Auto Car Wash Machines Cause Vehicle Paint Damage
While an automatic car wash can degrade the paint job on your vehicle, there are plenty of ways to minimize paint finish degradation. The worn-out brushes used by some auto washes are most likely to leave scratches in your vehicles paint, and may even damage the cars clearcoat. Using an automatic car wash is not the issue itself, but using it as the sole method of keeping your vehicle clean could pose problems for your vehicles paint.
The scrubbing brushes used at drive-throughs or at automated car washes pick up particles and debris which scrape the vehicles paint. It is important to note that some older car washes still use abrasive brushes (instead of fabric). That is why it is important to have a vehicle detailing service to take care of your asset.
Dirt is abrasive, and it is going to scratch your cars clearcoat. The damage could be much worse if dirt is left on your car and gets all over- and that is exactly what an auto car wash does.
This is one of the most common causes for minor paint dings or scratches in car or truck paint jobs. In fact, it is so subtle even running a finger over paint on your vehicle is likely to result in a clearcoat scuff or a swirl smear. That is because dirt, dust, salt, grime, tree sap, even bird droppings all have a way of scraping off or damaging the clearcoat and paint work of a vehicle, ultimately allowing water to get underneath the surface. While some types of auto detailing are worse than others, anytime you wash your vehicle – even if you are gently washing it by hand – you are essentially applying abrasive and/or harsh chemicals to the paint job, and there is always the risk that the paint will turn a dull color and get scratches.
Running your vehicle through the car wash (or at a housewash) could do some serious damage to your rides finish, to say nothing of the random damages drivers receive at the autowash, such as dents, scratches, broken mirrors, or damaged windshield wipers. One problem with automated car washes that is not talked about as much is the damage the often harsh chemicals used in them can do over time. It is a very common practice for many car washes to use cheaper cleaners, the primary ingredients of which are often acids, which damage the paint on your car. Some Auto Washes do use soft materials, however, they are usually still not soft enough to really touch your paintwork without damaging it.
How Car Paint Swirls Look
Deep Micro Paint Anomalies and Abrasions
The fastest way to make your car look older is not bothering with paint swirls and micro scratches. If you have got a deep scratch going right through the car paint, car paint repairs might be in order. If you have several deep scratches, it might require you to sand down your vehicle in order to get a new paint layer applied. Paint scratches may also damage your paint if they scratch the top layer of paint.
Any type of scratch to your paint, be it a microscopic one (swirls) or deeper one (scratches all the way to primer), is caused when a solid, foreign object makes contact with the surface of your paint and is pulled through it over some distance by another object. Scratches in the paint caused by objects that are more abrasive, such as keys or rocks, tend to run deeper into your cars surface and are harder to smooth. Paint scratches are typically caused when another driver hits your car with his/her own.
Among a number of things, clearcoat scratches may occur from rocks that have touched the cars surface, or from debris from a street that has not been washed away in a timely manner.
These scratches may be covered up temporarily by basic auto wax, but in order to remove and eliminate the swirl marks, it is necessary to buff it out using a product with abrasive particles. If your swirl marks are really thick, as seen in this photo, then you will want to apply a cutting compound first to eliminate any heavier damage. Scratching the paint in a systematic, deliberate way, using a product designed for that purpose, is the only way for consistent results when dealing with swirl marks in black paint, or swirl marks on any color paint.