What Is Automatic Car Wash? Its Types And How Does It Work?

Automatic Car Wash

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Tayyaba Shafqat

Automatic car wash

There is a misconception in automotive detailing that all automatic car washes are the same. This is not the case. Different automated cleaning techniques and installations accomplish the same task: removing dirt from a vehicle.

Types of Automatic Car Wash

There are two types of automatic car washes: touchless and soft-touch. They differ in the time it takes for the car to be washed. Apart from that, they each have their pros and cons. As such, you should consider each car wash type’s pros and cons as well as the duration of the car wash. In this manner, you will be able to find the best car wash that suits your needs.

The Touchless Car Wash

The touchless car wash is usually the faster-automated car wash than the soft-touch car wash. It usually only takes about three minutes for a touchless car wash to be completed.

The Soft-Touch Car Wash

Even though the no-brush car wash takes a minute longer than the soft-touch alternative, it’s more effective at removing dirt and grime from a car.       

How does an automatic car wash work?

Apart from knowing how long a car wash takes to plan your schedule, it would also be good to know what happens in an automatic car wash. That way, you will have an idea of what to expect. The following steps are generally followed at car washes, even though each is different.

  • Park your car before you enter the car wash. Some car washes require you to exit your vehicle, while others allow you to remain in the car.
  • A sensor would indicate that the car is ready to be cleaned to the digital control system.
  • After rinsing the car, it would be dried. A cloth or plastic is used to remove dirt and grime from the vehicle after it has been rinsed in a soft-touch car wash. However, there will be no scrubbing in a touchless car wash, and the car will move directly to the next step.
  • Shampoo or detergents are sprayed onto the vehicle during a car wash.
  • The car’s surface will be rubbed back and forth by cloth strips attached to a frame in a soft-touch car wash. Instead, the next step happens in touchless car washes; this doesn’t apply.
  • The deep-cleansing foam would be applied to the car’s surface with a foam applicator.
  • Soft-touch car washes involve the vehicle passing through a series of soft cloth steps that scrub the car. As they clean the car with foam, the cloth steps latch against it.
  • Once the foam has been rinsed off, water is sprayed on the vehicle.
  • The vehicle would be dried either with high-pressure air or with soft cloths.
  • Additionally, some car washes pass through a low-pressure system that sprays wax on its surface. It is possible to leave out that part if you are not confident with the quality of the resin.

Advantages of automatic car wash

There are many reasons why people choose automatic car washes:


Handwashing uses significantly more water than automatic car washes. As a result, automatic car washes are more efficient and cost-effective than hand washing.


Humans quickly become exhausted. Whenever a person is tired while washing a car, the washing process will be inefficient. With an automatic car wash, you will not have to worry about this, and your vehicle will get a better wash. With an automatic car wash, you can trust the machine to give you the same results every time.


Automatic car washes eliminate damage to car parts while providing a thorough cleaning. While humans are prone to forgetting, being careless, and scrubbing the body too hard, a machine will not do it. You will be able to maintain your car without any scratches if you choose exemplary professional service.  


The automatic car wash saves time and is convenient. In just five to ten minutes, you can have a spotless car at your nearest automated car wash service. 

Furthermore, you can have an automated car wash process tailored to your needs. The automatic car wash machines in the UAE can be programmed to deliver additional layers of protection if your car needs them.

Advantages of automatic car wash

Disadvantages of automatic car wash


While automatic car washes are praised for their consistency, it can also be a disadvantage. If an extra layer of grime is locked in an even deeper layer, such grime may not be visible to the machine. An individual doing the clean would, on the other hand, hit that spot and remove the dirt. 


When the air drying is not completed correctly, an automatic car wash can cause watermarks on the car.

Which is better, automatic car washing or manual car washing?

Most of the time, automatic car washing is preferred over manual washing.

The automatic car wash seems to be the best option when weighing its pros and cons. The automatic car wash is the best option if you don’t have much free time. However, many recommend manual car wash, especially for luxury vehicles requiring special tools, products, and care. What matters is how much time and money you are willing to spend on car wash and what your car needs. A mixture of both is also recommended from time to time.

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Do automatic car washes damage cars?

Automatic car washes have become increasingly popular as they offer a quick and convenient way to clean your car. However, there is a concern among car owners that these automatic car washes might cause damage to their vehicles. The truth is that some automatic car washes can damage cars, but this largely depends on the type of wash and the vehicle’s condition.

Touchless car washes using high-pressure water jets and detergents are generally considered safer as they do not touch the car’s surface. On the other hand, brush-based car washes that use rotating brushes can cause scratches, especially if the brushes are dirty or worn out. Furthermore, some automatic car washes use harsh chemicals that can strip off the car’s protective wax coating and damage the paint.

To minimize the risk of damage, it is recommended to use touchless car washes or hand wash your car. Additionally, it is important to choose a car wash that uses high-quality cleaning products and maintains their equipment regularly to ensure it is in good condition. Regular washing and waxing of your car can also help protect the paint and prevent damage.