How Long Does an Automatic Car Wash Take? How it Works?

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Washing your car regularly is as essential as a proper diet for yourself to maintain beauty and health. So it’s necessary to maintain the value of your car for long term. when you ignore the car washing regularly, it loses its beauty and looks dull.

According to Automobile experts, washing your car once within two weeks is mandatory to keep it as a brand-new car. No doubt, it’s a very tiring and time-consuming job So, most people feel the ease of automatic car wash to save their time and efforts.

Before knowing how long does an automatic car wash take? You have to know what is Automatic car washing and how it works.

What is Automatic Car Wash?

Automatic car washes are touchless robotic systems in which no human contact is required to wash your car with excellent manners. Automatic car wash systems are divided into two systems according to working styles. One of them is a cloth friction washing system that contains many rotating fiber brushes, which provide a soft fabric friction process to wash your car without any damage.

The second one is a touchless car washing robotic system. The working style of this system is unique and marvelous. It doesn’t require physical contact from a man with the car to wash it. It sprays highly pressurized water on the car with wax and shampoo to give the car an attractive look in a short period.

The automatic car wash is the quickest mode of cleaning your car in emergencies.

A Step by Step guide to: How Does Automatic Car Wash Work? 

Washing a car with an automatic car wash is similar to washing a car by hand such as wetting the car’s surface first, applying soap or shampoo, scrubbing the exterior, rinsing, and drying the car. Let’s discuss all these steps in detail. 

Step 1: Turn off the Car

Firstly, you have to turn off your car and leave it neutral when you park the car in the washer bay. Close all the car windows before starting  to prevent water from entering the car. Finally, to begin the washing process, the sensors analyze the car’s position and send signals to the digital system of the automatic car wash.

Step 2: Spraying Water to Wet the Car

Water is sprayed over the car’s surface through the pressure washer, powered by an automatic wash system. This water is sprayed to remove the dirt and debris over the car. After wetting the car, shampoo or soap solution is sprayed over the car through a pressure washer again.

Step 3: Rubbing the Surface of the Car

The car passes through the tunnel to rub the surface of the car, which has a series of strips of soft clothes. These strips of soft clothes rub the surface of the car gently. 
After rubbing, the cleaning foam is applied to the car through nozzles.

Step 4: Scrub the Surface of the Car

The car is passed through the set of scrubbers to scrub the car, which also has a series of soft clothes strips. The foam is used to scrub the car. Then, the foam mixed with grim and dirt is removed by highly pressurized water ejected by nozzles. Before spraying wax and drying, the car is rinsed with clean water to remove soap residue, water, and dirt.

Step 5: Wax and Dry

Finally, the car is passed through the low-pressure system, where the wax is sprayed over the car’s surface to give it a shiny and attractive look. In the end, a dryer evaporates the remaining water.

Let’s move to the main question: How long does an Automatic Car wash take to wash a car?

How Long Does an Automatic Car Wash Take?

Averagely, Automatic car washes take up to 5 to 10 minutes for complete cleaning process. Moreover, the time duration of automatic car washing varies depending on the methods and apparatus used for this purpose. We have already discussed the two methods of automatic car wash: touchless car wash and soft cloth friction wash. Both these automatic car washing system takes time differently due to their different way of washing.

According to Automatic Car washing experts, a Touchless car wash system takes upto a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes. On the other hand, soft cloth friction wash consumes up to a minimum of 4 minutes and a maximum of 7 minutes for the complete process. This time difference occurs due to some additional soft cloth friction wash steps.

Self Car Wash vs Automatic Car Wash

Self Car Wash Vs Automatic Car Wash

Both self car wash and Automatic car wash have the same mechanism and steps. The only difference is that washing the car by hand consumes more time than an automatic car wash. Automatic car wash is the fastest method of car washing all over the world which doesn’t require any effort and energy.

But some automobile experts claim that the brushes of automatic car wash systems can cause a lot of microscopic scratches on the surface of cars which become visible with time.

The fact is that the brushes are not a danger for the paintwork of a car; it is debris, dirt, grime, and all other contaminated particles that stay in the brushes after a dozen car washes. All these embedded contaminants are disastrous for the paintwork of cars.

Most Automobile experts recommend that, if you have enough time, you must wash your car by yourself, because you will use the right equipment and detergents that are compatible with your car. You can deal better with paintwork and ensure and prevent your car from scratches.   

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of both.

Automatic Car Washing

Car Washing by Yourself


According to automobile experts, a car wash by yourself is better than an automatic car wash. No doubt, an automatic car wash is the best option in emergency situations to save your time. But, it is not good for your car to use it repeatedly. Despite having a lot of benefits, it can ruin a car’s paintwork due to its dirty spinning brushes.

Now, it’s up to you whether you choose an automatic car wash or wash your car by yourself. Thank you for keeping yourself engaged with us.


Do you turn your car off in the car wash?

It is not compulsory, but it is recommended for safety measures to wash your car safely. If you don’t turn your car off in the car wash, the highly pressurized pressure washer can cause a problem in the car’s electronic system.

Is it bad to wash your car too much?

Yes, It is bad to wash your car too much without any regular intervals. It can damage the car’s wax. The car, without the wax, looks dull and drab.

Can automatic car wash damage the transmission of a car?

Yes, an automatic car wash can damage the transmission by contaminating the transmission fluid. It causes the formation of rust on the metal parts of the car which effects its transmission.

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Owen Price

I'm Owen Price, the founder and car enthusiast senior editor of CarDetailingDIY. I love helping people and teaching them how to take care of their cars and that they don't end up spending thousands of dollars in detailing something that could have been done by themselves at home easily.

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