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Hand Car Washes & Detailing- Necessity or Extravagance?



One of the questions we get asked the most is whether automatic car washes, either tunnel or “touchless”, are really that bad for your vehicle. To which we respond, that depends, do you value your vehicle? If your answer is “of course” or even a lukewarm “I guess so” then continue reading and we will outline the reasons hand car washing and regular details are a matter of vehicle maintenance.


Customized Cleaning

When you take your vehicle to the closest and cheapest automatic car wash, your car is getting the same wash as all the other vehicles that go through. This means, regardless of how dirty your car is, its getting doused in heavy chemicals and scrubbed as though you just went off-roading through the mud. Automatic car washes have to be able to wash even the dirtiest vehicles so they have to use harsh chemicals which, over time, can degrade your vehicle’s finish. It’s also being slapped with the same, unclean cloth brushes as every other car; but more on that later. As for the touchless car wash, those use even harsher chemicals and high pressure water. Extended power washing your car can take a small paint imperfection and turn it into a huge problem very quickly.


A hand car wash, whether professional or DIY, can be customized for your vehicle’s specific needs. You may laugh at the thought of your car or minivan having needs, but believe it or not it does. Just like your car has specific maintenance needs to ensure it continues to run well and perform properly. A professional hand car wash at Eco Car Spa allows us to evaluate those needs and use only the necessary, and more importantly correct, chemicals and tools to ensure the best results.



A Better Clean

Is there anything more frustrating than paying to have your car washed and then getting home and realizing that it still has the bug guts from your latest road trip all over the front bumper? A hand car wash or detail, especially when done at Eco Car Spa, is going to result in a cleaner vehicle. The human eye is going to be much better at finding and cleaning all those bug guts on the bumper than the robotic automatic machine. And though a hand car wash may take more time and cost more, the results will be exponentially better than that of an automatic wash. As with many things in life, a clean vehicle is all in the details and a professional (or yourself) is going to be able to catch any pesky flaws.



Protects the Vehicle’s Paint & Coating

This is where the automated car wash vs hand car wash debate can get a little complicated and heated. Often times, a well intentioned owner can hand wash their vehicle and cause more damage than an automated car wash. If you’re going to attempt a hand wash or detail DIY style, it is strongly recommended you do your research on the proper methods to ensure you do not damage your vehicle. At the same time, if you’re taking it to a professional ask questions. Do they use the “two bucket method” (we do), essentially a soapy bucket of water and a clean bucket of water to isolate the dirt being removed from your vehicle. It’s also important to ask about the towels they use and their towel policy. At Eco Car Spa, we use only high quality microfiber towels, and a lot of them. We do not use the same towels on the inside and outside. We do not reuse towels between vehicles, each vehicle gets their own clean towels. And if one drops on the ground it is put in the dirty pile and not used. We do this in order to truly protect your vehicle’s paint and coating; reusing towels that have become dirty or that have fallen on the ground is guaranteed to cause damage.


This puts automated car washes at a disadvantage, the cloth brushes that are removing the dirt and particles off the vehicle in front of you will also be rubbed or slapped on your vehicle; resulting in spider web scratches or our preferred term of sand paper kisses. Repeated scratching of the vehicle’s finish can lead to costly and hard to repair damage.



Increases the Vehicle’s Value

Regularly scheduled vehicle detailing can actually increase the value, or at the very least hold the value, of your vehicle. A professional detail at Eco Car Spa can repair minor damage including scratching and swirls in the paint, while renewing the color and shine. Professional detailing products also contain UV inhibitors that protect the paint while extending its life. We can also restore headlights, improve the appearance of tires, remove stains and odors in the interior, and ,barring significant damage, practically restore your vehicle to it’s original glory. Doing these over the life of your vehicle can increase the amount it is worth when it comes time to sell. Not only do you get to enjoy a beautiful vehicle while it’s yours, you also get rewarded for the effort when it comes time to sell.


Below is the after picture of the vehicle above.



Cost Effective

You might be thinking that opting for hand washing and regularly scheduled details, over a cheaper automated car wash, is more costly and time consuming. If so, you have a point…sort of. It is true that a hand car wash or a detail, whether done by you or by us, is going to take more time over an automated wash. It will also, in that moment, cost more to opt for a hand car wash or detail. However, both of those will actually be saved in the long run when you compare to the time and money you would spend to correct problems caused by automatic car washes, or money you could lose in resale value. At Eco Car Spa, subsequent regularly scheduled (weekly or biweekly) care of your vehicle will be less expensive and time consuming, as your vehicle will not need as much time and attention.


Support Local Business

Lastly, an added bonus of Eco Car Spa vs automated wash is supporting a local business. Many automated car washes are large scale chains. We are locally owned and hire people who live in our community, which means you have the opportunity to support a local business which allows us to do more for our community.

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