We all loved going through those seemingly awesome drive-through car washes as kids. Seeing all those sponges and water splashing on the windows as our parents drove through to get a quick clean was reminiscent of being in a theme park. While these car washes are convenient, affordable, and extremely quick especially when you are rushing, these machines are extremely rough on the paint of your car. 

Some of the effects you may notice over time is scratches, deteriorations, visible swirl marks or damaged paint, which will cost you hundreds of dollars in refinishes. So consider these things before you head to your nearest drive-through car wash the next time you find your car filthy. 

Why You Shouldn’t Be Using These

When you think of low prices, you barely think of the word “quality” slapped along with it. In the case of these car washes, you have a bunch of people waiting in line for their turn through it that perhaps reaches a number of hundreds per week paying for this service. Think of how dirty those hundreds of cars are, and how all of that dirt is getting rubbed onto the scrubbers of the machines. Who knows if they even clean it at the prices they charge for the use of these washers. 

Cars require a great amount of care to keep them in tip-top shape. When you enter one of these drive-throughs, you will notice the high speeds of the cleaners smacking against your car’s glass and paint. What makes it worse is that a lot of the dirt that comes off cars sticks to these cleaners, which become reminiscent of small stones being slapped against the pristine paint job of your car.

Some Repercussions

Your car may look clean from afar, but closer inspections will find that there are micro scratches in different parts. While you may not notice any damages the first few times, imagine doing this often, then think about how much larger these scratches will become after months of steady usage. 

Car paint from the factory is extremely well-done and will last a decade or more if cared for properly. When exposing your car to these high-speed cleaners, you will likely require a premature paint job that costs a couple of thousands of dollars for a proper one. 

Additionally, if you plan to sell it, you may have a difficult time because of the condition of its exterior. It is a known fact that pristine paint jobs contribute to the depreciation of a car’s value, with a well-maintained one giving it a better value when you want to sell it. 

What To Do Instead Of Going The Easy Route

The first thing we recommend is to go for the handwash route to keep the longevity of the paint as long as possible. Whether you do it yourself or have someone else do it, this will conserve the exterior of your car. Auto detailing shops can help with this, as their interests are placed into giving your car the best treatment possible. 

If you plan to protect the paint for long periods of time and add water-repellent properties, go for a ceramic coating for your car as soon as you drive it out of the dealership. While you may spend a lot on the coating, you are going to be ensured that it keeps scratches away and wicks water away with extreme ease. 


It is definitely tempting to take the easy and cheap way out when it comes to cleaning cars, but do remember that doing so can be costly in the long run, and depreciate your car’s value. The best thing to do is visit an auto detailing shop often, as these detailers will take care of your car and pamper it with more taxing techniques. Don’t cheap out and take the right steps for your car to keep its shine. 

Drip Detailing is a premium auto detailing service center in Calgary who has served locals with the highest-quality detailing and exterior and interior maintenance services for five years. We only use the best quality products and technologies to serve our customers, and we ensure you that no detail will ever be missed with our services.