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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had my van detailed and was disappointed to see scratches on the finish on the hood and the roof. No scratches on the sides. In the last year I had been taking my van to a commercial mechanized car wash. I had always washed my van by hand previously and had never noticed the scratches (that are all the way through the clear coat).
Has anyone else had a problem like this?
 

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Not uncommon with brush type car washes ... typically because the cars before you were covered in grit ... or because it's time the brush was changed!. It's why many automated car washes changed to jet sprays ... but they have the problem they don't always get them clean. Many car washes have "not responsible for damage" signs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not uncommon with brush type car washes ... typically because the cars before you were covered in grit ... or because it's time the brush was changed!. It's why many automated car washes changed to jet sprays ... but they have the problem they don't always get them clean. Many car washes have "not responsible for damage" signs!
What you suggested about grit is probably what happened. I live near the beach and if the prior car left sand in the brushes it would account for the scratches.

A good friend of mine purchased unlimited car washes from the car wash I used. He runs his car through this car wash, on average, 2 times a week. No scratches on his car.

This must be a rare occurrence otherwise the car wash establishments would go out of business. This particular car wash has been in operation over 5 years.
 

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It can happen and that's why I never go to a car wash (hand wash only).

A well-meaning family member took my old van through supposedly the best wash in town, and confessed after I told my wife there were very fine scratches all over and it must have been taken to a car wash. Most of the scratches came out with wax.
 

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Buy a white vehicle, don't notice the scratches, in fact, get dinged less in parking lots as well. :)
 

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Since 2017 the mantra of Chrysler, Ford and GM has been that you can have any colour you want, as long as it's black or nearly black!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to all for your comments.
Seems like a mechanized car was can indeed cause scratches but it only happens rarely.
 

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Thanks to all for your comments.
Seems like a mechanized car was can indeed cause scratches but it only happens rarely.
Which only makes sense when you think about it.

When you wash your vehicle by hand, you are supposed to use a clean wash mitt and you are supposed to only wash 1 or maybe 2 panels at a time before rinsing it out to continue to avoid causing scratches. In an automated car wash that has brushes (or anything) touching your paint they start out dirty from the previous vehicles and then get dirtier when it interacts with your vehicle.

Now, you might not notice deep scratches initially, but if you look at your paint (or any exterior plastics) in direct sunlight you will see swirls from these car washes. If you are ok with swirls, then continue to use the touch car washes, but at least now you are informed. In theory, these can be "buffed out" but as soon as you use a car wash like that again, all that work is gone.
 

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That's why I only hand-wash my cars. Keeps the paint looking good after years of ownership. Plus I can clean out the door jambs and under the hood.
 
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