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The Unknown Dangers of a Car Wash

on August 4, 2021

The Unknown Dangers of a Car Wash

on August 4, 2021

The car wash is a place that we all think of as a clean, safe, and all-around good place to bring your vehicle. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some of the things that this chain of auto detailers can do are shockingly damaging to your vehicle. 

Tire Scuffs

While this isn’t normally the first thing that people look at, it is a real issue that others face. Many have found that their tires are marked and scuffed after one round in the car wash. This is due to the less-than-sensitive materials they use to buff your vehicle. 

Most car washes have a sign in their facility that explicitly relinquishes all responsibility of tire or wheel damage. This is to make sure that if their products damage your tires, they are not responsible. 

Another thing that could damage your wheels is the guard rails that your car is attached to when they are pulling your vehicle through. This scraping against the guard rails can cause wear and tear on your alloy. 

Potential Paint Damage

Much like the tires getting scuffed and marked up, your paint can receive the same kind of treatment. The material they use in the buffing rollers can potentially strip the clear coating off of your paint job. 

These places are not legally obliged to make sure their material is safe for vehicles, they are just there to give them a good clean. Whether it comes out with more scratches or issues is just a side effect.

Improper Cleaning

This is mostly an issue for the northernmost states. When the weather gets cold, salt on the roads can cause more issues than anything else. When you go to a car wash, you expect these places to pay attention to these issues and ensure they are removed.

However, the main focus of their time is money. Less time per car means more money in their pocket. That means that a lot of the time, they may be missing the underside of your vehicle, where the salt deposits develop the most. 

These salt deposits can cause rust and even eat through some parts of the metal under your car. If this is the case, then you will have a lot more issues than just a dirty car. You could have a vehicle that is a ticking timebomb. 

Antenna and Wiper Issues

Those who have older vehicles that have an antenna will be the ones most affected by this issue. When the buffers and rollers touch down on your car, they do not take into account the possibility of an antenna. 

This has caused many antennae to snap off. In older cars, this means that you may lose your ability to properly get the radio to come in. Wipers are at risk as well, as they are very flimsy for better wiping ability. 

Potential Burn Issues

One of the components of the cleaning formula in most car washes is called “hydrofluoric acid. It is highly corrosive, and not easily detectable at first. Once it gets on the skin, it causes extreme corrosion. It has also been known to eat away at the paint of a vehicle. 

In Washington state, between 2001 and 2013, over 48 instances were reported of severe burns due to contact with hydrofluoric acid. While this is often used to remove hard caked-on grime, once it reaches the skin, paint, and even glass of a windshield, it can cause some massive issues.

Recommendations

What we recommend is being extremely careful if you do decide to still use a car wash. Be wary of the issues it can cause and proceed with extreme caution. You never know what could end up happening to your car, and if you can’t afford it, then that is an issue in itself.
It is recommended more, however, to car your car at home with materials that you trust. There is plenty of shampoos and waxes out there that could really benefit your vehicle is used. Be sure to do your research and set time aside once every two weeks to give your car the attention it deserves.

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