A Few Simple Changes Can Save Your Car’s Paint

It happens to car all owners at some point in time that we find ourselves in need of a car wash and there is only one option: the automatic car wash.
We will admit, washing your car can sometimes be a major inconvenience or time investment, and doing it properly requires several tools that you might not have. Whether you’re in a time crunch or lack the ability to wash your car at your home or apartment, sometimes the automatic car wash seems like the only option – but chances are, if you’re not careful, you are actually ruining your car’s paint.

Many old fashion car washes use brushes that are extremely harsh to your cars paint and never cleaned, this means that any old dirt or abrasive material left on the brushes from previous vehicles is being haphazardly slapped onto your car, effectively scratching your car’s clear coat and damaging its beautiful shine.

Big city folk and apartment residence can rejoice in knowing there are still some tips and tricks to making a car wash work for you, without sacrificing your car’s paint.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 2, 2017: A man washes his vehicle at an EHRLE self service car wash. Dmitry Serebryakov/TASS (Photo by Dmitry Serebryakov\TASS via Getty Images)

Self Service Car Washes

Some car washes offer a self-service bay and provide many of the items you will need at a low cost. With two-buckets, some microfiber mitts and some car soap, you can find yourself a convenient location with pressurized water to give your car the safe soak it deserves. While this still requires you to spend the time to do the wash yourself, the quicker set-up and designated area mean that you can be in and out for what seems like less time than washing in your own driveway.

Touchless Car Washes

The next best option is to take your car through a completely touchless car wash. A touchless car wash means there is no brush that touches your car. The wash is completed using high pressurized water, and most of them offer extra features and perks for an additional cost, sometimes including a drip-wax, conditioning treatment, and courtesy drying to prevent water spots.

What to Watch Out for

‘If you find yourself driving around town and there is no touchless or self-service wash in town, sometimes a touch car wash is the only option, and while it may still damage your paint, there are still a few precautions you can take.

1.) Find a touch car wash that uses microfiber rollers or brushes. Traditional car washes use harsh, rough brushes that cause just as much damage to your paint as the dirt and grime that they grind in. While the microfibers can still spread debris, they are softer and more gentle on your car’s paint.

2.) Avoid hand-drying or towel drying. Anytime you touch a towel, brush or material to your car you risk damaging it. While it may seem logical that once your car is clean it is safe to dry off, a standard car wash does not remove all of the dirt on your car. Towel drying can still result in damage to your paint and even cause scratching.

3.) Leaving the car wash with your car wet. After your car is done drying, you have probably noticed those pesky little water spots all over your paint. While these are typically impossible to avoid after an automatic car wash, many car washes at least offer some type of air drying service. Take the maximum amount of time available to ensure your car is getting dried as thoroughly as possible to avoid and hard water spots.

2011 Automated car-wash. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

While it may sometimes seem ideal to make a pit-stop at your local car wash, the damage it can do to your paint after time is difficult to repair. To keep your paint in good condition and your car in tip-top shape, the only real way to guarantee a healthy wash is, of course, to do it yourself. If you want something done right…

You thought I was going to say do it yourself, didn’t you? Chances are, if you’re not using the two-bucket method, you aren’t washing your car correctly either. I know at this point it seems so pessimistic, but I promise this is the end. The best, safest way to wash your car is surprisingly simple and really only adds a few additional steps – but it’s definitely worth it.

To learn more about the two-bucket method there are several YouTube channels and sites that discuss it’s importance, or you can check it out here: