Keeping your car clean has many benefits. A freshly washed car is aesthetically pleasing, and it’s a point of pride for many car owners. A clean car also extends the life of its exterior components, and it helps maintain its resale value. However, committing to regular car washes raises one key question—is it better to wash your car by hand, or use an automatic car wash?
How an Automatic Car Wash Works
When you take your car to an automatic car wash for cleaning, it goes through a series of specially designed processes geared toward removing dirt and grime in a way that is safe for your car’s exterior.
First, your car is covered in an eco-friendly foam and detergent blend, designed to begin loosening external grime. Then, ultra-soft cloth and foam rollers remove the detergent.
Next, an oscillating stream of water removes the remainder of the detergent and grime. A gentle rinse follows, ensuring your car is detergent-free. Depending on your wash selection, additional protectants may be applied mechanically. After a final rinse, the car wash bathes your car in heated air, which is designed to provide a touchless turbo dry.
Pros and Cons of Automatic Washing
As with any service, upsides and downsides exist when choosing an automatic wash for your car.
Potential pros include:
- Gentle on Paint. Contrary to popular belief, automatic car washes are gentle on your car’s finish. The patented detergent blends effectively to loosen surface dirt before proceeding to the next step. Then, automated soft cloths and foams whisk away detergent and grime instead of scrubbing it into the car’s exterior.
- Thorough Wash Every Time. Automatic car washes are designed to reach every portion of your car’s exterior, including tires, undercarriage, painted finishes, plastic, and windows. Unlike hand washing, there’s no chance you’ll miss a step or fail to exert the appropriate amount of effort to provide a thorough clean.
- Cost and Time Effective. Automatic car washes are faster than using your own supplies and hand washing your car. They’re also more cost effective. An automatic car wash will cost only a few dollars—even less if you choose to purchase a monthly car wash pass.
- Customizable. Automatic car washes are easily customizable. You can choose which features you want with each wash at the press of a button, and you can wash as often as you need. A monthly car wash membership plan is also customizable.
There aren’t many cons that go along with choosing an automatic car wash, but those commonly mentioned include:
- Water Spotting. Some automatic car washes can cause water spotting if the gentle rinse or turbo dry functions aren’t performing properly. However, Cloud10’s exceptional attention to detail ensures the proper operation of all components, guaranteeing you a spot-free dry every time.
- Scratching. Automatic car washes causing excessive scratching is a popular misconception. While it’s true that automatic washes with inadequate equipment and detergents can potentially scratch paint or glass, Cloud10 utilizes high-quality machines, as well as paint and glass protective solutions.
Pros and Cons of Hand Washing
The main benefit of hand washing is the attention to detail that a hand washer can potentially give each car. Unfortunately, that advantage only exists if each hand washer dedicates his or her attention to one car at a time—which is rarely the case at a full-service car wash.
Some of the drawbacks of hand washing include:
- Paint Damage and Scratching. Scrubbing the paint with a cloth can grind in existing dirt as well as wear away at the delicate finish. With too many hand washings, the finish is more susceptible to excessive damage and may need repair or replacement sooner.
- Missed Soap Residue. The most common mistake hand washers make is failure to rinse thoroughly, leaving a layer of soap residue on your car. This leaves your car with a dull residue that can eat away at its finish over time.
- Labor and Time Intensive. Proper hand washing takes a large amount of elbow grease. Even then, you aren’t guaranteed a thorough wash. It also takes a significant amount of time to clean a car by hand, especially if you have a fleet to maintain.
- Poor Finishing. Hand washing requires attention to detail, particularly when removing water spots and providing a thorough dry. In addition, it’s often difficult to remove the heaviest buildup or sticky grime, leaving your car with an unpolished look.
- Water Usage. Whether you’re hand washing at home or simply concerned about the environment, automatic washing utilizes much less water than hand washing. In fact, Cloud10 is certified eco-friendly and has made great strides to preserve our earth’s water while providing you with a clean car.
What’s the Takeaway?
After weighing the pros and cons of hand washing and automatic car washes, the choice is clear: regular automatic cleaning is much safer than hand washing.
In fact, regular automatic washing can help eliminate the potential for surface damage, as well as keep the car in good working condition year-round. Whether you need to service a fleet of business vehicles or your own personal car, solutions like monthly car wash plans can help keep you on schedule while saving you time and money.
Cloud10 is proud to offer expert automatic car washing services and top car washes in FL, PA, and CT. Find the Cloud10 location nearest you for your fleet and personal washing needs.