Drive-through Car Wash: Which to Use and Which to Avoid [VIDEO]
July 11, 2011
The need to maintain the beauty and extend the life and functionality of a car are the primary reasons why car washing has progressed through the years. Many car owners prefer the neighborhood drive-through car wash, due to its low rates and speedy services. But as with anything else, there are drive-through car washes to use and those to avoid.
Drive-through Car Wash: A Closer Look
There are basically two types of drive-through car washes: the automatic car wash, which uses cloths and brushes, and the touchless car wash, which uses lasers for cleaning cars.
The automatic drive-through car wash has been in existence for decades and you can see it in most gas stations or independent car washes. You simply choose the type of wash you want, drive your car towards the entrance and set it to neutral. Then, your car is pulled inside the tunnel, where an assortment of giant brushes, sponges, cloths, and hoses work on it. Towards the end, your car will be dried either manually or with huge blowers.
A drive-through car wash offers speed and economy. However, due to the number of cars that it has to clean every single day, the brushes, sponges and other equipment can get filthy and may transfer contaminants from one car to the next. Some car owners say that drive-through car washes do not do a thorough cleaning job and may even cause paint swirls and scratches.
A laser car wash, on the other hand, does not need those gigantic cleaning implements. All it needs is water and cleaning substances. Lasers guide the water and specifically aim it at different parts of the vehicle – roof, windows, doors, tires, etc.
As with the drive-through car wash, a laser car wash features cheap and fast cleaning. Some car owners report the same disadvantages – swirls, scratches and inefficient removal of dust, dirt and contaminants.
Which Should You Use and Which Should You Avoid?
Before using the services of a drive-through car wash, we recommend that you check the following:
- Water Treatment Systems
Although car washes are now required to have their own water treatment systems, some car washes do not treat the water enough to remove elements like salt and toxic chemicals from previous users. These substances can eventually cause paint damage and premature rusting.
- Cleaning Methods
Avoid systems that use high-pressure water and harsh detergents for removing dirt. This can potentially damage the finish of the exterior.
- Drying Methods
Watch out for the after-wash wipe-down. Most drive-through washes use a strong jet of heated air to force excess water off after the car goes through the wash.
- Cleaning Implements
Think twice when the drive-through car wash you are considering uses stiff brushes as these can cause paint damage, too.
As detailers who use hand car wash and steam cleaning, swirls, scratches, toughened dirt and grime are the most common issues we have to face on a daily basis. Sadly, these are usually the result of contaminated cleaning materials, harsh chemicals and improper cleaning methods. So, if you ask us which to use, we would say that, between the two, the touchless car wash is better. But if you really want to maintain the appearance of your car, give hand car wash and steam cleaning a try. Steam has enough power to dissolve tough dirt and grime, so there’s virtually no need for brushes. Schedule an appointment and experience what it’s like to have a super clean car.
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