Maintaining your car is a natural behavior if you take pride in it. That probably means you like to wash your vehicle at automatic car washes, especially if you value your time as well. In addition to saving drivers time and money, the automatic car wash was invented almost a century ago. With today’s drive-through washes, you can clean and dress your vehicle for little more than it costs for a cappuccino in short order.

Origins of automatic car washing machines

A car wash machine is a machine that is designed to wash and clean a vehicle’s exterior. They come in various sizes and types, including tunnel washes, in-bay automatic washes, and self-serve washes. Tunnel washes use conveyor systems to move vehicles through brushes, high-pressure water jets, and soap and wax dispensers.

In-bay automatic washes use robotic arms to wash the vehicle, while self-serve washes allow customers to wash their vehicles using hoses, brushes, and soap dispensers. The type of car wash machine used depends on the needs and preferences of the customer and the car wash owner. Car wash machines are equipped with various cleaning agents and tools to remove dirt, grime, and other contaminants from the vehicle’s exterior, leaving it clean and refreshed.

A surprising fact about the very first automatic car wash dates back to the early twentieth century. Founded in 1914 by a couple of Detroiters, “Automated Laundry” was a laundry company. Even though the process was not genuinely automated (cars still had to be washed by hand), a row of attendants lined up in the tunnel, each with a different responsibility, washing, rinsing, drying, and so on, as a car was pushed through manually. When the fifties rolled around, car washes started utilizing automated processes. 1951 saw the advent of the first fully-automated “hands-free” washing machine. Car washes have significantly advanced and become quite elaborate in the decades since.

Types of automatic car washing machines

Roll-over and conveyor washes are the two main types of automated washes. The roll-over style of car wash requires you to drive into a bay and remain stationary while the car wash equipment passes by your vehicle. Gas stations usually have self-serve car washes like these. The other style, which most people are familiar with, consists of a long tunnel where your car is transported along a conveyor past synchronized machines.

In an automatic car wash, a car can also be cleaned using two different methods. Perhaps you imagine spinning, soapy hula skirts, and dangling tentacles while thinking of a car wash. The process uses soft materials to scrub dirt and grime away from your vehicle gently. Several car washes use soft cloths to remove dirt and grime. As a result, car washes today use more delicate materials instead of old-school brushes, making the process less aggressive and abrasive.

A “touchless” car wash, on the other hand, utilizes powerful water jets and detergent to remove dirt from cars. Physical contact with the vehicle is avoided with this method, but some areas may remain unclean because it doesn’t wipe any surfaces. Chemicals are also quite harsh. There’s not much difference between a drive-through and a drive-in car wash, whether it’s high-pressure jets or soft-cloth friction. Let’s go through the tunnel of an automatic soft-cloth car wash. Not all systems are the same, but the basic concept remains the same.

How does it work?

In the car wash, you line your tires up with the conveyor track as soon as you pay the attendant for which features you want in your wash (bare or with extras such as underbody treatment, wheel cleaning, and paint sealant application). You will engage your vehicle’s left front or left rear wheel by shifting your transmission to neutral and releasing the wheel. A computer control panel will be triggered to turn on the system when it passes through an infrared beam as soon as your car moves. Your vehicle will also be measured for length, and the system will automatically adjust accordingly.

The washing process begins with a presoaking step. The cleaning solution is sprayed on your car through several small nozzles as you travel through a metal arch to pre-wet it and start loosening dirt. The rubber on your tires and black brake dust particles on your wheels can also be cleaned with a tire solution and wheel cleaner at this point. This is usually an optional step. Moving back and forth through long strips of soft fabric hanging from a metal frame, your car passes through a series of them. Mitter curtains are designed to gently remove contaminants from horizontal surfaces on your vehicle, such as the hood, trunk lid, and roof.

After passing through the foam applicator, the contaminants will be removed. It involves spraying chemical cleaners onto your car using a series of nozzles. Color is often added to aerated cleaners to be more visually appealing and noticeable. Your vehicle’s paint can be sealed with Rain-X complete surface protectant for an additional cost.

Is it necessary to wash your car regularly?

The phrase “wash me” scrawled in the mud is a good indication that it’s time for a car wash. If your car no longer looks the same color, you probably need to wash it.

The solution to extending the lifespan of your car is not to wait until it’s filthy. If the service is considered routine, it is more effective than an afterthought when something looks like it needs to be done. In general, it is recommended that you wash your car every two weeks or so during the year. Vehicles contaminated by mud or salt in harsh conditions are more likely to develop this problem. The underside of your car doesn’t have to be washed every time you drive through, but a few blasts may loosen the material that would trap corrosive compounds and block drains.

Automatic car wash

One of the reasons for getting your car washed is that dirt, debris, and other contaminants are removed. You can experience corrosion to your metal (rust) and damage to your paint if you don’t treat those contaminants. It is essential to remove those contaminants. The ideal scenario will be if a professional wash your car by hand using specialized products. Nevertheless, the imperfect nature of the world forces us to have alternatives.

The truth is, dirt scratches your car’s clear coat because it is abrasive. Others argue that a car wash will also mark your car’s clear coat. Leaving ground on your vehicle and smearing it all over can cause severe damage. This is particularly true during dry weather. Road tar and mud can both trap moisture, which leads to corrosion.

Furthermore, salt and other corrosive substances can result in rust. If they are not removed immediately, a paint finish can be eaten away by bird droppings, bug splatters, and acid rain. A regular car wash is far better than simply letting your car deteriorate without being cleaned. In today’s fast-paced world, hand-washing by professionals is not always feasible. Regular maintenance of a clean and corrosion-free vehicle is best achieved by using a quality automatic car wash.

Are automatic car washes capable of removing contaminants such as eggs, bugs, tar, and sap?

Keeping your car clean will make it less likely for these contaminants to damage the paint. An automatic car wash may not remove some tar and sap; these compounds usually require unique cleaning materials. If you want a car wash to remove them, you might have to pay extra. It is less likely that mess like egg splatter and bug splatter will dig in and damage the finish if you clean them up immediately. An automatic car wash will remove most of the impurities on your car.

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Which vehicles can be washed automatically?

Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs at least four inches tall and with 84 inches of ground clearance can usually be washed in an automatic car wash. Some aftermarket accessories may not be guaranteed damage when installed at the factory. The bed must be emptied first for pickup trucks to be washed automatically. Occasionally, side mirrors with large sizes will not be compatible. In addition, some trucks have oversized tires and raised suspensions, and some have dual wheels. Despite this, most passenger cars can be washed automatically, including convertibles (if secured and on top).

Is automatic car wash machine safe?

There may be no brushes or cloth strips on a touchless car wash, so dirt and debris may not be smashed on the car’s surface. Yet, it uses relatively more substantial pressures to spray water and powerful detergents. Some wonder if touchless car washes are bad for paint because of such powerful cleaning implements.

Compared to an automated car wash with brushes or cloth strips, touchless car washes offer some safety benefits. Although paint damage is still possible, it is less likely. As a result, automatic car washes offer car owners the advantage of faster washing and reduced risk of damage.


  • How do automatic car wash systems work?

We built our top-of-the-range automatic car wash system to be touchless, high-pressure, and robotic.

  • What happens to your car when it’s automatic?

A dirty car’s clear coat will be scratched by dirt, which is abrasive. This is similar to what happens when you use an automatic car wash.

  • Do automatic car washes pay off?

The best way to maintain and protect the paint on your car is to have it detailed and hand-washed.