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What Is A Touchless Car Wash? Are They Worth It?

What Is A Touchless Car Wash?

what is a touchless car wash

What is a touchless car wash? As we ponder different car wash options, the touchless car wash becomes a prevalent pick due to its unique system. But is it indeed the best car care solution? Let’s find out if they’re worth all the hype or a major flop you should skip.

Key points:

  • Touchless car washes were not meant to replace a traditional hand wash, both should be used.
  • Touchless car washes are significantly safer than automated touch car washes.
  • A friction wash, or touch wash should only be done by hand.
  • Traditional automatic car wash’s tend to scratch your paint.
  • It’s better to wash your car at home or in a touchless bay.
  • Routine washing/detailing is worth it in the long run.

Understanding the Basics: What Is a Touchless Car Wash?

touchless car wash bay

What is a touchless car wash exactly?

A touchless car wash, as implied by the term, is a type of car wash that cleans without physically touching your car. It uses high-pressure water sprays and cleaning solutions to get rid of dirt and grime on your vehicle.

The type of wash you opt into is going to play a major role on whether you truly get a clean car or not. So the major question still stands, to hand car wash or touchless car wash? Let’s learn more about the pros and cons of both and get you to clean your car.

Understanding the Touchless Car Wash System

The touchless wash system involves a series of stages,

These stages usually look like this:

  1. Pre-soak
  2. Soap application
  3. Wax or protection
  4. Spot free rinse
  5. Drying

What’s great, is a touchless car wash doesn’t actually touch your vehicle. It uses pressurized water to perform a car wash without physically touching it. 

The only thing I don’t like about these is the order they are completed in. Waxing should come as the last step after the vehicle has dried. Most automated washes do the proper steps, but out order.

Automated Car Wash vs. Touchless Car Wash

While an automated car wash often involves brushes or cloth friction against your car, a touchless automatic car wash differs as it eliminates this physical contact. It’s therefore seen as a safer alternative for car owners who fear potential damage.

Regardless of the millions of types of automated car washes that exist, friction car washes or touch car washes have been around for years. Keep in mind though there are both automated touchless washes and automated friction washes.

They were once seen as a great form of automating our car wash routines, only to come out years later that these traditional automatic car wash locations only scratch your car more.

Small pebbles, dirt, and grime get trapped in the fibers of these brushes and then aggressively get pressed or place upon your car’s paint. This causes all sorts of small scratches and swirls, which you don’t want. 

Touchless vs. Hand Car Wash: Comparing the Pros and Cons

Benefits of Using a Touchless Car Wash

Less damage

Using a touchless car wash offers several benefits. There’s less risk of surface damage, it’s time-efficient and offers a thorough cleaning. It not only cleans visible areas but also under the body of the vehicle. 

Car wash or a touchless car wash are actually two giant different verbatims. No-touch car washes as we started earlier are going to be much safer than an automatic car wash.

Remember, touchless car washes work by using pressurized water to clean the vehicle.

Can be paced

You can use a touchless car wash to do a manual car wash too. You don’t have to use an automated one, in fact, I strongly recommend you actually wash at home, or bring your vehicle to washes that use a tunnel or bay where you can give your car a hand wash too.

Related: How to detail your own car at home.

If you need an affordable high quality car wash soap at home. I recommend the Chemical Guy’s Hydro Suds. It smells great, it’s easy to use, and contains ingredients to help remove dirt and debris significantly easier. A bottle lasts me a great while as well.

Disadvantages of Touchless Car Washes

While using a touchless car wash may seem appealing, it also comes with its cons. Stubborn dirt or grime might not be effectively removed. Also, frequent high-pressure washing can risk stripping off protective layers on the paint’s surface.


We get it, you want to preserve your car paint, and how do you do that? Take your car to the car wash and wash/wax it. Unless you purchase the membership packages (which can get pricey) the best car wash you can give your car is always going to come from you. 

Additionally, when purchasing detailing products, a little bit usually goes a long way. 

Therefore your bottles of cleaning product last for numerous washes rather than just one each time. This gives you a better cost per wash. 

Hand Wash: Pros and Cons? How About Both?

A hand car wash may be more time and effort intensive. However, it allows for a more personalized and detailed cleaning. In all actuality, you should be incorporating both touchless and hand washing options together for the best clean.

Using a brushless automatic car wash you can loosen the top layer of debris then wipe away the excess using the dual wash method (this is how I wash my cars).


If you need to wash a car, whether a touchless car wash a or if you choose to hand wash your car, you should be doing both. Car wash detergents are meant to clean and soften dirt and debris while being safe for your vehicle. 

Bring your car through one of the drive-through car wash bays and park it. You can also use a low pressure pressure washer at home (this is what I prefer). 

touchless car wash tunnel

Rinse your car with water and then power wash your vehicle with car wash soap or a foam cannon. Afterwards rinse the car to loosen any surface debris. Once that’s done washing your car by hand a second time will remove all the fine bits you missed without worrying about pushing dirt/stones deeper into your paint. 

Make sure you only use car wash supplies that are designed for detailing. 

Can a Touchless Car Wash Damage Your Vehicle? How About A Hand Car Wash?

How Car Wash May Cause Damage

Any type of car wash may cause damage if not conducted correctly. With a touchless wash, high pressure could impact the vehicle’s protective layer. Therefore, be careful about the wash system’s power settings.

Wash System Considerations for Your Car

When considering a car wash system for your vehicle, factor in your car’s state and the level of cleaning required. The touchless system may not be the best fix if your car needs a deep clean.

Related: How to wash an electric car

While this is true remember, if you utilize a touchless wash first then follow up with a friction or touch wash, you will get results you didn’t even think you could achieve!

Touchless vs. Brushless Car Wash: Which Is Safer?

Between the touchless and brushless car wash systems, the safer option often depends on respective considerations. Touchless ensures no physical contact, reducing the risk of surface scratches; however, brushless provides gentle, tactile cleaning. Indeed, one must choose according to their unique needs.

Specialty Car Wash Systems: Considering Ceramic Coating and the Like

Benefits of a Ceramic Coating in a Car Wash

As part of specialty car wash systems, a ceramic coating offers immense benefits. This additive forms a protective layer on your car’s surface, enhancing its appearance and protecting against weather damages.

Don’t let the products out there fool you though. Car washes that claim they have a “ceramic coating” built into the wash product are only telling 50% of the story. A true ceramic coat takes a skilled professional to apply as it’s much harder than wax. 

Ceramic coat needs to be applied by itself and very carefully. 

Different Types of Car Wash Soaps

Apart from ceramic coating, car wash soaps also play a pivotal role. The best touchless car wash uses soaps that are non-corrosive and eco-friendly, and which effectively deal with the dirt and grime on your car.

Finding the Best Touchless Car Wash with Specialty Features

The best touchless car wash offers not just a comprehensive wash, but also specialty features like ceramic coating. Careful consideration and research will ensure you give your car the care it deserves.

What Are Touchless Car Washes: Are Touchless Car Washes Worth It?

touchless car was night

How Touchless Car Washes Are Changing the Car Wash Business

Touchless car washes are indeed changing the car wash business paradigm, leading to more advanced and safer cleaning methods. Their increasing popularity owes to their convenience and minimal physical impact, causing traditional car washes to reconsider their methods.

Why You Should Choose a Touchless Car Wash

A touchless car wash can offer a safe, swift, and seamless way to keep your car clean. Its method ensures a contactless yet efficient solution, making it an ideal option for modern, time-pressed individuals. 

The benefits of touchless car washes also outweigh the risks involved when using car washes that use contaminated brushes as well as friction washes.

If it’s not you applying the pressure, it’s not worth the risk. Remember, getting your car cleaned by a professional, or combining both is the way to go. Take care of your car and wash it well and frequently for the best results. 

You want your car to look new don’t ya? Also, touchless car washes usually also have a “bay” you can drive into. That way you don’t need to worry about washing your car in the sun.

The Prospects of Touchless Car Wash as the Future of Car Cleaning

With advancements in technology and mindful of potential car care challenges, the future is promising for touchless wash options. Their efficiency and minimized risk of damage position them as a leading choice in the evolving car wash industry.

1 thought on “What Is A Touchless Car Wash? Are They Worth It?”

  1. As someone who drives a lot, learning about touchless car washes was a big help. With how thorough it is, I can see it as a great way for me to keep my car sparkling without needing to take too much time. I’ll go and look around for any automatic car washes I can become a regular at as soon as possible.

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