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  • Writer's pictureExecutive Auto Detail

5 Problems Caused By A Poor Car Wash

People love their cars. We love the whole process, picking out and purchasing a vehicle, owning and driving that car. Some even love caring for their car or truck. If your automobile is clean, it can be a real pick-me-up. And we all agree, seeing a well-maintained car that shines in the sun is something anyone can appreciate. A dusty or dirty car is not as pleasant on the eyes. It should be no surprise that keeping our car or truck clean is so important in America.

The purchase of a vehicle for most people in America is one of the most expensive investments of their lifetime. Cleaner, well-maintained cars and trucks bring 10-20 percent more in resale prices. With a vehicle being such a significant investment, many need to keep their ride sparkly clean.

Car washes are at the top of the list for maintaining your vehicle. What method you take to wash your vehicle will have long-term effects on the exterior of the car. Most people fail to realize the impact car washes have. The automobile may become scratched or even have damage that has to be taken up by insurance claims. But, we're here to warn you about many problems found at car washes that many don't realize. Having your vehicle cleaned by a professional detail company can provide much longer laster benefits.

Going to an automatic car wash is much easier than doing the dirty work yourself. Even going to a serviced car wash with individuals washing your car for you might be faster than DIY'ing it. However, putting your automobile through chemical soaps, acidic washes, and untrained personnel is not the best way to preserve its value.

Below are some of the most common and destructive problems associated with car washes. And also how you can help protect your vehicle's paint long-term.

Common Concerns with Car Washes

Lack of Training

Taking your vehicle to a carwash with employees who lack training can also cause damage. All employees can have accidents happen, but some may lack proper training to handle issues that arise.

Types of Cleaner Used

A typical car wash uses strong chemicals to clean the vehicle. Many car washes use acid as the primary cleaning source. While it eats away fine particles from road debris to clean the surface, it is also extremely harmful to the paint if not removed immediately. The acid removes all protective wax and sealant layers, which are the layers that help keep the car's paint looking new and shiny.


The brushes used in car washes are typically very rough. Even if they are softer or large bands, as the automatic brushless car washes, it is still abrasive enough to cause scratches while it cleans. It's basically like cleaning your vehicle with a piece of sandpaper that slowly eats away at the car's paint. It will cause thousands of tiny scratches, with even the brushless washes, which will cause large amounts of damage to the paint over time.

Water Spots

After your vehicle goes through a car wash, water spots will remain in areas that are not completely dried. Because the water typically is not filtered, it can leave mineral deposits on the paint. Mineral deposits from water spots that dry too quickly can easily damage the paint - especially if it's a sunny day.

Drying After Wash

Many car washes will offer to dry your car after the wash, which does help avoid mineral deposits and water spots. But then you run into the problem of the rag that used to dry the car. What kind of cloth is it? Is it clean? Does it have bits of dirt in it from the previous car? The most common scenario is a cloth that is only partially clean, therefore drying your vehicle with a rag with particles of dirt in it, causing more paint damage.

How To Protect Your Vehicle's Paint

There are a variety of ways to protect the paint on your car. At Executive Auto, our favorites are paint protection film, ceramic coating, and vinyl wrapping. There are advantages to each one, and it all depends on the goals you have for your vehicle's appearance. You should be able to protect your car in the way you dream of, and we can answer your questions about all of that. There's no reason to belabor the point here, take a look at these articles for further information on each protection and color change option:


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