Automatic car wash

Automatic car wash - AutoGlanz AG Car Care

Joe Pritchard |

An automatic car wash is a convenient and time-saving option for keeping your vehicle clean and well-maintained.

But have you ever wondered if automatic car washes are truly effective and safe for your car's finish? Do they provide the same level of cleanliness as manual washing?

In this article, we will take a look at automatic car washes, and how you get the best possible wash result from it. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the different types of automatic car wash systems, including tunnel car washes and touchless car washes.
  • Learn the best practices for using drive-through car washes to avoid any potential damage to your vehicle.
  • Buy cheap car wash and elevate the result with very few products.
  • Understand the safety concerns surrounding automatic car washes and tips for protecting your car's finish.
  • Explore the impact of regular washing on your car's resale value and how to choose the right car wash for your vehicle.
  • Compare automatic car washes with touchless car wash systems to make an informed decision on which one suits your preferences and needs.

Understanding Automatic Car Wash Systems

Automatic car wash systems come in different types, including tunnel car washes and touchless car washes. These systems offer a convenient and efficient way to keep your vehicle clean and well-maintained without the hassle of manual washing.

Tunnel car washes: In a tunnel car wash, your vehicle is moved through a wash tunnel on a conveyor system (or standing still, depending on the car wash). The process involves brushes, water jets and air dryers working together to thoroughly clean the exterior of your car. The brushes and sponges "gently" scrub away dirt and grime, while water jets rinse away the debris, leaving your car looking shiny and refreshed. 

Touchless car washes: Touchless car washes, on the other hand, rely on high-pressure water jets and detergents to clean your car without physically touching it. These powerful water jets blast away dirt and grime, leaving your car relatively clean. Touchless car washes are an excellent choice if you're concerned about potential scratches or swirl marks on your car's paintwork. They do however use harsh chemicals - so you will want to make sure it is rinsed well. 

Understanding these automatic car wash systems will help you choose the right one for your needs. If you prefer a thorough clean with gentle brushes, a tunnel car wash might be the ideal option for you. On the other hand, if you prioritize a touchless cleaning experience without the risk of scratches, a touchless car wash is the way to go.

The Safest Way to Use Drive-Through Car Washes

When using a drive-through car wash, it's important to follow the proper procedures to avoid any potential damage.

Avoiding Damage When Entering and Exiting

Most of this is obvious, but just remember to do it. 

  1. Follow the instructions: Pay attention to any signs or directions provided by the car wash operator. They will guide you on when to stop, put your car in neutral or park, and turn off your engine.
  2. Clear your vehicle: Remove any loose items, such as antennas, to prevent them from getting caught or damaged during the wash. Also, make sure your windows and sunroof are fully closed.
  3. Follow the exit instructions: After the wash is complete, carefully follow the operator's instructions to safely exit the car wash zone. This may include waiting for a signal or observing specific markers.

Selecting the Correct Automatic Features

Modern drive-through car washes offer various automatic features to enhance the cleaning process.

To be honest:

We will always recommend that you take the cheapest possible option, that includes jet wash, shampoo, car wash with brushes and a light dry. 

Trust us:

The add-ons you can purchase such as wheel cleaning, triple foam and rain repellent are much better done by yourself in 5 minutes before/after going to the car wash - and then the time you spend on the automatic car wash is much shorter. 

Automatic Feature Description
Touchless cleaning This feature uses high-pressure water jets and specialty detergents to remove dirt and grime without physically touching the car's surface. It is a suitable option for vehicles with sensitive paintwork.
Undercarriage wash This feature targets the underside of your vehicle, removing dirt, salt, and debris that can cause corrosion and damage. It can help to preserve the longevity of your car's undercarriage.
Wheel cleaning This feature focuses specifically on cleaning the wheels, removing brake dust, road grime, and other contaminants. Keeping your wheels clean improves their appearance.
Triple foam conditioning This feature applies a specially formulated foam solution to the car's surface, enhancing the cleaning process and leaving a protective layer that can help resist future dirt and grime accumulation.
Rain repellent This feature applies a hydrophobic coating to your windshield, improving visibility during rainy conditions. It helps water to bead and roll off the glass, improving driving safety.

Are Automatic Car Washes Safe for Your Car's Finish?

Many car owners wonder if automatic car washes are safe for their car's finish.

In general, modern automatic car washes are designed to minimize the risk of damage to your vehicle's paint.


Even with soft brush technology swirls can't be avoided. 

You won't necessary spot it from a distance of 3 meters on a cloudy day - but up close with direct sunlight on the panel you will - especially on dark / black paint. 

Maximizing Your Car's Resale Value with Regular Washing


Will you get a higher price for your car if it has been washed regularly?

In general:

No - but along with a filled in service history book it certainly won't damage the resale value.

Choosing the Right Car Wash for Your Vehicle

When it comes to car washes, not all are created equal.

It's important to select a car wash that meets your specific needs. Consider the following factors when choosing the right car wash:

  • Type of Car Wash: There are various types of car washes available, including automatic car washes, hand washes, and self-serve washes. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that aligns with your preferences.
  • Reviews and Reputation: Look for car washes with positive reviews and a good reputation. Customer feedback can provide valuable insights into the quality of their services (especially if something goes wrong) and overall customer satisfaction.

Understanding the Impact of Frequent Cleaning

While regular cleaning as such does not directly impact your car's resale value - it still helps with: 

  • Preserving Exterior Condition: Frequent washing helps protect your vehicle's paint from dirt, pollutants, and UV rays that can cause it to fade or deteriorate over time.
  • Prevents Damage: Regular cleaning removes harmful substances like bird droppings, tree sap, and road salt that can corrode the paint and cause long-term damage to your car's exterior, if it sits too long. 
  • Increases Resale Value: A car with a clean and well-preserved exterior is more likely to fetch a higher resale price compared to a car with visible signs of neglect or damage.

Automatic vs Touchless Car Wash Systems

When it comes to keeping your car clean, automatic car washes and touchless car washes are two popular options. Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to understand how they differ to make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

Automatic car washes use a combination of brushes and water jets to clean your car's exterior. They are efficient and can provide a thorough clean, but there is a risk of potential damage to your vehicle's paintwork due to the physical contact.

On the other hand, touchless car washes rely on high-pressure water jets and detergents to clean the car's surface without physically touching it. This reduces the risk of scratches or swirl marks on your car's finish, making it a safer option for maintaining your vehicle's appearance.

Automatic Car Wash Touchless Car Wash
Advantages Advantages
  • Efficient and time-saving
  • Can provide a thorough clean
  • Cost-effective option
  • No risk of scratches or swirl marks
  • Safer for delicate finishes
  • Less abrasive on your vehicle
Disadvantages Disadvantages
  • Risk of potential damage to your vehicle's paintwork
  • Not suitable for vehicles with delicate or custom finishes
  • May not reach certain areas
  • Can be less effective at removing stubborn dirt or grime
  • May require pre-washing for heavily soiled vehicles
  • Higher cost compared to automatic car washes

Ultimately, the choice between an automatic car wash and a touchless car wash depends on your priorities and the specific needs of your vehicle. If you value efficiency and cost-effectiveness, an automatic car wash may be the right choice.

However, if you want to prioritize the safety and protection of your car's finish, a touchless car wash is the better option.

Does Automatic Car Wash Scratch My Car?

A common concern among car owners is whether automatic car washes can scratch their vehicle's paint.


Just to conclude:

Yes - it will pose a risk of scratching your paint - but it might be to a degree where you are willing to accept it. 

Is Hand Washing My Car Better Than an Automatic Car Wash?

In general: 


However it will require an investment in a car valeting kit

How To Make The Automatic Car Wash 10x Better!

Automatic Car Wash Kit

Enhance your automatic car wash experience by using specific products that provide additional benefits.

This section will introduce you to wheel cleaner, bug and bird poop remover, and paint protection products, and tips for preventing water spots.

By incorporating these strategies, you can make your automatic car wash even more effective and protect your vehicle's exterior.

Wheel Cleaner (Auto Glanz Primo)

One of the most overlooked areas during an automatic car wash is the wheels. Since the car wash does not visually take a look at your wheels, or can use as good a products as Primo - it will not be as clean. 

Wheels are constantly exposed to dirt, brake dust, and road grime that can harbor damaging contaminants.

Using a high-quality wheel cleaner like Auto Glanz Primo which can effectively remove stubborn brake dust and restore the shine to your wheels.

Wheel Cleaner Primo before automatic car wash

Simply spray the cleaner onto the wheels, let it dwell for a few minutes, and then drive into the automatic car wash and let it do the rest of the work.

Remove Bugs and Bird Poop (Auto Glanz Bug Off)

During your drive, your car may encounter bugs and birds that leave behind unsightly residue on the paint.

To quickly and safely remove these stubborn stains, use Auto Glanz Bug Off on these spots before entering the automatic car wash.

This specialized cleaner is formulated to break down and lift away bug splatters, bird droppings, and other organic contaminants without damaging the paint.

Bug Off on hard grime

Spray it directly onto the affected area, do not let it dry and go into the automatic car wash.

Giving Your Paint Some Real Protection (Auto Glanz Prizm)

To keep your vehicle's paint protected and looking its best, consider using a paint protection product like Auto Glanz Prizm. 

This advanced formula creates a strong barrier that shields your paint from UV rays, dirt, and environmental pollutants. It also enhances the gloss and depth of your paint for a showroom finish.

Dry with Prizm

Apply Auto Glanz Prizm after washing you car with a drying towel and use it as a drying aid if there are areas on the car that are not completely dry when the car comes out of the car wash.

We guarantee that this paint protection is multiple times better than what you will get from an automatic car wash!

Protecting Your Vehicle from Water Spots (Drying Towel)

After washing your car, prevent unsightly water spots by using the included microfibre towel to gently dry your vehicle's surface, paying extra attention to areas prone to water accumulation, such as windows and mirrors. This will help prevent mineral deposits from forming and leaving behind water spots. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Automatic Car Wash

What is an automatic car wash?

An automatic car wash is a car cleaning service that uses automated systems to wash and clean vehicles, providing a convenient and time-saving option for car owners.

How do automatic car wash systems work?

Automatic car wash systems come in different types, including tunnel car washes and touchless car washes. Tunnel car washes use brushes and water jets to clean the exterior of the vehicle, while touchless car washes rely on high-pressure water jets and detergents to clean the car without physically touching it.


Will an automatic car wash scratch my car's paint?

While there is always a risk of scratches, modern automatic car washes use soft cloths and gentle washing techniques to minimize paint damage. However, it's important to choose a car wash that prioritizes the use of soft materials and avoids harsh brushes.

How can I enhance my automatic car wash experience?

You can enhance your automatic car wash experience by using specific products such as wheel cleaner, bug and bird poop remover, and paint protection products, while choosing a cheaper car wash. 

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