Is It Bad For My Paint To Use A Car Wash
I have a new and I take it to the car wash about once a week but I’m not sure if this is bad for the paint or not.
It answer depends on the kind of car wash you are using, but to answer to your question is. Do not take it to the car wash because it is bad for your paint!
Having said that, let us take a quick look at the different kinds of car washes.
First, there is the tunnel wash with spinning “brushes”. You can spend all day polishing a car to perfection, and completely ruin it in one trip through this car wash. The brushes in this system are already abrasive and the addition of dirt from other vehicles that have past though prior to you have contaminated the brushes make the even more abrasive. Avoid these at all costs!
The “gentle” or “soft-cloth” car washes. These are made of soft cloth hanging vertically from the ceiling, and that agitate the surface of your car. They are gentler than the spinning brush tunnel washes, but they are still abrasive nonetheless! Once again, the “soft cloth” is not so soft because it is caked with abrasive debris from all of the other vehicles that have been there. The small amount of water sprayed to them between each wash is not enough to thoroughly clean and add lubrication to prevent scratches and marring. Avoid these as well.
The touchless, or laser wash. These do not get the surface of cars as clean, but they are far more forgiving than the other types of washes. They do not place swirls and marring in your paint that you get with the other types of washes. The biggest drawback to these however is that they use harsh chemicals to do the cleaning, and removing waxes and protectants from you paint. I would not recommend using them.
Now what about the places that do hand washes. If it’s a volume based place with an assembly line of people working there, you’re probably getting the same abrasive kind of wash as an automatic car wash would provide. Unless you find a professional detailer that is schooled in proper was techniques, it is going to be very difficult to receive a scratch-free wash. Detailers will often use a two-bucket technique that will clean the wash medium prior to touching the paint again.
If you have a place to do your own washing, I would highly recommend learning the latest washing and drying techniques to keep your paint looking its best. Improper washing and drying is the number one reason for swirls and scratches in paint!
The next bright sunny day look at your paint. Find a spot where you can see the sun on your vehicle and look at it. You may find scratches and marring in you paint from improper washing and drying. This will need to be corrected using some type of paint correction.