The Many Types of Car Washes

If you’re genuinely able to say that you enjoy getting the most out of your car, then you’re probably also familiar with the local neighborhood car wash.

This can be an effective and even fun way to get your car washed quickly, so you can get back to enjoying your day. If you live in a winter climate where the roads are frequently salted, it’s recommended that you get a car wash once every month or two, so the salt doesn’t eat away at the exterior of your vehicle. There are a lot of different types of car washes, and they all have their own sets of pros and cons, however. This article will focus mainly on commercial car washes, but if you’re interested in doing things yourself, these options might be of interest to you.

Automatic Car Wash

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The automatic car wash is what you’re probably thinking of when someone mentions a car wash since they’re the most ubiquitous and commonly found car washes. These are the types of car washes that use brushes and blowers after spraying cleaning solution all over your car. The procedure is relatively simple – drive your vehicle into the car wash, put it in neutral, and let your car be brought through the gauntlet of brushes and blow dryers via conveyor belt. These are great if you’re strapped for time and don’t want to do anything yourself. But then, they are very generalized and can damage the paint job, as well as leave some dirt remaining on your car afterward.

Self-Service Wash

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This kind of car wash is the second most commonly found, and it requires a lot more participation from you as you’ll be doing all of the work. These essential pressure washers you rent out by the minute by putting coins into a slot and then choosing the setting you’d like. There are settings for rinsing the car, as well as for adding soap or wax, so there’s a lot of versatility offered from these washes. How effective they are at cleaning is entirely up to your level of meticulousness and skill. But then, they are a great choice if you don’t have an area to clean your car yourself.

Touchless Car Wash

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This is a car wash similar to the automatic wash. The only difference between the two is that in a touchless car wash, no brushes or bristled instruments will come in contact with your car. The process works entirely by the use of high-powered jets. Cleaning solutions, as well as the rinsing water, will be shot at your car as it’s brought through the car wash. They’re good if you’re worried about an automatic car wash breaking an antenna or scratching your paint job, but ultimately, they aren’t a comprehensive clean.


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There you have it – the three most common types of commercial car washes and what they’re best suited for. If you’re a stickler for completion, the self-service one is your best bet as it will allow you complete freedom as to what you’ll be able to focus on. Most commonly owned cars are serviced just fine by the automatic car wash, with more luxurious or delicate cars serviced well by the touchless car wash. Of course, none of these options are as good as a professional auto detailing, but that’s rather expensive. These are just fine as preventative maintenance.

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