Different Ways of Washing Your Car – The Pros and Cons

Different Ways of Washing Your Car – The Pros and Cons

As the weather improves, many drivers will be turning their attention to their cars; giving them a spring clean one way or another. Whether it’s a DIY job or taking it to the car wash, you may be wondering if there are benefits of choosing one or the other. We look at some of the pros and cons of the different ways of getting that showroom shine…

Doing It Yourself at Home


One of the main perks of washing your own car is the satisfaction that comes with it (Although much disappointment when it suddenly rains!). Many products, from shampoos to polish, can be purchased cheaply, however, to get the best result, you may have to spend a little more. Many products by Autoglym, which our valeting teams use to prepare our cars, retail above £10, though can last a while if you don’t clean your car often.

Another benefit is you get to know your car. That is, you can easily pick up any scratches or panel damage that may need addressing.

Self-Service Jet Wash


A common feature at many petrol stations, these self-service jet washes are ideal if you don’t have an outdoor tap or pressure washer at home and are surprisingly cheap to use. A variety of tools are available, however one which we advise you avoid is the sweeping brush; these are often left on the floor, so accumulate any grit and can cause some nasty scratches on your paintwork.

Overall, we’d recommend these jet washes be used for a quick hose-down on your car, especially if you’ve been somewhere like the coast, or the birds have bombarded it, shall we say? Such deposits can cause serious damage to the paintwork if not washed off as soon as possible.

Hand Car Wash


Hand car washes are a common sight nowadays and are very popular during the warmer months. Many of these car washes are reasonably priced (usually a fiver) and the staff often take great pride in their work, although it may take significantly longer than a mechanical car wash. Many also offer a valet at extra cost, which is ideal if you’re looking to sell your car, as it certainly makes it more attractive for potential buyers.

There are a few things to consider before using any kind of car wash, especially if you’ve purchased paint protection on your car such as Supagard. Many car washes use a traffic film remover (TFR), which is really strong, as part of the pre-wash on your wheels and sills, which can strip off any paint protection or waxing. Some car washes may even go as far as using this chemical on the whole car, which certainly doesn’t do the paintwork any favours, let alone the paint protection.

Automatic Car Wash


Mechanical car washes that are often found on petrol forecourts are a quick and somewhat entertaining way of getting your car clean, although they do get a bad press for how abrasive the rollers can be against the paintwork of your car. Fortunately, many car washes have been upgraded to use soft cloths and brushes to protect your paintwork, rather than bristles.

Whilst automatic car washes are able to clean those hard-to-reach places like the undercarriage, they may particularly struggle with the alloys. Some automatic car washes are manned, where an attendant will prepare the alloys and jet wash them before you go into the car wash. The pre-wash chemical will be the same as what is typically used in a hand car wash so bear this in mind if you have paint protection.

All in all, a mechanical car wash is a quick, hassle-free way to get your car clean, leaving you more time to relax in the sun this summer.

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