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Behind the Suds: Uncovering the Hidden Hazards of Automatic Car Washes

Kenny Nguyen, Owner of Kenny's Mobile Detailing

Hey everyone! I'm Kenny, a professional car detailer with over 3 years of experience in the industry. I'm here to tell you why professional car detailing is worth the investment, even if it may seem a bit more expensive than a gas station car wash.

I know what you're thinking: "Why pay a few hundred dollars to get my car detailed when I can get it done at the gas station for $15?"

Well, let me tell you why.

Blue car getting washed in a automatic car wash

Automatic Car Washes Can Damage Your Paint

One of the biggest drawbacks of automatic car washes is that they can damage your paint. The brushes and rollers of automatic car washes are often dirty, they aren't cleaned or rinsed after each use. This dirt can contain grit, grime, and other abrasive materials that can scratch and swirl your car's paint finish. These automatic car wash uses brushes or rollers that are very agressive, spinning fast, and smacking against your vehicles paint.

If you have a new car, or a car with a dark paint color, you are especially at risk of paint damage from automatic car washes. New cars have a thin layer of clear coat that protects the paint, but this clear coat can be easily damaged by the brushes and rollers in automatic car washes. Dark paint colors are also more susceptible to swirl marks and scratches, so they are more likely to be damaged by automatic car washes.

Automatic Car Washes Can Strip Away Your Car’s Wax or Sealant

The wax or sealant on your car's paint protects it from the elements, such as UV rays, rain, and dirt. It also helps your car maintain its shine. Automatic car washes often use harsh chemicals that can strip away this wax or sealant, leaving your car's paint vulnerable to damage.

Without wax or sealant, your car's paint is more likely to fade, oxidize, and become scratched. This can make your car look dull and worn down. It can also reduce the value of your car.

If you want to protect your car's paint, it is important to have it waxed or sealed regularly. You should also avoid automatic car washes, as they can strip away the wax or sealant.

Automatic Car Washes Often Reuse Dirty Water

Many automatic car washes recycle their water to save money. This means that your car could be washed with dirty water containing dirt, grime, and other contaminants. This dirty water can redeposit on your car's paint and cause scratches and swirls.

Even if the automatic car wash has a water filtration system, it may not be able to remove all of the contaminants from the water. As a result, your car is still at risk of being damaged by dirty water.


As I mentioned before, automatic car washes can be a real nightmare for your car. They can damage your paint, strip away your wax or sealant, reuse dirty water, and much more.

That's why I highly recommend using a detail service instead. Detailers use high-quality products and techniques to clean and protect your car, and we take the time to hand wash and dry every inch of your vehicle. We also offer a range of additional services, such as paint correction, waxing, and polishing, to help restore your car's original shine and luster.

I know that automatic car washes may seem convenient, but they're simply not worth the risk of damaging your car. If you want to keep your car looking and performing its best, trust the professionals.

Now that you know the risks of automatic car washes, it's time to learn more about how a professional detail service can help you keep your car looking and performing its best. Click the button below to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment today!

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