How Long Does An Automatic Car Wash Take?

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Your car needs to look neat at all times – washing it regularly can help make the finish last longer and keep the car sparkling. However, you may want to put your vehicle through an automated car wash instead of a manual (hand) wash for time-saving sake.

But, how long does an automatic car wash take? Is it really time-saving as preached? What if an automatic car wash damages your car overtime? There are many things you need to know about automatic car washes, and they are listed in this article.

How Long Does An Automatic Car Wash Take?

How Long Does An Automatic Car Wash Take

On average, an automatic car wash takes around seven (7) minutes – this is pretty quick. There is no way you can manually wash a car and get it to be so clean within ten (10) minutes, but automatic wash makes it faster and probably more efficient.

However, because automatic wash seems faster (time-saving) and makes your car look cleaner doesn’t mean you should always subject your car to such a washing system all the time. It is alleged that automatic car wash can damage your car in a way you won’t notice quickly.

There are basically two types of automatic car wash; brush and touch-free. Brush automatic wash is a system where a set of brushes automatically cleans your car. These brushes constantly move back and forth on your car’s body to remove dirt and grime.

In contrast, a touch-free automatic car wash is a system where there are no brushes to touch your car; this may seem good because your paint won’t be scrapped by aggressive brushes.

Here, car washing acids are released on your car, and then hoses (situated strategically) spray water to your car to clean off dirt.

According to Auto Attention:

Car washes are the real cause of paint damages.”

In other words, how you wash your car matters a lot; you could be seriously abrading your car’s finish depending on how you wash the car and the tools you use for that.

Does Automatic Car Wash Pose Any Harm To Your Car?

Most people that provide automatic car wash do not maintain the brushes that wash your car. Apparently, over time, the brushes get seriously dirty, and if not properly cleaned/maintained, instead of washing subsequent cars neatly, they may leave some dirt deposits (though not so visible).

In the same way, touch-free washes aren’t as good as advertised. Although nothing gets to touch your car, there’s absolutely no way your car can be 100% cleaned through this car washing system. Also, the washing acids may not be good for your car finish.

There are just many things to consider before going to get your car washed with automated machines. Plus, below are some key notes regarding automatic car wash.

Facts about Automatic Car Wash

  • It washes your car faster than any other car washing method.
  • Touch-free wash means that nothing gets to touch your car as it is being washed, however, except water from the hoses.
  • Automatic wash costs more than a basic car wash
  • You will find automatic car wash centers close to gas stations

Automatic Car Wash Frequently Asked Questions

Automatic Car Wash Frequently Asked Questions

Since there are lots of controversies about driving your car an automatic wash, does this mean you should only clean/wash your car manually? Let’s solve this dilemma situation with the FAQs below.

Which is better – touch-free or manual/hand washing?

Again, as said earlier, touch-free washing looks good. But, in this system, the chemicals poured on your car (to loosen the dirt and grimes) can be very harsh on your paint, causing it to faint over time.

If you decide to go the brush way, most of these guys don’t clean and maintain their automatic car wash brushes properly; thus, the brush may be spreading dirt on your car’s body instead of cleaning off the residues.

In contrast, manual washing with a soft towel can perform a better job than automatic washes. This is because the car washer will likely apply some car wash solutions to remove spots, grimes, and stubborn dirt. But this method takes a lot of time, which is why some people prefer automatic washes.

Should my car windows be rolled up during an automatic wash?

Certainly, you should roll up all the windows and ensure that they are well closed before washing the car. Not doing this will cause water to get into your car, and this can cause damages to occur.

Is it safe to visit an automated car wash center after wax or repaint?

There is nothing wrong with washing your car after waxing or repainting, but before you do this, ensure that the waxing/painting has settled for some time (usually hours).

Also, it takes up to 30 days for some paints to cure properly, so you should be careful of the level of pressure your car gets while being washed within the curing period.

Does automatic car wash remove spots, eggs, tar, etc.?

Well, automated car washes are constantly becoming better. However, at the moment, do not expect your car to be cleaned 100% if it is washed manually.

Particularly, there are some particles that cannot be cleaned off your car’s finish by simply spraying water jets. Such particles require specific mixtures to be cleaned. Thus, the best way to get rid of egg, water spots, tars, et al., is by washing the car manually.

Can I get my car’s interior washed at an automated car wash center?

Most automatic car wash SPs offer interior cleaning (usually charged differently). The interior cleaning is done with specific vacuums in blend with shampooers or fragrance misters.

Typically, you’ll see these automatic car wash guys charging $1 per four (4) minutes to clean your car’s interior.

Further Reading:


Are you still going to ask, “How long does an automatic car wash take?” We have covered a lot of info in this article, and we hope that your question was rightly answered. However, if there are people ahead of you, it may take a longer time before it gets to your turn to wash your car.

The moment your car is passed into the washing center, the average time to wait is between 7 – 10 minutes.

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