Is It Bad to Wash Your Car Every Day?
The condition of a vehicle can impact its resale value and how much a car owner can receive when they use it as a trade-in at the dealership. Car owners should maintain the interior and exterior of their car and schedule regular maintenance service visits, too.
Some car owners might be extremely fastidious about their vehicle. Pride of ownership is commendable, and keeping a car in tip-top condition will help preserve its beauty. Drive-thru car wash services are a convenient option to keep a car’s exterior shiny and clean, but Is it bad to wash your car every day? Can a car be washed too often?
There are different types of car washes and each has pros and cons. Types of car washes include:
- Soft Touch
- Touch Free
Are Drive-Thru Car Washes Bad?
Drive-thru car washes are an easy way for car owners to keep the exterior of their vehicle clean. Some car wash businesses even offer memberships for car owners to access cleaning services for their vehicle multiple times per month. Membership levels may vary in cost and what’s included. These businesses also offer one-time wash services, too.
Are drive-thru car washes bad for cars? While a drive-thru car wash can damage a vehicle, it’s important for car owners to understand that car washes are designed differently. Some drive-thru car washes are touch-free, some are soft-touch and older car washes include massive roller-brushes that are used to clean the car.
Drive-thru car washes aren’t necessarily bad for a vehicle. However, if the drive-thru car wash uses massive roller brushes to scrub the car, it’s possible that the brushes could remove rough debris that scratches the paint. Auto Blog explains that the brushes also could leave scratches, too.
However, Auto Blog also notes that scratches left by those brushes won’t be such an issue with older cars, as scratches can be easily removed from the paint. Newer vehicles, though, will need to be repainted in the area that has been scratched or damaged.
What is a Soft-Touch Car Wash?
A drive-thru car wash also could be advertised as ‘soft touch.’ What does this mean? A soft-touch car wash doesn’t use abrasive brushes. Instead, car owners will see massive soft cloth rollers that might look a bit like a mop cloth.
These soft rollers apply soap to the vehicle and scrub the car, removing dirt and debris. These car washes are controlled by computers to ensure that they don’t press too hard against the vehicle. Pressurized water rinses the car clean.
Soft-touch car washes are gentler on a vehicle than the more abrasive brushes of the past. However, soft-touch car washes could still damage a vehicle if the computer program isn’t running correctly or if some hard mud or debris is scratched against the car’s paint. In addition, the soft cloths need to be maintained to ensure proper cleaning.
Are Touchless Car Washes Safe?
Touchless or touch-free car washes don’t use any type of brush or cloth roller. Family Handyman explains that these washes offer less risk for damage. These might be the best options for car owners who want to keep their car consistently clean but who worry about potential scratches to the paint.
How do these car washes work if they don’t use a brush or cloth? The site explains that these washes use a sensor to guide the driver into the proper position. A robotic system then handles the wash process and activates different steps of the wash cycles. Foam soap will be sprayed onto the vehicle, then the system sprays water to rinse the car clean, and, last, a wax might be applied or the car will be dried.
These car washes aren’t perfect, though. They also have some downsides. The Family Handyman notes that the chemicals used in the wash process could damage the car’s finish over time, and the chemicals also aren’t environmentally friendly. In addition, touchless or touch-free car washes might not provide the most effective car wash.
Self-Service Car Wash
A self-service car wash provides car owners with another cleaning option to maintain the interior and exterior of their vehicle. These wash stations allow car owners to choose their cleaning options. They offer vacuums for interior cleaning and other services, too. Some might even include vending machines with cleaning products.
In the wash station, car owners need to manage the entire wash process for their vehicle. This allows car owners to focus on particular areas of the vehicle that might need more attention. With a self-service station, car owners spray their car with soap, rinse it clean and handle any other services that they selected.
These car wash options could offer different services to car owners to customize their wash and they may be more affordable, too.
If car owners aren’t careful, though, they could damage their car’s paint during the wash process. Car owners also might consider bringing their own gear for a better wash.
DIY Car Wash
A DIY car wash was once a car-owner rite of passage. Before automated car washes, car owners washed their own cars in the driveway with a hose and a bucket of soapy water.
This type of car wash gives owners the ultimate sense of control. The car owner buys their own soap, sponge, clothes, wax, etc. A proper DIY car wash can take time, though, and car owners should embark on this adventure on a nice day.
For car owners who have never hand-washed a car, The Drive offers a full tutorial for cleaning and detailing. How long does it take to hand wash a car? Plan to spend about two to three hours on the washing process. However, owners who plan on extensively cleaning the interior, too, might spend an extra hour or two on the detailing process.
Is It Bad to Wash Your Car Every Day?
Car owners who are focused on their car and keeping it in the best shape possible might wonder if it’s safe to wash a car every day. The Drive recommends washing a car every two weeks, but explains that some owners might opt for a weekly wash.
Washing a car every day might not be bad for the vehicle, but it could increase the chances of scratching the paint or causing another issue. Plus, washing a car every day might mean that the owner washes their car before it rains or snows.
Paying for a daily car wash also could become extremely expensive. Opting for a DIY car wash would be time consuming, too. However, some car wash businesses offer memberships with unlimited car washes, and car owners with these memberships might opt for a daily wash.
Those who don’t have access to a car wash membership or who simply aren’t interested in signing up for the plan might consider a car wash to be more of an occasional expense. Those who choose a DIY wash also could use that car wash time to de-stress during a nice day; for these car owners, a car wash might be more of an undertaking.
While every car wash type offers pros and cons, ultimately, it’s up to the car owner to decide how often they wish to wash their vehicle and what type of car wash they feel cleans their car the best.