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Why Not to Use an Automatic Car Wash

Why Not to Use an Automatic Car Wash

Rev up your engines,
today I’m going to talk about why not to use an automatic car wash,
now the first sort of automatic car wash was in 1914 in Detroit where they called it,
automated laundry for cars, and really it was basically three guys that
pushed the car through, one guy soaped it up, one guy rinsed it, and
the other guy drove it, so it was basically just three guys and washing
you car, but then things really changed,
the Anderson family out of Seattle invented a totally automated car wash where the car
was pulled through with a machine and washed mechanically,
now to begin with, washing your car isn’t like washing yourself,
you want to exfoliate yourself with the brush to get the dead skin cells off,
but when your washing a car, you don’t want to take anything off,
you don’t want to take the wax off, you don’t want to rub the paint off,
so using brushes isn’t such a hot idea, you don’t want these brushes wiping fast hitting
your car’s paint, because it doesn’t matter if they clean them
once in a while, these brushes get covered with dirt, dirt
is friction, the little pieces of dirt is like sand paper, they’re going to put micro
scratches on your paint, and just to play the devil’s advocate,
even if they cleaned them, which the rarely do,
the car in front of you is covered in dirt, these brushes are cleaning it off,
a lot of that dirt is going to be on the brushes, so when it comes to your car,
there’s all that dirt that’s now all being hit against your car,
they would have to clean it every time, which they certainly don’t,
and for deep cleaning on those automatic car washes,
a lot of them use hydrofluoric acid, you don’t want acid being sprayed on your
car, of course that’s going to eat up the paint
and stuff, and to add insult to injury,
your often going to end up with water spots on the car,
yeah they have those blowers that blow your car as they go through at the end,
but they don’t take all the water off, heck look at this,
there’s water all over the place on one I just ran through,
they really don’t dry it all that well, plus when do you get your car washed,
when it’s sunny outside, you don’t get your car washed when it’s raining,
so since it’s sunny outside, you go out the sun is going to beat down on these water spots,
and they’re going to bake them into your paint, they can be a real hassle to get out,
and I know some people are going to say, Scotty what about those car washes where it’s an
automatic car wash and at the end they got guys that are drying it by hand,
well you have to beware of that too in most cases,
because they’re washing all kinds of cars there and then drying them,
you think those towels are going to be clean for very long,
and you see the guys are dropping them on the ground, dirt is on them and they pick
them up and dry the car, you know it doesn’t do such a good job when
you do something one, after the other, after the other using the same equipment,
I just my own bucket, and my own clean wool mitt,
and my own clean microfiber towels to dry it,
and guess what, I only do one car at a time, then I’ll just wash that stuff in the washing
machine later when I was my work clothes, so the next time I do it, all the stuff is
clean and it works good, and if you want actual proof of the problem
of automatic car washes, here’s my old Celica that I bought from a
customer years ago, she went through automatic car washes all the time,
look how faded the paint is, and here’s my wife’s Lexus that I bought used
from a customer who never used an automatic car wash and always hand washed them,
look how shinny it still is, so if you want your car’s paint to last a
long time, and always look shiny, stay away from automatic car washes,
and really look at the sloppy job this one did,
there’s still dirt all over those place, so much for the cleaner and blower,
it did a horrible job, so if you never want to miss another one of
my new car repair videos, remember to ring that bell!

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100 thoughts on “Why Not to Use an Automatic Car Wash

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  2. I live in an apartment building with no water hose access I go to Touchless Car Wash pay for basic $5 especially in the winter to get salt off

  3. I get my car detailed once a year and hand wash it a couple times year, totaling up to 250 a year which is not bad

  4. It will never hurt to use once in a while with the automatic car wash which is better especially in the winter time here in New Jersey to get off the salt and road grime which definitely will cause more damage to your car if left alone so I have to disagree with you Scotty here on this one I have never had a problem myself.

  5. Let me get this straight, your celica’s paint being faded has nothing to do with being in Texas for a while? It’s known the older Toyota’s have bad clear coat once they age.

  6. I've hand washed all my cars, for decades, for the reasons Scotty points-out. Also, since car dealers often use auto-washes, after a service, I tape a note saying "Do not wash this car" on the dash.

  7. Scotty, the ones with brushes and acid window washs are bad but we own mr magic auto washes and keep our alkaine set to 50 and it cleans the road grime off beautifully and no need to worry about scratches cause they are brushless – just high powered water sprayed onto the car in thru special nozzels which clean the car durring the pass. Lastly we apply a coat of spot free rinse which contains very clean water with little to no particles which run directly off the car and has no spots left. We also have the option of multiple clear coat protectants and waxes to help protect that clear coat and make it easier to wash next time around. I’m sure you have this technology in America however some washes are really bad you just gotta find a good ones

  8. Many also use recycled water yuk full of contaminates , and also– they usually have an insufficient rinse– so a lot of that strong soap is still on your car to dry and bond and embed into your paint.

  9. I only do auto wash in the winter when it’s freezing up here in Michigan.
    You forgot the water is likely recycled water which is dirty.

  10. i agree,automated wash can jack your car up. better off just using a dust mop on it. scratched glass ? happened at the car wash .lol

  11. There is an automatic car wash in Claremore, Ok that is brushless and works fantastic. Actually gets the car clean. Don't know if the chemicals it uses is bad for the paint or not.

  12. Never sure if his videos are supposed to be truly fact-based or funny. Most of the info here is half facts or outright bullshit. Touchless car washes rely more on water pressure than chemicals. Most modern car washes use an alkaline presoak and a slightly lower pH wash. Higher pH Alkaline removes grime, bugs, and oil, lower pH acidic removes dirt particulates and dust. The combination neutralizes each other. Final rinse and spot-free rinse are usually always pH neutral. And I'm referring to respected car washes. Home car wash soaps are slightly alkaline unless they say pH neutral. So they also remove wax.
    Also the moral to the story is any car that is 10 to 12 years old has a finish that will withstand most car washes without a problem. The 20 year old car that he showed may never have been through a carwash and would have still look like that due to contaminants on top of the clear coat. Clear coat finishes on cars from that era were garbage to start with.

  13. For my daily driver, it gets the automatic car wash. For my sports car, I wash it by hand. It just doesn't matter in the long run with a daily driver.

  14. Way up here in Fargo, I use touchless 99% of the time. Shockingly tho', it gets DAMN cold up here! The salt/sand/brine films just don't come off completely….grrr. So it's off to the automatic-wash a couple times per winter. Luckily, I'm getting half-decent with my Griot's polisher & all-in-one compound! 😉

  15. Your ever so right on this one scotty!, Ive managed a auto car wash and its just as you say not safe for paint at all. They are for lazy people and lazy people get low quality results. Ive walked thru thru the wash brushes myself while doing maintenance checks and repairs and the rotating brushes will scratch skin on humans and you can only imagine how it microabrades the paint after repeated washes. We offered hand wax services to customers because of this very thing, kind of a circular cause and effect situation. Good observation on this one scotty!, keep revving those engines buddy!

  16. Normally like your videos, but I have to disagree with this one. Automated car washes aren't as dirty as you may think. Fresh water and good soap keep brushes clean, and although the blower doesn't get off all water, by the time you drive a couple miles the water has finished blowing off.
    Hand washing may be better in some instances but overall the pros outweigh the cons for automatic car washes.

  17. Thats fine in texas and tropical climates but here in the northeast in the salt belt there is no choice in the winter but to go to the car wash, during nice weather I always wash it myself.

  18. There are ones that are just chemical soak and a high pressure wash, then a spot-free rinse, which I'm assuming is just reverse osmosis water so there is no mineral residue to dry on. Unfortunately, the one by me like that is like $7.00 for the cheapest wash, but a place that has the moving chamois and brushes is $3.00! The $3.00 one does appear to get the car clean, but I am worried about all the grit in the chamois material…which even looks dirty!

  19. I agree with you Scottie but in the winter in Maine with the salt I sometimes use them, being the lesser of 2 evils . Sometimes it's just impossible to do it in your driveway.with the brutal weather.

  20. Another problem with automatic car washes is that a lot of them have track rails that are too high for modern cars with large wheels and low profile tires. If you put your car through one of those you will end up with curb rash all over two of the wheels.

  21. Thank's for the tip Scotty

    Now,,,, what do you suppose I do about my laziness????


  22. Apart from that they have a bad habit of breaking down and never use Tesco unless you dont like your car

  23. One question if I leave in a small apartment an my car got cover in bird poop what other option do I have? I look for a had washing place but non announced online.

  24. i find the process of washing my car myself to be much more fun and satisfying than driving through a car wash.

  25. I can’t hand wash cause I live in Florida and it’s always hot. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my car so it takes me 3 hours probably more .

  26. It also broke my antenna, rear wiper arm and broke one tire valve stem in half. That was the last time I went throught the car wash. Learn my lesson the hard way. Lol

  27. I couldn’t agree more! I stopped using an automatic wash when an automatic wash pulled the fender apart on my brand new 4 Runner. Never again

  28. I think Scotty you really need to get updated on automated car wash as well! All your comments seems to be on car wash 30 years ago but not now! On top, your comments on employees dropping the towels and using again is a nonse! I have seen them in Dubai doing that but never in USA! They have hundreds of towels and even have separate towel laundry system based on towel for wind shields and windows. Don't mix it with any other laundry like you mentioned you do!
    Chemicals are way sophisticated then 30years ago.
    I don't know about your neighborhood car wash but ones on my neighborhood all has distilled water system and right blowers… your car shows you are going to the wrong car wash and just not happy!
    And do not compare the cheap Celica paint to expensive Lexus paint. It's just nonsense.
    You have to compare apple to apple… common sense!
    I usually enjoy your video but not this one as you make money by providing YouTube users false information and making money!
    Do your research and study more !!!
    You seem to be a good mechanic but not a good detailer so don't try your thin outdated knowledge on other's field.

  29. Y'all come to grapevine wash Masters car wash on glade I'll make sure your car comes out clean! We prep your car before it goes through and we use clean towels if you ask us to dry your car!

  30. Then how do you get rid of salt that accumulates under the car during the winter if you live in Canada?

  31. Anyone who cares about cars would never take one through a automatic car wash. You're right, those things are just horrible for paint. Especially the one with people at the end rubbing those filthy towels over the paint after they've been used on who knows how many cars before yours. Plus the dirt that the car wash couldnt get off gets ground into the paint when they dry it also.

  32. Use touchless or wash at home with soap gun and clean clothes and two buckets. Never! Use the sand paper bristle wash. I saw an auto journalist borrow a $400,000 Lexus LFA and run it through an automatic car wash with brushes. Cringe

  33. Wrong there is a lot more that goes into a Carwash such as the type of soap the speed the machine is set to etc

  34. I pay someone to come to my house and professionally detail my car. It's worth it. Takes care of my cars original paint and all.

  35. I went through an automatic car wash one time in my brand new truck. I knew better but was feeling lazy. I ended up with scratches all up the driver side door. This place is maybe 2 years old at most. It broke my heart to see that but there is an obvious sign posted at the entrance basically saying if anything happens to your vehicle it's not there fault. NEVER AGAIN!

  36. Some automatic car washes use ammonium bifluoride, which finds its way into crevices between metal and rubber seals. Eventually rust will be found, typically in welding spots,as a result of galvanic corrosion.

  37. I got a year for free car wash from a car dealership. My car is a new car and it sucks that I know this now. I was so exited.

  38. Love your videos Scotty but you got a lot of things wrong on this one. I’ve never heard of a Carwash using acid in their chemicals. Could you imagine a company that makes soap that fades car paint? They wouldn’t be in business very long.

  39. I partially agree with you, Those Express Exterior Washes are 100% SAFE for cars, they use closed cell foam on the brushes which is very gentle. But Gas Station car washes, are the culprits of damaging your cars, the dirt can get stuck in the overused brushes. Hand washes are very dangerous to use, sure it can be quicker, but the rocks and dirt can get in the towels. If you still don’t trust those types of washes, use those TouchLess LaserWashes.

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