How Does the Paintwork of a Car Appear After 25 Washes – Equivalent of a Year’s Worth of Washing?
The results are depressing, at least to the car owner who, up to now, has firmly believed in hand washing. The deepest scratches after hand washing had a depth of more than one-tenth of the paint surface. Under the microscope, the paintwork looked like a cratered landscape. The paintwork was deeply scored and scratched – the result of dirt and trapped sand particles.
In handwashing, invariably too little water is used. Even with a garden hose and a sponge technique, small sand particles lodge themselves firmly in the fine pores of the sponge or wash mitt and cannot be removed even by good rinsing. Such particles work on the paint surface like sanding discs. Furthermore, the handwashing produced a tangle of uneven scratches on the paint surface.
By comparison, the surfaces of the test vehicle washed with automatic car washing equipment appeared different. Compared with the hand washed surfaces, it was remarkably smooth, with many very fine markings virtually parallel and uniform – less than .0003mm – the result of evenly moving and rotating cloth pads and curtains. The machine-washed surfaces were in very good condition after 25 washes.
Wash a car by hand or by machine, in either case, it looks immaculate right after the wash. The sophisticated test described suggests that looks are deceiving: The paintwork on a car washed by automatic car washing equipment is in much better condition than one washed by hand – even though the car owner lavishes tender, loving care on their vehicle.
Eventually, either by force of habit or because the car finish looks dull, the weekend hand washer resorts to the lengthy and back-breaking chore of applying abrasive rubbing compound or similar pastes and liquids to their vehicle. This process indeed restores the luster to the finish. Such “pampered” cars naturally appear to have just rolled out of the showroom. The proud motorist forgets the long hours with the rubbing compound and is probably unaware that the reason for all that work (to get the scratches out) was their energetic hand washing procedure on previous weekends.
On the other hand, the motorist who uses the services of a professional car wash with their automatic car washing equipment subjects the paintwork of their vehicle to the thorough, but gentle action of cloth pads and curtains which treat their paint job with tender, loving care. Knowing that the car finish has to have some protection against the ravages of the chemicals in the air and to also provide a barrier of protection against bird droppings and other contaminants, this car owner will periodically apply a coat of wax to their vehicle. At that moment, their car looks as if it had just rolled out of the showroom.
In comparison, although both cars after washing and other treatment will look pretty much the same, a car is actually treated better (especially concerning the paint finish) by machine washing at a professional car wash and the application of wax than a car washed by hand (with the resulting need for the application of rubbing compounds, etc.). However, in the process, the car owner who utilized the services of a professional car wash has saved a great deal of time, labor, and effort.