Most vehicle owners believe that taking their vehicle through a car wash will keep their investment safe. This, however, is far from true. The video above proves how easily paintwork can go from flawless to severely flawed. No matter the vehicle manufacturer, your vehicle's clear coat is usually thinner than a sheet of printing paper. That means less protection for the car and the consumer. Also, certain paints, especially those on newer vehicles, are much "softer" than others. This means that even the slightest mistake can micro-scratch or mar the finish. When using quality paint sealants, detailing one to two times a year is all it takes to help to prolong and protect the finish of your paint job.
CONSIDER NANOCOATING, SERIOUSLY
If you've recently purchased a new vehicle and wish to protect your newfound investment we highly recommend getting a Ceramic Coating. These coatings are 2 to 3 times harder than factory clear coats and provide years of lasting protection from micro-scratching, dulling, oxidation, bird droppings, hard water spots, and more. Plus, every coating comes with a complete paint polish to create a high level and shine and gloss before application!
Here are just a few more reasons to detail as often as possible...
1. Prevents Damage
You might think a dirty car is only an annoyance or an eyesore but in reality, dirt is very damaging. Dirt is actually microscopic rock. So naturally, if left to sit on the surface, dirt will scratch your paint. If left uncared for, that scratch can turn into a chip, which then can rust. At the very least, dirt left to bake in the sun wears the protective coat off and can fade your color.
2. Gas Efficiency
Did you know that a clean car promotes better fuel efficiency? That's right. Driving a clean car will save you gas money. In fact, "Mythbusters" recently did a test on their show confirming that a clean car will be 10% more fuel-efficient than the same dirty car. Not only will your car look better, it'll drive better too. Improved aerodynamics make for a smoother, more gas efficient ride.
3. Prevents Illness
You likely make it a priority to keep your home clean to prevent germs from spreading. Do you do as much for your vehicle? Those same hands that spread germs in a house spread them twice as quickly in a car. In fact, because you go from stores to schools to other public places in your vehicle, your hands likely bring more germs into your car than they do into your home.
4. Cleaner Is Safer
When it comes to washing your car, safety might be the last thing on your mind. But the truth is dirt, bugs, debris and anything that dirties your windows and mirrors will prevent you from seeing the roads clearly; especially at night. For your safety as well as others, let us help you keep those windows and mirrors clean. Also, interior sanitizing is now more important than ever.
5. Better R.O.I.
According to Auto Trader and NADA, choosing to have professional auto detailing services performed on your vehicle can increase its monetary value significantly. For example, a clean looking engine can give the impression that the car has been well maintained under the hood during it's lifetime. A car with faded paint and a dingy overall look sells for 10-20 percent less than an otherwise identical vehicle that's been well maintained.
6. You'll Feel Good
Studies have shown that your immediate environment and physical surroundings can affect your mood. In essence, keeping your car looking great can actually lift your spirits. Whether you're a casual driver or you embark on routine journeys, it only benefits you to make your ride as enjoyable as possible. Driving should be a pleasurable experience. When your car is somewhere you love to be, you're a better driver -- And that benefits everyone.
Where Did All Those Swirls Come From?
Micro-scratches and "swirls" are caused by dirt, debris, improper washing techniques, AND - you guessed it - Automatic drive-thru car washes. Drive-thrus are generally the "go-to" solution for many drivers but are automatic car washes really safe for your car? Unfortunately, if we're talking about keeping your paint looking great, the answer is NO. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to using those local automatic car washes.
Stay Away From Flaps and Brushes
Make no mistake, the low cost and convenience of your local drive through car wash is costing you more than you think. Many car washes still use abrasive brushes, which can do damage to your car's finish. The cloth flaps you see at these washes are no better as they pick up dirt, road grime, oils, and more from industrial trucks and other dirty vehicles. That debris and filth is then transferred on to your paint, leaving behind small scratches and harmful chemicals that can do damage over time.
"Just Say No" To the Jumbo Sponge
The jumbo sponge is a popular car wash icon. It's in your favorite movie, it's at the school fundraiser and there's probably one tucked away in your garage right now. It's practically a celebrity. And although a jumbo sponge can effectively clean your car, it will undoubtedly be inflicting damage onto the surface of your paintwork that will show itself as a mass of light scratches & swirl marks. Sponges have tiny holes for particles to get trapped in. These small particles then become lodged between the sponge's flat surface and your cars paintwork, resulting in fine scratching and swirls.
The term ‘squeaky-clean’ is often used to describe the sound a sponge makes when cleaning and implies that ‘squeaky-clean’ is a good thing. However, with car paint, the opposite is true. The squeak is created from friction occurring between the sponge and the surface of the paintwork -- which is exactly what you DON'T want when washing your car. Ideally, you want your wash material to glide freely over the surface of the paintwork, creating as little friction as possible. This is where a quality wash mitt comes in handy. Microfiber is the best car washing material because it is extra soft, extra absorbent, and helps protect against swirls and scratches. Plus, the noodles prevent particles from becoming trapped, making it easier for dirt and debris to be rinsed away. Also, always keep wheel mitts separate from the mitts you use to wash your paint!
Dish Detergent Is For Dishes, Not Your Car
Did you know that your car is not the same as fine china? (We're pretty sure you already knew that). But why, then, do so many people use dish detergent when washing their beloved automobiles? (We have no idea.) What we do know, is that dish detergent is too aggressive for paint work. It will strip away any protective wax you may have previously applied and can potentially dull or fade your finish. Also, most dish soaps dry too quickly leaving behind unsightly water spots that can be a pain to remove.
If You Must...
Touchless Is Better
If you absolutely must use the drive-through, we always recommend going touch-less. Sure it may not "clean" as well as the flaps and brushes, but it'll keep your paint from getting wrecked. Touch-less car washes use only high-pressure water jets and detergents to wash the car – without physically touching the paintwork. With this system there is virtually no chance of your vehicle suffering any cosmetic damage. Also, some areas have self-service coin-operated hand washes, which are great for spraying away heavy dirt buildup. We recommend using the coin spray and bringing along your own microfiber drying towels. Use your dying towel in conjunction with a liquid wax as a dryng agent. For many, this will be the fastest, and safest method to achieving a great wash. Drying towels vary in size, cost and quality. However, to be safe, be sure to use only microfiber. Here's our personal all-time favorite microfiber drying towel.
"Basic" Will Do
A "Works" car wash can cost twice as much as the basic wash, but you may not be getting twice the wash for your money. Undercarriage "rustproofing", for example, is not a true value. Most new cars are extensively rustproofed at the factory during the assembly process so further treatment is usually not necessary. On the other hand, if the wash offers an undercarriage bath, it might be worth the additional cost. Jets of water sprayed directly underneath the car can break loose accumulated crud that would be difficult (and unpleasant) to try to remove yourself using a garden hose.
Skip the Drive-Thru Wax
This typically adds at least a couple bucks to the cost of the wash and while it doesn't hurt anything, it's no substitute for hand-applied polish/wax. Machine spray-on "wax" may provide a short-term gloss enhancement, but doesn't protect against UV sun damage the way hand-applied wax does. The same goes for paying extra to have an attendant add Armor All (or a similar protectant) all on your wheels. This can be equivalent to the cost of buying an entire bottle of the stuff on your own. Skip the extras at the drive thru and save them for when you have the time to apply them yourself - the right way and with the right products.
BEWARE of the After-Wash Wipe-Down
Many full-service car washes have a designated area where your car will be hand-wiped by attendants. This is usually OK -- provided the attendants are using fresh, clean towels to do so. However, keep an eye out on busy days, when you've had a long line ahead of you. If you see the attendants using dirty rags to wipe the cars down, you're better off skipping that hand-dry and driving away. Dirt and other abrasives in the rags can scratch the finish just like sandpaper. Drive-off to air dry any remaining water. It's the best guarantee of a no-damage experience. Any lingering streaks can easily be cleaned up at home yourself using readily available car spray cleaners designed to provide UV protection and easily and safely clean off bugs, tar, road grime and more, without water.
Check Your Car Before You Go
While many car washes will have a disclaimer posted that they are "not responsible for any damages that may occur" as a result of running your car through their wash, that doesn't mean you should automatically absolve them of any damage their equipment or personnel may have caused. If you notice something, ask to see the manager and point it out; whether legally liable or not, he may offer to fix the problem in the interest of customer relations. And even if he does not, you can still pursue the matter at a higher level (such as the company headquarters, if the carwash is a franchise). If you have a cell phone with a camera, use it to take a photo of the damage in order to support your claim.