Are Automated Car Washes Worse or Better Than Hand-Washing?

Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start spring cleaning. But don’t just create a to-do list for your home or your landscaping. Getting your car washed is just as important, especially after the hard winter weather of the Midwest. Here are some expert answers to those frequently asked questions about spring car washing.

Is washing my car important?

Yes, to put it simply. But how important?

Salt, grit, and organic debris can all shorten the lifespan of your car’s finish, and that can compromise the body. Some people prefer washing their car once a week while others prefer to do so once a month. But it’s important to wash your cash at least once a season, or when it gets particularly dirty.

Do automated car washes do as good a job as hand-washing?

Getting your vehicle hand-washed goes the extra mile in keeping your car looking its best. If your car’s been traveling over roads with a lot of snow-melt chemicals, or it’s covered in mud, opt for a hand-wash. Better yet, find a reliable car wash or detailer; those experts can spot-clean thick mud and clean out the crevices of your car in a way that automatic car washes simply can’t. 

But if you’re maintaining your car after an easy-going winter in Kansas City, an automatic car wash does the trick. Just make sure the car wash uses the right soap and techniques to wash the winter road salt away from underneath the vehicle. What you can’t see can hurt you—at least, it can hurt your car, necessitating an earlier-than-expected trip to your local auto service center.

What extra car wash packages are actually useful?

Car washes offer extra services. Some of them can be absolutely essential after winter, and others are purely cosmetic. The three most common offers are:

  1. Undercarriage Packages – Undercarriage washes are a once-a-season necessity. They protect the underside of your car from long-term exposure to road salts, chemicals, and built-up grit. The metal and rubber under your car are very durable, but winter chemical can etch or scratch their way through the surfaces over time.
  2. Wheel Packages – If you like the look of shining wheels, a wheel package can make them look glossy and clean. But skipping this package won’t hurt your car. The worst that will happen is that brake dust will cake into the crevices and make your wheels look permanently dirty.
  3. Waxing Packages – Wax is also a cosmetic feature. Unless your car has a fragile finish or you just got it touched up, your car will do just fine without it. 

How do I clean chemical salt out of my car’s carpets after winter?

The same road salt that can cake onto the exterior of your car grabs onto the bottom of your shoes and works its way into your car’s carpets. Once winter is over, use a vinegar solution to scrub away at the stains. Unlike with the outside of the car, you don’t have to worry about abrading the surface. So, scrub away (or pay for an auto detailing service) without worrying about any damage.

Should I wash my car if the paint is new or has been touched up?

Before you wash new paint, make sure the cure period is over. That period can last up to ninety days. The first time you wash your car after extensive repainting, opt for hand-washing. If the finish is still holding up by the next time you want to wash your car, it should be safe in the automatic or touchless car wash.

How do I wash off tree sap or pitch?

Once spring starts, your car will have to handle a lot of organic debris like pollen and tree pitch. If you regularly park under a tree, keep an eye out so you can remove stains as soon as possible. Also, make sure your car wash has the right soaps for tree pitch specifically. Using the wrong soap or abrasive scrubbers can wreck the finish.

How can I protect my car during the spring?

Spring clean your car to get rid of winter residue. But save time to reclean your car once a month or before the start of summer, too. Spring brings bugs, leaves and pollen, and tree pitch. Warm, spring days near Kansas City can also make road tar an issue. The best way to protect your car is to clean it regularly.

What if my car is just too ugly to clean?

If your car just can’t be cleansed of its ugliness, it might be time to consider making a change this spring. Take a trip to your local used car lot, like our McCarthy Pre-Owned Supercenter near Kansas City, to trade in your old car and upgrade to a newer one. With hundreds of used vehicles for sale, we make it easy to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring.

mccarthy-pre-owned-supercenter

Contact our Blue Springs used car dealership at 816-224-7500 for details about our new SEARCH SHOP SAVE program and car specials, which allow you to find the ideal pre-owned vehicle at the perfect price! Or simply stop by our used car dealership in Blue Springs at 3030 NW South Outer Rd to browse our selection in person. Either way, you’re guaranteed to save.