When to Hand Wash Your Car – Automatic vs. DIY

There are cases to be made for the benefits of both the automatic car wash and a more hands-on approach (achieved either at home or in a car wash bay). For example, when you’re in a hurry and need a quick clean that doesn’t require you to exit the vehicle, a quick stop by the automatic car wash is your best bet. However, when you’re looking for a more in-depth clean, you might want to consider rolling up your sleeves and getting to work yourself.

How Much Time Do You Have?

There’s no denying that an automatic car wash is going to be quicker than a hand wash, even if you’re an expert or you have extra hands to help with the work. If you don’t have the time for a personalized clean, the automatic wash is a good alternative. This is especially true if you’re trying to build up a regular car cleaning routine and want to ensure that your car always looks its best.

How Dirty Is Your Car?

If you’ve recently gone off-roading or on a long road trip, there’s a good chance your car is much dirtier than it would usually be. This might seem like the ideal time to get down and really give your car a thorough hand wash, but the opposite is actually true. With large amounts of dirt, caked-on insects, and other debris, hand-washing everything away can seem very overwhelming. Many car wash experts recommend that you give your car a once-over in the automatic car was first, and then get down to the details with your own hand wash a few days later.

Where Are You Going?

For daily commuting and living, there’s no real need to detail every aspect of your car’s exterior. For a big night out, a corporate outing, a celebration, or other special event, you might want to take things to the next level. Like getting a haircut before a big date, a detailed hand wash can make your car feel extra special.

Are There Problem Areas?

Even the best automatic car washes in the world can’t attend to every bit of brake dust, every spot on the windshield, all the studded insects, and the other nooks and crannies that cover your car. If your car has particularly difficult areas in need of extra attention, a hand wash will yield the best results since you can spend as much (or as little) time where it’s needed.

In the end, the best option is to alternate between automatic and hand washing. By matching your car wash to your needs, you’ll save time and also ensure that your vehicle always looks exactly the way you want it to.