car wash damage paint

Do car washes ruin car paint?

There’s nothing like the look of a freshly washed car. Often times we don’t even notice how thick the grime has got until we take the car for a bath. Then voila! It’s practically restored to its natural beauty.

We often get asked how to keep a paint job safe while keeping a car clean. People wonder how safe automatic car washes really are for a vehicle’s paint job. They can seem pretty aggressive! So what’s the deal – do car washes ruin a vehicle’s paint?

The short answer is… no. Not usually. Probably not. In fact, they are usually the safest form of car wash there is. (The real question is… how effective are they? We’ll get to that.)

What is more likely to ruin a car’s paint job is actually a poorly done home wash. When washing a car at home, a person is more likely to use soap that can deteriorate the resiliency of the paint. Many people think that dishwashing liquid soap is essentially the same as car-specific soap. It’s not!

Another mistake people commonly make at home is that they wash their car in direct sunlight, which can soften the paint and lead to water spots.

And at home, people often use sponges with an abrasive side, which can easily damage the paint, especially if they are scrubbing off some stubborn spots like old bird droppings or tree sap.

This is not to say you shouldn’t wash your car at home. Just be sure to use the right soap and a soft sponge. If you can wash it in the shade, all the better, and to dry it, use a soft cloth or rag like an old t-shirt.

Automatic car washes are actually designed to go easy on your car. Those companies would never be able to stay in business if they were dealing with unhappy customers. The thing to watch for with automatic car washes is that they often only get the surface layer off (if that!) and don’t do much for some of the older, caked on grime.

The add ons are also something to be weary of. Most car washes give you a decent deal for the base price, but the total cost can quickly add up once you start adding delux packages, waxing, tire coating, and all the other extras.

Besides, these extras are often pretty ineffective. A spray wax job is no substitute for wax that is hand applied. And all the other foams, soaps and coatings are not likely to do much to the overall cleanliness of the vehicle.

So what’s the best approach that will both protect your paint and get the job done?

Why not try a combo? Go through the automatic car wash, and then finish the job at home with a soft sponge and rags. This way you can get into all the hard to reach places and really spend time getting some of the more difficult scuzz off.

Now, too, you can carefully apply that wax coat that is actually going to do wonders for protecting your vehicle’s paint job. This layer will help block the sun’s UV rays, and will protect it from debris and all the other things coming to eat away your car’s paint.

If you have some questions or need paint touch-ups, feel free to bring it to Grandcity auto body shop in Vancouver. Our skilled technicians will be happy to help.