratch even after one wash. If machine washes are part of your washing routine, we recommend using only touchless washes without wax. However, this may not always be sufficient to clean your car thoroughly but will rinse off the worst dirt. Also, the chemicals used in machine washes are strong enough to leave nasty detergent residues or runoff on the tapes or PPF. The best care for tapes is always a hand wash performed by a professional.

Can an uncoated car be used in a machine wash?

The car’s paint surface gets scratched every time you use a brush car wash. A scratched surface no longer reflects sunlight in the same way as a flawless paint surface. This is why the shine of the car suffers.

If you are ready for your car’s shine to diminish and the risk of rusting to increase, then a brush wash is the right solution for you. The car’s paint surface is very sensitive, and even a light touch creates scratches on the clear coat. You can try this when your car is clean and touch the paint surface with your glove. You will see how every touch creates light scratches on the surface. You can imagine what hard and dirty brushes do to your car. The brushes rotate at a very high speed, rubbing against your paint surface.

We always recommend a hand wash performed by a professional. Do thorough research on the place where you are taking your car. By paying a little more for the wash, you save your paint surface from extra and unnecessary scratches. Take care of your car’s paint surface, and you will enjoy your car’s shine for longer. Scratches always require mechanical polishing, and the costs of this procedure are always high.

Car polishing.

Rare cases in car wash programs

We have seen many cars damaged by machine washes. Here we list the top 3 cases from machine washes.

Top 1. A customer had chosen a normal brush wash for their car. During the wash, when the brush was above the car, the entire brush mechanism fell onto the car, destroying the car’s glass roof, A-pillars, and windshield. The brushes of the brush machine had not been properly maintained, so the attachments had become loose. The gas station compensated the customer for everything. The car was out of use for several months.

Top 2. A customer chose a touchless wash at a gas station. The car had a full PPF (Paint Protection Film) installed three weeks earlier. The customer was aware that brushes were not good for the film. After driving into the automatic wash, the customer noticed that the brushes started spinning and washing the car as if it were a brush wash, even though the customer had not selected it. The entire PPF had to be replaced, and the gas station compensated for this.

Top 3. A car had undergone a 3-step polishing process and an expensive ceramic coating. The day after the coating, the car needed a windshield replacement. The customer mentioned in passing that the car had been coated but had not emphasized enough that the car should not be washed. The car was washed immediately in a machine wash after the customer’s departure. The car got scratched, and the coating was ruined. The car dealership paid for the removal of the old coating, the car’s polishing, and re-coating.

Do you want the work to be done responsibly, on schedule, and with the best value for your money? Ask for a quote from the professionals at Restyling Point, who do this with quality standards, values, and love.

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Restyling Point Ltd – The leading expert in wrapping and protection treatments in the Nordic countries