Are Touchless Car Washes Safe? Yes and No (Here’s Why)

Are Touchless Car Washes Safe? Yes and No (Here’s Why)
Are Touchless Car Washes Safe? Yes and No (Here’s Why)

In the age of automation and innovation where there are immense conveniences for humans, touchless car wash has emerged as a very popular and convenient choice for many car owners.

It is very difficult to guarantee that a car wash with a sharp brush will not cause any scratches. But a very important question remains whether touchless car wash is really safe for the delicate process of your car.

The answer is both yes and no, although they offer some advantages as well as potential disadvantages to be aware of. By going through this comprehensive guide we take you through the intricacies of a touchless car wash, ensuring that you can make an informed decision for your prized possession.

Key points we will discuss

  1. Key Advantages and Disadvantages of Touchless Car Wash
  2. Situations where touchless car wash can be harmful.
  3. Effects of long-term exposure to touchless car washes
  4. Alternatives and precautions to consider
  5. Maintenance practices to ensure the longevity of your car

The touchless car wash process has revolutionized the way we clean our vehicles. It promises a fast and efficient cleaning process without the risk of physical damage. However like all things it comes with its set of pros and cons. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at these aspects, giving you a comprehensive understanding of touchless car washes.

So is a touchless car wash bad for a car?

A touchless car wash uses chemicals and high-pressure water jets to clean your car without any physical contact. This means that there is no risk of a scratches from a brush or cloth. However, sometimes the chemicals used can be harsh and can damage the protective layers on your car’s paint.

Related Articles: How to Dry a Car Without scratching it

The appeal of touchless car washes lies in their promise of a scratch-free cleaning experience. Conventional car washing with a brush can leave swirl marks or minor scratches, especially if the brush is not cleaned regularly. But on the other hand, touchless car washes completely eliminate this risk.

But it’s also important to remember that while they protect your car from physical wear and tear, the chemicals used can be a concern for the longevity of your car’s exterior finish.

When can touchless car washes damage a car?

  • 1. Chemical reactions: Some vehicles have sensitive paint jobs that can react negatively to the chemicals used.
  • 2. High pressure water: If your paint already has chips or cracks, high-pressure water can exacerbate these problems.
  • 3. Non-contiguous cleaning: Dirt and grime cannot be completely removed, which leads to possible accumulation over time.
Touchless Car Washes Damage Your Car
Touchless Car Washes Damage Your Car

Although touchless car washes are designed to be safe for most vehicles, there are some situations where they can cause damage. For example, cars with custom or sensitive paint jobs may not react well to standard chemicals used in the wash.

Additionally, high-pressure water jets can be effective at removing dirt, but can be harmful if your vehicle already has weak spots such as chips or cracks. Finally, since this wash relies on water and chemicals without a brush, it can’t always clean your car as well as traditional methods, potentially leading to dirt build-up over time.

What happens under long exposure?

Repeated use of touchless car washes can cause this:

  • Discoloration of paint due to harsh chemicals
  • A disturbance in the protective layers
  • The risk of rusting increases especially if the vehicle is not properly dried

How to prevent rust from spreading on a car.

For those living in urban areas or places where traditional car washes are not readily available, touchless car washes may be the only viable option. In such cases, it is important to take extra precautions to protect your vehicle. By limiting the frequency of washing, you can reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Consider applying a protective wax or sealant to protect your car’s paint after each wash. And always make absolutely sure that you never leave your vehicle wet especially when the weather is cold or humid. To avoid the risk of rusting, ensure that the vehicle is thoroughly dried after each wash.

What if a touchless car wash is the only option you have?

If you are in a situation where a touchless car wash is your only option, this is important:

  • Limit the number of washes
  • Apply a protective wax or sealant afterward to protect the paint.
  • Make sure the car is thoroughly dried to prevent rust.

How to use a touchless car wash safely

  • 1. Pre-Rinse: Open your car to remove any loose dirt before entering the wash.
  • 2. Select Mild Settings: Select a mild wash setting if available.
  • 3. Post-wash Rinse: Wash off any remaining chemicals with clean water.
  • 4. Dry thoroughly: Use a microfiber towel or blower to dry your car thoroughly.

Using a touchless car wash is not a difficult experience. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your car can be cleaned effectively without any negative effects. Clean the vehicle first to remove any loose dirt or debris to ensure the high-pressure jets and chemicals can work more effectively.

When choosing your wash settings, always choose the gentlest setting if available. It reduces exposure to harsh chemicals. It can help wash away any residual chemicals after a wash, ensuring they don’t linger on your car’s surface. And finally, drying your car thoroughly can ensure no water spots or possible rust.

A reminder of important maintenance practices

  • Check your paint regularly for the chips or cracks
  • After a few months, use a protective wax or sealant
  • Consider washing your car by hand occasionally for a more thorough cleaning.

Regular maintenance plays a key role in prolonging the life and beauty of your vehicle. Inspect your paint for any flaws regularly so you can fix them before they become major problems.

Applying a protective layer of wax or sealant not only gives your car a beautiful shine but also provides an extra layer of protection against these elements. And while a touchless car wash is convenient, nothing beats the perfection of a good old-fashioned hand wash.

Taking the time to hand wash your car once in a while can help address any areas or areas that can be washed automatically.


Although touchless car washes offer convenience, it is important to be aware of their potential downsides. By taking precautions and following maintenance practices, you can ensure that your car stays in top condition for safe driving.


Does a touchless car wash save more water than a traditional wash?

Yes, touchless car washes generally use less water because they rely on high-pressure jets that make them more environmentally friendly.

Can a touchless car wash remove tough stains like bird droppings or tree sap?

Although they can remove everyday dirt and grime, touchless car washes may not be effective against tough stains. It is best to address these stains separately.

Will a touchless car wash scratch my paint?

No. A touchless car wash uses only a chemical application to pick up dirt and a high-pressure wash to remove it. Rotating brushes or drag curtains means no chance of crunchy rotating broken mirror antennas or body moldings.

Is it safe to use a touchless car wash in winter?

Yes, but it’s important to ensure that your car is thoroughly dried afterward so that there are no water marks left on your car.

How often should a touchless car wash be used?

Care should be taken to ensure that touchless car washes are used no more than once a month, especially if you are concerned about potential damage.

Are there any car models that a touchless car wash should not be used in?

While most modern cars are safe, vintage or custom-painted cars can be more susceptible to damage, so always consult your vehicle’s manual or a professional before making a decision.

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