Your vehicle is one of your most prized possessions and keeping it clean is important in terms of maintaining its performance and fantastic aesthetics. But what is the most effective way of keeping it clean – machine washing or hand washing?
Pros of using an automated car wash
An automated car wash is the most efficient means of cleaning your car if you’re stuck for time. Quick and often easy to find, machine car washes are a popular choice for motorists.
The average machine wash takes between five and ten minutes and there is no room for human error. These machines are built for purpose: to ensure your car is as clean as possible.
Negatives of using an automated car wash
While most automated car washes now use microfibre and foam brushes, this method still has a reputation for damaging paintwork. Their ‘stiff’ nature and sometimes rigid brushes have caused damage to vehicles in the past, including scratches and the odd wonky wingmirror.
Automated washes, albeit thorough, can be prone to causing watermarks on the vehicle’s body as it dries. Other motorists have also voiced their concerns about the chemicals used by machine car washes.
There is no option to clean the interior of your vehicle with an automated car wash.
Positives of hand washing your car
If you opt for a hand wash, you have two choices: doing it yourself or paying for a professional service.
If you choose to wash your car yourself, you’ll certainly save money long-term. You can also focus on the areas that you know need cleaning, as opposed to a more general wash by a machine. A hand wash is more environmentally friendly, too.
Professional valets are becoming more and more popular as they are seen as the more thorough option in terms of car washing. Many motorists claim that professionals have the best cleaning materials, therefore reducing the chance of damaging the paint.
This is a more personable service than a machine as you can advise the valets on what areas of the car need cleaning the most. Getting your vehicle’s interior clean is also rather straightforward when it comes to hand-washing your car.
A professional valet service may cost a tad extra than a machine car wash, but most would argue that the extra attention to detail is worth it.
Negatives of hand washing your car
A hand wash – whether you do it yourself or pay for a professional service – is always going to be more time consuming than an automated one.
Those who wash their car themselves also risk damaging the paintwork with excessive scrubbing or using the wrong substances.
Positives of jet washing your car
Another alternative is to use a jet wash to clean your car. Arguably the least time-consuming car cleaning option, a jet wash can be found at most petrol stations. You can also buy your own from anywhere between £50 and £250.
Jet washes are powerful enough to blast the dirt, dust and mud off your vehicle with ease and are generally very accessible.
Negatives of jet washing your car
While debatably gentler than automatic car washes, there have been stories of jet washers removing paint off a vehicle, although this would generally only happen if you moved the wand too close to the car.
As these are used quite regularly at petrol stations, the brushes tend to get dropped on the ground a lot, meaning there’s a chance you could end up scrubbing your car with tiny bits of grit or dirt. There is no drying feature when it comes to jet washing your car, so expect watermarks.
How often should I clean my car?
In an ideal world, a car should be cleaned once every week or two, especially if you often drive in dusty areas or off-road.
If you’re stuck for time, you could mix the above options – having a professional, thorough valet every month or so, while squeezing in a machine or jet wash in the meantime.
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