Who hadn't seen this ingenious hint handwritten on a layer of grime on someone's (or maybe our own) auto? Familiar story, right? When your car gets dirty, what’s your go-to routine? Do you run it through an automated wash and a scrub-down? Or maybe you’re the type of vehicle owner who prefers to do the job himself and washes, waxes, and dries the car till it shines like sun? Everyone has his favorite option dealing with the car washing and keeping it clean. There are pros and cons to either of them presented below to help you choose your own car washing method.
Automatic Car Wash
For a busy vehicle owner, the biggest advantage to an automatic wash is the fact that most will take only 5-10 minutes to complete. Whereas a hand washing, even when rushed, will take between 20 minutes to an hour or more.
It's important to know that drive-in systems typically come in two types that can affect your car differently:
1. The touchless system, which only uses high-powered water jets and soaps in order to clean the car, making swirl marks less probable.
2. The cloth friction system, in contrast, does use soft cloths and scrubbers in order to eliminate truly stubborn spots.
- Harshness. Machines, though ever handy, can cause swirl marks and water spots.
- Chemicals in the pre-soak that are meant for loosening the dirt particles carry the risk of damaging the car's surface.
- Size accommodation. Some wider cars might be unable to properly fit in the drive-in systems, increasing the chances of damaging problem spots.
- Spots of grime left. If you’re the type who wants to make sure every detail of your car is spotless, an automatic wash might not be for you as it might overlook some bugs, dirt, or water spots.
- Damage to paint job. Depending on the vehicle and the type of material used in the brushes of the car wash, you may notice some scratches on your paint job after running the car through the wash.
- Time. Especially if you’re in a rush, you'll appreciate the speed of a car wash.
- Easy to use. It’s simple! Push a few buttons, pay, and let the car wash do the work.
While automatic car washes have advanced greatly in the past decade, their lack of contact tends to greatly hamper their ability to clean a car thoroughly. In most cases, even an amateur hand washing will be more effective at removing dirt and grime than an automatic washing. No machine can be as accurate as a human being an if you do it yourself you can be sure you do it right, not overlooking any problematic spot.
So, should time not be an issue, hand washing is better in every way when compared to automatic cleaning. But we don't always have the time and, let's be honest, the desire to do the job ourselves all the time, so maybe a mix of both methods may be the best approach.
Deciding between an automatic and manual car wash can be a tough choice, but we hope the pros and cons mentioned above will help you appreciate advantages and disadvantages to both of them and find the best option for you and your car!