In a nutshell: mechanical washes damage your car.
This view is familiar to the majority of drivers. These are the bristles of a “scratch-free” mechanical car-wash. These washes often cost a few dollars and are found at most gas stations. This is by far the most common way cars are cleaned.
While your hood may look shiny as you emerge from the wash tunnel, this type of cleaning damages your car’s paint, wheels, and trim with harsh chemicals and excessive force.
Washes like this often start with strong solvents applied to the wheels and lower body panels. These solvents dissolve road tar and brake dust. However, they also accelerate your car’s overall aging by degrading its plastic trim and clear-coat.
The cleaning process continues as rubber bristles beat dirt off the surface of your car. This process doesn’t leave deep gouges in the paint. Hence, these washes are marketed as “scratch free.” Nevertheless, the rubber bristles act like sand-paper as they smack dirt into and eventually away from your car.
This type of wash is equivalent to washing your face with a kitchen scrub pad and drill.
The end result is a technically “clean” paint surface with the addition of micro-abrasions (tiny scratches) and degraded materials.
So, if mechanical washing is virtually guaranteed to hurt your car, does hand washing ensure its safety?
Click to learn more: Hand Washing