Aside from all of the benefits that come from ensuring your car is regularly cleaned, there are also a number of important reasons why you should wash your car yourself instead of taking it to an automated or hand car wash for example. Automated car washes that are usually found at most petrol/gas stations and forecourts are not designed to effectively or safely clean your car in any way. Instead, they are designed to allow as many vehicles to pass through in the shortest time possible, allowing for greater profit margins for the owner.
To begin with there is no real pre rinse or pre wash stage to remove loose dirt before your car enters. Large rollers spinning at high speed begin to ‘wash’ your car and simply rub all the dirt and grit particles that haven’t been removed into your cars paintwork and surfaces. It should also be noted that before your car entered, a large number of other dirty vehicles will have been through the same process so the grit and contaminants picked up from these cars by the rollers is now also being rubbed all over your car.
This results in a mass of swirl marks and light scratches and you can usually tell a vehicle that has been through an automated car wash as the surface will be covered in tight linear scratches running the length of the of it, that have been inflicted by the spinning, dirty, harsh rollers.
The rollers also have the potential to inflict other damage to your car by pulling off pieces of trim, damaging wing mirrors, radio aerials and spoilers for example. You do not know what products are being used on your car if it is taken through an automated car wash. Usually it will ‘clean’ your car with strong, chemical based bulk products that will remove any protection that may have been applied to your vehicle, and may even damage delicate surfaces of your vehicle.
After your car has been washed in there is usually a large blower that attempts to dry your vehicle but inevitably in the time it takes to complete the process there will still be plenty of water left on your car.
If you then pull out into the sun after this process the water and harsh chemical product residue will dry onto your cars paintwork and surfaces, leaving unsightly marks that may prove difficult to remove. When considering the cost of using an automated car wash it’s not surprising that the treatment received is basic and low quality. It’s best to avoid these type of car washes even if that means your car doesn’t get cleaned, as they will almost certainly inflict more damage on your car than leaving dirt and contaminants sitting on it for a few more days until you are able to clean it properly yourself.
Hand car washes may offer a more thorough job than automated car washes but unfortunately they too suffer similar disadvantages. Hand car washes, like automated car washes are not necessarily designed to safely clean your car and achieve the best possible results but to ensure that every car enters and exits adhering to strict time constraints in order for the owners to make a profit. This is usually why there is a different person performing each part of the wash process and while this may seem efficient it’s most likely damaging your car in the process.
Like an automated car wash when you enter a hand car wash the products and tools will have been used to clean a number of dirty cars before yours and will not have been sufficiently cleaned in between (if at all). A hand car wash cannot afford to refill wash buckets/troughs for every vehicle that enters, so again you are getting contaminants and grit worked all over your cars paintwork and surfaces.
The majority of hand car washes also use sponges and chamois leathers for washing and drying instead of wash mitts and micro fibre towels, inflicting more swirls and light scratches. Again it’s best to avoid taking your car through a hand car wash and instead leave your car dirty for a little while longer until you are able to properly and safely clean it yourself.