The Dangers of Local Car Washes: 5 Ways They Can Damage Your Paintwork

Learn how to protect your vehicle from common car wash hazards and preserve resale value... 

As much as you love your car, it’s not always practical to hand-wash it yourself; sometimes it’s just easier to take it to a car wash and leave it to the professionals, who you hope will treat your car as carefully as you do.

But did you know that just one sub-standard car wash could damage your paintwork?

Whether you choose automatic, hand wash or touchless, all car washes come with certain risks – which is why they usually have extensive damage waiver policies on display when you pull up.

From high pressure hoses to poor quality cloths, there are many more ways for paint damage to happen at the car wash than you might realise – here are 5 of the most common.

1. Chemicals sprayed on to your car to make dirt easier to clean off can strip away wax protection and make paintwork more vulnerable to scratches.

2. Pressurised water jets can drive fine particles of mud and grit into your paint and cause minor abrasions.

3. Rotating brushes may contain debris (e.g. road salt) from previous cars, which can scratch your bodywork.

4. Cleaning/drying cloths aren’t usually changed between cars, so any dirt that’s been wiped off one vehicle can make the cloths scratchy for the next one.

5. Improper drying methods can leave residual water behind, which eventually dries into your paint and causes water spots (especially in hard water areas).

Damaged paintwork isn’t just unsightly; it can also affect your car’s value.

Whether you go on to sell your car privately or via a dealer, visible scratches are off-putting to potential buyers and drive down your valuation – sometimes by as much as 10–20% compared to an equivalent car with better exterior condition.

Although paintwork damage is fairly common (because it’s hard to avoid), just a couple of scratches can affect the condition grade your car is given – and as anyone who’s ever sold their car knows, the difference in resale value between grades can be significant.

So what can you do to protect your vehicle?

Car wash damage (or paintwork damage from any other source) can be avoided by investing in paint protection to safeguard your vehicle and give you peace of mind.

Car paint protection helps to:

  • reduce the likelihood of paintwork damage
  • prolong your car’s original colour and shine
  • maintain the resale value of your vehicle.

For more information on the benefits of paint protection, contact us today about Ngenco Protect – an invisible, durable and safe way to protect your vehicle from scratches, chips, road debris and malicious damage.