When you owned that ’69 Chevy with the rust and dents that were all part of its character, you probably never worried about how clean it was or whether the brushes in an automated car wash would do any damage. Now that you have made the move to a newer vehicle, you may be starting to ask questions about exactly what happens to your car when you run it through those automated brushes. These are some good questions to be asking yourself since automated car washes can actually cause the dirt on the car to become embedded in the paint.

De-Cyphering Some Terms At Your Local Car Wash

Choosing a car wash that provides a soft-touch wash and a number of other services will ensure that you get the quality of wash that you want for your vehicle. To fully understand your options, below are some terms and that will help you understand what you need to choose.

  • Arch The device in the car wash that sprays out water and chemicals onto your car. Some car washes have different arches for different purposes such as bug removal solution or pre-soak

  • Pre-Soak A solution that is applied to the vehicle prior to washing to loosen dirt and oil

  • Multiple Rinse When more than one rinse is used, the final rinse may contain a rinse aid that makes it easier to remove residue and prevent spotting

  • Three-Color Foamer Conditioner or polish that gives the finish a better sheen and protection

  • Clear Coat Protectant A product that bonds to the clear coat surface to prevent sunlight and contaminants from damaging the service

  • Undercarriage Rinse/Wash The undercarriage is the area of the car that is exposed to mud and salt, putting it at greatest risk for rust. An undercarriage rinse or wash may be used to remove these contaminants and sometimes contain a rust inhibitor

  • WrapAround Brushes These are the rotating brushes found in automated car washes that are designed to “brush” all types of vehicles clean. They are also the types of cleaners that you should avoid.

  • Flex Service Washing This term refers to a car wash that offers a variety of washing packages to appeal to all types of customers. @the Car Wash offers a variety of washing packages and options for selecting additional services

  • Detailing A car wash that offers detailing gives your vehicle the attention to every detail that will make it shine inside and out. Areas of the car that are made from different materials, such as chrome or rubber, are cleaned with the appropriate products to optimize their appearance

  • Silicone Silicone is extremely water-repellent and is often applied to the glass windows to cause water to run off without the need for wipers. A popular brand is Rain-X

Although you may be tempted to pull up at the car wash and ask for the “Premium Package” without knowing exactly what it will include, understanding what is being used on your car and what it will and won’t do will help you make the decisions that will keep it looking its best for a long time.