There is no better feeling than driving a just washed and cleaned car.
When my car needs washing, my first instinct is to take it to one of the inexpensive automated car washes close to my house. For about $5, I get in and out quickly, a good wash, and free use of the vacuums to get my interior just right.
One issue with automated car washes is once your car goes in, you lose control of what happens next and bad things can happen. Case in point, on both my Toyota 4-Runner and my Jeep Cherokee I’ve had my antennae broken off or damaged. I pointed out the damage to the manager of the facility and they were more than willing to immediately take care of it. This must have happened more than once in the past, because after about a 10-minute wait a new antennae was put and secured on my SUV.
Even though most automated washes these days are advertised as “brush-less” or “touch-less”, that’s not always the case. I got to thinking, how could my antennae get snapped off if it was “touch-less?” The way these washes work is the water is sprayed out by high powered jet guns, and they can and will cause cosmetic damage to your vehicle. This is not how automated car washes began in the 1930’s. Back in the day, brushes with nylon bristles rubbed up against your car. Over time, these brushes caused paint and body damage to cars. Many did think that using the nylon bristles got the vehicle cleaner, but car wash owners go sick of the complaints by customers on what it was doing to their cars.
A friend of mine is deathly scared of the automatic car wash. he will only get his SUV hand-washed and he supervises the whole ordeal. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.
The best tip I can give you is to thoroughly check your car over before pulling away from the car wash. Look for any damage, dents, or in my case, a missing antennae. Other experts say to be cautious of the “wipe down” after the automated wash. It seems to be a bit of trend, but some washes will have you drive your vehicle to a wipe down after your wash. Here, attendants will wipe down your vehicle with towels. These towels are used over and over again, so you need to make sure they are using clean towels. Also if the attendants are doing a “hard wipe” make sure they don’t do any damage to antennae or wiper blades in the process. Simply driving away from the wash and letting the air dry your vehicle is not a bad thing.