While many car lovers dislike the idea of putting their prized possession through an automated machine. There is no denying the ease of a drive-through car wash. One popular option is a touchless car wash. Without recognizing it, you’ve probably been through one before.
A touchless car wash cleans your automobile’s surface without using a cloth or foam applicators. You drive into a tunnel where your automobile is washed automatically with high-pressure hoses that soap and rinse it. Sensors run the length of the tunnel, allowing the hoses to follow and clean the vehicle’s distinctive shape.
It employs stronger chemical soaps than regular car washes to compensate for not being manually cleansed with an applicator of any sort. They’re made with the car’s safety in mind, with the goal of reducing the scratches and swirls that applicators are known for.
With that in mind, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of this car wash and see what they’re all about.
What Do You Mean By Touchless Car Wash?
A touchless car wash is remarkably similar to a traditional drive-thru car wash. High-pressure water jets and more potent chemicals are used instead of enormous rotating brushes or lengthy strips of undulating fabric. You may have even utilized a touchless car wash without noticing the difference between it and a standard automatic car wash.
You won’t notice any change if you aren’t paying attention to the mechanisms employed to clean your automobile or truck. You’ll see a difference in the quality of the washing when your vehicle emerges from the other end. High pressure cannot totally replace personally contacting your paint’s surface to clean it.
Touchless car wash often utilizes a combination of high pH and low pH cleaning chemicals to narrow the gap by breaking down the bond that dirt and road grime have with your car’s transparent layer. These chemicals aid the touchless car wash’s function, allowing it to generate a substantially cleaner outcome than with simple pressure.
Unfortunately, it does not always perform as well as a more traditional car wash, but the results are usually more than satisfactory.
Pros Of Touchless Car Wash
Aside from efficiency, the most apparent advantage of a touchless car wash is that applicators will not touch or scratch your vehicle. Even a mildly abrasive cloth or sponge can quickly generate micro-scratches and swirls, depending on the color and finish of your car. This will be especially noticeable on dark-colored automobiles. Even lighter coatings, however, might get dulled over time as a result of micro-scratches.
Brushes and materials used in traditional car washes are notorious for scratching. Touchless car wash only uses high-pressure hoses to soap and rinse your vehicle, considerably reducing the chance of scratches. The sensors guide the hoses over your car’s exact contour, ensuring a complete clean.
Touchless car wash recycles as much water as possible. The used water is collected, purified, and stored before being reused in the following wash. This results in a considerable reduction in water consumption, which is especially essential at a time when water conservation is a priority.
Washing a car on a regular basis may appear to be a waste of water for the environmentally concerned driver. Still, automated systems benefit the environment and relieve stress by reusing water whenever possible.
At traditional car washes, dents are also a typical occurrence. Rollers can break, workers can become distracted, and even the staff moving your vehicle to various cleaning stations can cause accidents. Touchless car wash is free of these dangers due to automation.
There are some areas on your car that you can’t get to in a reasonable amount of time. Thick, dried mud can build up on your car’s undercarriage and cause issues. Dirt can build on the inside of your wheel rims, causing them to spin unevenly and shaking your car at high speeds.
Washing the undercarriage and wheel rims is nearly impossible unless you are highly diligent or have access to a car lift. A high-pressure wash may easily and swiftly remove the muck.
Touchless car wash is typically far less expensive than regular car washes due to the reduction in the requirement for manpower and application supplies. They can also be completed quickly, allowing for a faster vehicle turnaround.
Simple And Quick
Touchless washing is appealing because of its convenience and simplicity. Simply pull up, and the sprayers will give your car an essential rinse. Then, using sensor automation, a powerful soap is used to ensure that all portions of the car are reached. The vehicle is cleaned once more before being dried with a blow dryer. This effective procedure allows vehicles to pass rapidly.
Cons Of A Touchless Car Wash
The touchless car wash process is so straightforward that it appears to have only advantages. However, the technique has not yet been completed, and there are concerns to be aware of before rushing to your nearest car wash.
Even with the intensive high-pressure spraying, the hoses cannot reach certain areas of your vehicle. The sensors allow the hoses to move with the contour of your car. But they still can’t reach into the smallest nooks and crannies. A touchless car wash can clean parts of your vehicle that you can’t, such as the underside, but the opposite is also true.
Because of the numerous differences in car designs and wheel rims, the hoses will never be able to reach every part of the vehicle. A touchless car wash may only clean about 80% of your car. So, while your car will usually be clean, there will be times when you’ll need to return with a cloth to clean some hard-to-reach areas. A touchless car wash is a good option for normal maintenance cleaning.
Because no one is rubbing on the surface, a touchless car wash requires stronger chemicals than typical washes. Even with high-pressure hoses, a strong solvent is needed to remove all of the debris that your car accumulates throughout its daily trip.
Although no method of washing your car is entirely risk-free, these strong chemicals can further harm your car’s paint surface. If these chemicals are applied too frequently, they might progressively wear down the clear coat.
While reusing water is beneficial for the environment, it might also pose a risk to your car’s finish. Although the water is regularly filtered and reconditioned, the chemicals can still linger in it, thus increasing the risk. Your vehicle receives a pre-rinse in a touchless wash method. Dirt and grit may remain on your car if this is not done correctly.
The high-pressure hoses used can force the grit around, potentially inflicting further scratches. A high-pressure hose will simply exacerbate the problem if you have an older automobile with a delicate finish that is already bubbling or peeling. It’s advisable to wash the car yourself in this instance.
How Frequently Should Your Car Be Washed?
It all depends on where you live and how you get around. There are some spots where your car can get extremely dirty very quickly, and others where it can stay clean for an extended period of time.
The general guideline is that your car should not be covered in dirt for an extended time. If you do so, the dirt may become adhered to the car, making the task of removing it difficult and dangerous.
If dirt is clinging to your car’s paint, it’s more likely that the paint will be removed along with the dirt when you wash it. So make sure you don’t leave any dirt on your car for an extended period.
Touchless Car Wash: Are They Safe For Paint?
While touchless car wash is considered to be safer for your paintwork, they are not without risk. Let’s take a closer look.
Water Pressure Is Too High
The touchless car wash uses a far higher level of pressure than traditional automated car washes to compensate for the lack of friction. This increased power from the jets can throw particles from a badly filthy car over the paintwork, resulting in scratches.
Aside from the scratches, some people don’t like the idea of any undue force on the clear coat of paint, and I’m confident that putting a car through these types of washing on a regular basis will damage it.
One of the other methods of cleaning this touchless car wash employs extremely powerful and harsh chemical detergents to break down the grime on top of the paintwork, as indicated before. Again, these harsh chemicals are not long-term clear coat safe, and I would not recommend exposing any car to them for an extended period.
To run these touchless systems with high-pressure water, the water must first be conditioned before the machine can use it. The water is “softened” by adding salts, which removes more extensive minerals and allows the water to flow through the systems more easily and quickly. Water reconditioning causes an accumulation of salt in the water, which can leave a coating of dried salt on the paintwork.
Ceramic Coatings / Strip Protection
If your paintwork has a ceramic coating or wax, you can expect it to have deteriorated or entirely removed after a few passes through one of these touchless car wash systems. It would be futile to partially remove or impair the long-term effectiveness of such protection if you had gone to the trouble of applying it on your paintwork.
What Are The Steps In A Touchless Car Wash?
In most cases, the touchless car wash method consists of four parts. Further steps or sub-steps may be added depending on the “package” picked and individual car wash. Still, wash selection, rinsing, washing, and drying are usually the bare minimum you pay for when using a touchless car wash.
Selecting A Wash
There is a screen for payment and selecting the type of wash you want before sending your car through the car wash. The type of washing your vehicle receives can range from basic to complex, with features such as several soap layers, protective coating application, tires shine, and drying options available. You will pay more for the wash the more you want it to do.
The majority of automated washers begin the cleaning procedure by rinsing. Although rinsing the car before washing it is crucial because it helps loosen surface grime and make it simpler to remove, rinsing alone does not entirely prevent paint damage.
Because rinsing your vehicle is primarily a warm-up for the actual washing. It is not intended to remove the dirt accumulated on its surface completely.
If a fundamental package is chosen, the washing phase of the procedure is usually the last step for a most touchless car wash. Most washes also feature dryers; however, they usually demand additional cost. This is the stage that poses the most risk to your vehicle’s paint. Both the use of highly concentrated soaps and the use of high-pressure water can be harmful.
You can use a fan explicitly designed for drying autos for this quick wash. Leaf blowers are also often used, but you must be cautious because an unclean one may blow debris onto your car. They also feature big nozzles, making it challenging to guide air to particular regions of your vehicle.
When blow-drying your car, start at the top and work your way down. Working on one portion at a time, blast air into all the cracks, door jambs, and vents to remove all the trapped water.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Touchless Car Wash?
Let’s speak about how to make the most out of your touchless car wash experience now that you’ve learned about all of the benefits and some of the drawbacks.
- To avoid watermarks, make sure your car wax job is in good shape before going to the car wash.
- To ensure that your car is completely dry, drive slowly past the blow dryers.
- If necessary, bring a clean microfiber wipe to remove any remaining water.
- Maintain a gorgeous, high-quality sheen by getting your car washed every two weeks.
Is A Touchless Car Wash Harmful?
Touchless car wash relies on powerful detergents and chemicals to take grime from your car’s surface instead of physical “scrubbing.” They can, however, degrade the clear coat, which is a pigment-less polyethylene paint that is usually 1.5 to 2.0 mils thick. Its goal is to preserve the paint from minor scratches, acidic road filth, UV rays, and other factors.
Without a clear coat, the paint will gradually dull and become patchy, and scratches may corrode, lowering the resale value of your vehicle. If you notice this, know that you can probably restore a lot of the brilliance using a Paint Correction.
Many people recommend adding a fresh coat of wax after your monthly laser wash to combat this. However, because frictionless washes aren’t as effective as sponges and brushes, this could present problems. If your vehicle is unclean, there may be grime left behind, and if you add a coat of wax without first removing it, you risk masking the toxic elements.
The high-pressure water jets, which typically spray at 1,000-2,200 PSI, are another way a touchless car wash might harm your vehicle. They’re not only good at removing light to medium levels of dirt. But they also have the potential to damage paint in previously cracked or chipped places. While there are other ways a touchless car wash might damage your vehicle, these are the most typical.
Is A Touchless Car Wash Safe For The Environment?
According to a 2018 assessment from the International Car Wash Association (ICA), the typical in-bay automatic car wash uses 42-44 gallons of water per vehicle. The most efficient uses around 27 to 29 gallons. When you compare that to the estimated 80- to 150-gallon average of a conventional hand-wash. You’ll see how eco-friendly touchless vehicle washes are.
Their computer-controlled systems constantly monitor and measure water usage, allowing them to do this. Furthermore, used water is often filtered, treated, and reused before being dumped into the sewage system rather than storm drains. As a result, the environmental impact is almost non-existent.
With this in mind, if you still want to wash your car by hand, opt for organic car wash products, which are gentler on Mother Nature. To save water, attach a shut-off nozzle to the end of your hose.
Alternatives To Touchless Car Wash
1. Via Washing Tunnels
A tunnel wash entails driving your vehicle onto a conveyor belt, shifting into neutral, and allowing the belt to pull you through the wash cycle. You’ll come across spinning bristles, overhead brushes, and high-pressure blowers along the way. Because tunnel washes take up more room and are more expensive to maintain, they are less frequent than touchless alternatives.
2. Via Waterless
A car wash that does not use water is known as a waterless car wash. These are getting more popular; however, they are not as effective as standard water and microfiber cloth hand washes.
A waterless wash isn’t so much a different type of hand wash as it is a different product. Although the car wash procedure differs slightly from a water-based hand wash.
3. Via Self Service
A self-service wash is a form of car wash where you park your car and pay to have your vehicle washed with a spray nozzle. These were also far more prevalent in the past than they are now. Most models also let you choose from a variety of nozzle sprays and soaps that are blended with the water. Many come with a foam brush for applying soap.
These washes give you more control over what goes into your car wash. They can be quick in an emergency, but utilizing the foam brush or high-pressure spray settings too quickly might damage the paint (such as not understanding how to remove Plasti Dip).
4. Via Station For Self-Help
Because of the proliferation of faster automatic washes, DIY stations are significantly less frequent than they formerly were. A DIY station car wash is a vehicle wash with bays where you can use on-site washing equipment for a minimal price.
This is a good option if you don’t have or don’t want to buy your own equipment, although the rented equipment’s consumption level may be high. Scratches can also be caused by using filthy equipment.
5. Via Service Station
A service station is similar to a DIY station, only that instead of you, employees hand wash your vehicle using their equipment. This is a far faster option to get your vehicle hand-washed. But it comes with the same risks as using filthy equipment.
6. Via Mobile
Car washes that come to you are known as mobile car washes. If the company has a solid reputation, this can be wonderful because your vehicle can get a hand wash and everything else you might need without having to leave your house. The most significant disadvantage of mobile car washes is their high cost.
7. Via Automatic
Touchless automatic vehicle washes are one of several various types of automatic car washes. Tunnel washes and brushless washes are two further forms. Tunnel car washes use a series of wash machinery, mainly rotating brushes, to propel your vehicle along. After your car has been washed, attendants will normally drive it out to more attendants who will continue the job and dry it.
Touchless automatic car washes, tunnel washers, and conventional automatic car washes are not the same as brushless automatic car washes. They use strips of softer material such as cotton instead of brushes to try to be friendlier on vehicle paint as they spin.
Touchless Car Wash Facts:
- Touchless car washes use water sprayed at high pressure and powerful detergent, without any spinning brushes or cloth strips.
- They can be in-bay or in a tunnel and require selecting the washing procedure and making payment in a machine.
- Touchless car washes are safer than other automated car washes that use brushes or cloth strips, but there still may be a chance of paint damage.
- Applying a protective coating on a car’s surface and keeping a clean cloth prepared for excess moisture can help prevent scratches.
- Gas stations with touchless car washes often offer discounts on car washing when you buy gas.
- Lowering the car’s exterior-mounted antenna and ensuring windows and doors are closed shut can help prevent damage from high-pressure water.
- Driving slowly when drying through blowers can ensure the car is thoroughly dried.
- Traditional automatic car washes use spinning brushes, while brushless car washes use cloth strips, but both have a higher risk of scratching and paint damage.
- Hand car washing is the safest and most thorough type of car wash, but it takes more time and preparation.
- Touchless car washes are the quickest and most effortless way to get a car washed safely.
Touchless Car Wash – Final Verdict:
A touchless car wash is generally safer than other types of washers for your vehicle. When nothing comes into contact with your paint during the cleaning process, it is better protected. A touchless car wash uses water pressure to clean your vehicle without having to touch it. Touchless car wash is effective in general, but they aren’t a replacement for traditional car washes.
They can help keep your automobile looking excellent when you don’t have time to give it a full physical wash. Because they can remove 70-90 percent of the dirt on it. However, after a few touchless car wash, you must give your car a complete, hands-on wash to remove all the dirt and toxins that the touchless car wash may have missed.