Automatic car washes are a convenient, hassle-free and time-saving way to clean your vehicle.  But it may be doing more harm than good.

1.)  Spinning brushes WILL scratch your paint.  Many automatic washes have spinning bristle type brushes designed to loosen and remove dirt and debris.  Although effective, this process will often leave behind “swirl” marks or fine scratches caused by the dirt particles being slid off of the paint at high speed.  These particles can also remain on the bristles and continue to swirl your paint with each rotation.  Consider “touchless” automatic car wash options, where the high pressure jets move around your vehicle without touching your paint.  Or for best results, nothing replaces a hand wash with and quality wash mitt.

2.) Harsh chemicals can cause damage.  Many chemicals used in car washes are formulated to dissolve contaminates such as bird and bug stuff, brake dust and common road grime.  These same chemicals can also remove wax and cause premature fading of more fragile plastics and vinyl.  Even touchless washes can harm your vehicle in this way.  Consider choosing the basic wash options where most likely only a common soap will be used.  Your car and your wallet will be a little happier.

3.)  Moving apparatus is designed for MOST vehicles.  The machines, brushes, spray arms, etc used in most washes now are have safety mechanisms to prevent them from getting TOO close to your vehicle, but they can still damage your vehicle’s exterior.  Windshield wipers (especially the rear wipers on many SUVs, antennas, rear view mirrors and emblems are particularly vulnerable to being “caught’ by the machine and potentially damaged.  In addition often the machines to do quite reach all areas of your vehicle, particularly pick-ups and SUVS, leaving you with a partially washed vehicle.

4.) Drying options.  The air dryer will usually not remove all water which can cause water spots that may later have to be removed by polishing.  And always avoid the option to have your vehicle dried by hand.  While this might seem like a great alternative to water spots, drips and runs that the air dryer doesn’t get.  The towels often used will further “swirl” your paint through improper techniques and too much pressure applied in a very speedy fashion.

5.) Wheel alignment rails.  Many drive-through type washes still have a rail system the catches your tires and pulls your vehicle through the wash.  Many of these rail systems can damage your wheels on the inside and outside.  And you may inadvertently have the wheel not completely straight.  Wheel damage can be a costly repair and damage done on the inside may go unnoticed causing a lack of integrity in the wheel and/or possible air loss.

You vehicle’s paint can be easily damaged through improper care and maintenance.  Detail Pro Shop specializes in paint protection with a variety of options to meet almost any budget.  And we can help with products and services to help you maintain your vehicle for the long term.  Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced team members.

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