If you think hand-washing your car is good not only for you as an exercise but also for your car since you think you can reach the really dirty spots, think again. Based on a study conducted by Paint Research Association, a non-profit organization composed of around 100 industrial members from the coating industry, washing your car by hand actually does the most damage to its paint job by "recording the highest scratch count."
The extensive study was reportedly conducted over a span of 15 months using four new and identical Ford Fiestas, "maintaining similar usage and mileage to ensure a fair test." The four Fiestas were treated differently when it came to cleaning the car. One was hand-washed commercially, the second car was washed using standard nylon-bristle technology, the third car used a commercial automated car wash, and the fourth was not even washed for the duration of the project. In total, the three Fiestas were reportedly cleaned 27 times over the 15-month period.
The vehicles were then inspected after two, four, seven, 12 and 15 months by directing a narrow beam of light across 19 specific inspection areas at an angle of 60 or 20 degrees. The results were then measured by a Rhopoint IQ Meter to test both the gloss and the haze of the paintwork. The vehicles were also tested for surface roughness, film thickness, surface appearance and scratching.
Based on PRA's findings after the study, the commercial automated car wash operated by IMO, supposedly the largest dedicated car-wash company in the world, "offered the kindest wash of all," thanks to its mitter technology's ability to remove dirt and contaminants from the vehicle's paintwork without any measurable abrasion. On the other hand, commercial hand-washing proved to be the most abrasive with the highest scratch count of any other method.
PRA concluded that washing a car with IMO's mitters "caused no more deterioration in paint quality than normal day-to-day driving."
Since there doesn't seem to be an automated car-wash service in the country, will you still hand-wash your car?
Photo from SXC.hu