If you don’t want to spend the time and energy it takes to wash your car by hand, you can always just go to a drive-through car wash. But it’s a different story if you don’t know how to use a drive-through car wash.

In a nutshell, once you’ve found a carwash, all you have to do is pay at the payment station, drive up to the track system, turn off, close, and lock all the necessary things in your car for safety, and then sit back and let the automatic car wash do its job.

If you don’t have the time or patience to wash your car by hand, you can use a drive-through car wash instead. They are easy to use, get the job done faster than hand washing, and usually only cost a few pounds. But if you’ve never used a car wash before, it can be a little scary.

In this quick guide to using a drive through car wash, we talk about how to use it, the pros and cons, and how to use the handheld washers.

Why Choose a Drive Through Car Wash?

If you have a lot of time and like to wash your car by hand with wash mitts, soap, and buckets, that’s fine, as long as you know what you’re doing. But keep in mind that experts in car washes say that if you don’t wash your car the right way by hand, it can get scratches and swirl marks. But if you don’t have time but still want to wash your car regularly, drive-through car washes are the best option.

How to Use the Drive Through Car Wash?

How to Use the Drive Through Car Wash
Photo Credit:m.made-in-china.com

At first glance, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out how to wash a car. But it takes a lot more than a bucket and a sponge to wash your hands at home.

If you can’t afford to have a professional detail your car, a drive-through car wash could be a good compromise. Using a car wash is a breeze, thank goodness!

1. Find a Local Car Wash

You should be able to find a gas station with an automatic car wash without too much trouble these days. You can find stand-alone car washes near showrooms or even in shopping center parking lots, so you can get your car cleaned while you shop. Try to find one with soft-touch brushes to keep your clear coat from getting scratched.

2. Work Out the Payment Method

When you get to the car wash, drive up to the station where you pay and choose the service you want. In addition to the basic wash and dry, many drive-through car washes offer extras like undercarriage washes, wheel cleaner, etc. Choose an extra car wash only if you really need it. A basic wash is enough to keep your car clean. But if you want a car wash extra, choose the one that fits your car and your budget the best.

3. Enter the Car Wash

Drive up to where the car wash bay starts. You can put your car in the right spot by following the signs and arrows. Most car washes require you to drive forward until your tires line up with a track system or a conveyor belt, which will move your car through the wash. When you get your car on the track correctly, lights and arrows will let you know.

We know it’s obvious, but before you go through the car wash, you need to make sure that your car is completely closed. Any open windows or doors that are just a little bit ajar could let water into the car and possibly soak the people inside.

If you have dogs or small children in the car, it’s best to lock the doors and windows so they don’t get opened by accident while the car is being washed. Once the car is in the right spot, put it in neutral (for manual cars) or park (for automatic cars). If you’re told to, turn off the engine of your car.

4. Wait for the Cleaning to Begin

When the car wash starts, your car may move or shake a little bit. You don’t have to do anything; just relax and wait for your car to be cleaned. If you feel water coming in, check your doors and windows again and close or roll them shut if you need to.

5. Exit the car wash

After your car has been washed and dried, a series of flashing lights or other visual cues will tell you when it is safe to leave the car wash. You can take your time leaving the car wash with a clean car. Before you leave the bay, be sure to check for traffic and car wash staff.

Pro tip: After washing your car, make sure to check it thoroughly, both inside and out, just to be safe. Look for scratches or marks that weren’t there before. If you find something, talk to the manager or person in charge about it, and he can help you figure out what to do.

The True Cost of Drive Through Car Washes

Most drive-through car washes use brushes or miter curtains that spin quickly to remove dirt from the surface of your car. First of all, this is much less effective than mobile detailing, which completely cleans the inside and outside of your car. This might seem fine at first if all you want to do is quickly wash the pollen off your car, but drive-thru car washes can damage your car in ways that can be surprisingly expensive in the long run.

Just the friction from the cleaning machines is enough to wear away your car’s clear coat and cause swirls and chips in the paint over time. Not only that but dirt from all the cars that have been washed is still stuck in the parts that do the cleaning. When you wash your car, dirt and grime are dragged quickly across its surface, leaving scratches and chips. Some scratches and dents on your car are normal wear and tear, but those that come from drive-thru car washes do extra damage that isn’t necessary.

Long Term Consequences

Even though your car may look mostly clean from a distance, the scratches, chips, and whorls from the drive-thru wash can cause expensive problems down the road. Your car won’t look as good, which is the most obvious problem. This makes your car look older and can hurt its value when you want to sell it.

But a car’s paint job is important for more than just how it looks. When the paint and clear coat are kept in good shape, they protect the metal body from rust and corrosion. Your car will need to be repainted soon if you want to keep the protective paintwork and clear coat in good shape. A new coat of paint can cost a few hundred dollars, but letting the car’s body rust can cost even more.

Drive Through Car Wash Vs Hand Wash

Drive Through Car Wash Vs Hand Wash
Photo Credit:www.dubizzle.com

We live in a world that moves quickly, so we are always looking for ways to save time and money. The same goes for taking care of our cars. When it comes to keeping our cars clean, we can either wash them by hand or use a semi-automated drive-through car wash. Both options have their pros and cons.

Drive Through Car Wash

Technology has changed almost every part of our lives today, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that even washing our cars has become easier thanks to innovation. But what should you expect if you choose to have a drive-through system wash your car?


Time-saving: Automatic car washes save a lot of time. In 5 to 10 minutes, most drive-through car washes will make the outside of your car look clean and shiny.

Keeps your car safe: Drive-through car washes have brushes that are strong enough to clean even the dirtiest cars but gentle enough to make sure your car’s paint job doesn’t get scratched.

Made to fit the needs of your car: Now, at many drive-through car washes, you can mix and match the types of washes and finishes you want. This saves you not only the time and trouble of figuring out what products to use on your car but also the work of applying multiple treatments in a single step.


Costly: Both short-term and long-term, automated car washes can be pricey, and many of them offer extras that your car may not even need.

May Leave Streaks: It’s true that you can adjust the settings of a drive-through car wash to fit your vehicle. However, some older car washes still use dryers that aren’t strong enough to dry your car completely, so water spots and streaks may be left on your car.

Hand Car Wash

Hand Car Wash
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Car owners have been washing their cars by hand without a second thought for years. When automated car washes became more popular in the professional car wash industry, the hand car wash method became less important. But many car owners still think that washing their cars by hand is the best way. You can use this method to wash your car on the driveway or go to a professional hand car wash (with a bit of elbow grease). Here are the good and bad things about a hand car wash.


Perfection: The hand car wash method uses the mind and body of a person, which is why the result is usually very close to perfect.

Better reach: When you wash a car by hand, you can get into places that machines can’t. Handwashing is also easy to set up. All you need is a washing mitt, some microfiber towels, and a bucket of water.

Attention to details: Most car owners wonder if the hand car wash near them is safe for their car. Yes, that is the clear answer. Most hand-washed car washes pay a lot of attention to the outside of your car. Care is taken with every step of the cleaning process.


Damage caused by scrubbing: Scrubbing can damage the paint job of a car when it is being washed by hand. Using sponges and rags that are full of dirt can scratch the paint on your car.

Taking a lot of time: Washing your car by hand takes a lot of work and time. You will have to work hard for a long time in order to get the results you want.

Water waste: When you wash your car by hand, you waste a lot more water than when you use an automatic car wash.

Expensive: Manually washing a car is more expensive than other ways to wash a car. Usually, it costs between $15 and $30 to wash a car by hand.


Did you find this tutorial helpful? When car owners know how to use a drive-through car wash, they won’t have to worry about anything and won’t have any problems. Just remember the steps in this article, and you’ll have a smooth car wash.

If you want to share your thoughts, you can do so in the comments section. Sharing is caring, so send this article to friends who might also need it.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) About Drive Through Car Wash

Do Machine car washes damage your car?

Most automatic car washes don’t keep their brushes in good shape, so they leave deep, tiny scratches on the car’s surface. These are called swirl marks.

Do I turn my engine off in a car wash?

Some automatic car washes would ask you to turn off the engine of your car. But if no one tells you what to do, just follow the directions in your car’s manual. For instance, some cars need the engine to be turned off while the key stays in the ignition.

Can a human walk through a car wash?

Yes, that’s the answer. You can go into a self-service car wash even if you’re not in a car. There are no physical barriers or safety features to stop you from just walking through one, but you will probably see written warnings.

How often should you wash your car?

You should wash your car every two weeks as a general rule. Unless you drive on dirt roads every day or live in a place where salt is used on the roads. This is in the case of normal wear and tear.

Does rain wash your car?

One of the most annoying things about washing your own car is having to clean it as you work around it. You can use the rain to help you. As you go, it will rinse off the shampoo.

What is the best type of Drive Through Car wash?

So, if you asked us which one to use, we’d say the touchless car wash is the better option. But if you really care about how your car looks, you should try hand car wash and steam cleaning. Steam is strong enough to break up dirt and grime, so you almost never need to use a brush.

What happens if you break into a car wash?

Volvo says that if those are on when you go into the car wash, “the brake system will lock up when the car is still, and the car won’t be able to move.” And there will be a line of angry car wash customers behind you. The idea behind these automatic brake systems is to keep cars from rolling away by accident.

Can automatic car wash damage transmission?

Registered. It’s perfectly safe to put your car through a car wash (at least to the transmission). The conveyor is like that flatbed in that it doesn’t have any wheels that move.

Can I use Dawn to wash my car?

No, is the short answer. You should never use dial or dawn to wash your car because it will damage the paint and strip away protective coatings.

Is it bad to not wash your car?

In reality, not washing your car is bad for a number of reasons. Dirt is abrasive, and over time it can wear away at your car’s clear coat. This can cause more problems, such as rusting, pitting, and fading. It can also be dangerous if it makes it hard to see.

What is the safest way to wash a car?

Make sure you use a car-wash soap and not dish soap or another detergent that can remove the wax from your car’s paint. Start at the top of the car and work your way down. After each pass, rinse the mitt or sponge in the plain water bucket and rub it on the Grit Guard.

Can you wash your car too much?

If you don’t know how to wash your car right, you could hurt it. But you can wash it as often as you want, even once a week. Keep in mind, though, that if you wax your car, you may need to reapply the wax after each wash, depending on how well it holds up.

Will the car wash scratch my paint?

Sad to say, the answer could be yes. Some car washes are worse than others, but every time you wash your car, even if you’re careful and wash it by hand, you’re basically putting abrasive and/or harsh chemicals on the paint finish, and you always run the risk of swirls and scratches.

Read More: How Much Does a Car Wash Cost?

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