What Happens When a Car Wash Damages My Car?

Do you want to keep your car clean and in good condition? Taking it to a car wash is a great option. After all, they are experts in cleaning cars and will know exactly what to do to ensure that your car retains its luster. But what happens when the car wash damages your car?

Are car washes safe?

The International Carwash Association in 2014 released its first report on the rate of car damage in car washes across the country. 250 locations across the country were included in the study. The report showed that the damage rates were at 0.1 percent. This is out of 4.4 million cars washed. Car washes are therefore relatively safe places, right?

Although the figures in the report show that damage doesn’t occur often, it shows that car damage can still occur in car washes. Car owners therefore need to be keen on the condition of their cars going in and out of the car wash.

How car washes can damage your car

There are many ways that cars can be damaged in car washes. The following are some of the most common causes of damage to cars:

  1. Using hard brushes and harsh chemicals

Harsh chemicals and brushes are often used in car washes to loosen dirt and oil on the surface of the cars. The combination of the harsh chemicals and the high speed rotating brushes may sometimes cause scratches on cars especially when the brushes come into contact with the paint.

  1. Using high pressure

Water is blasted on cars at high pressure to remove dirt as well as the harsh chemicals used to clean the cars. Using extremely high pressure can cause water to penetrate cracks and crevices in the car’s windows and body resulting in the damage of electronic components as well as interior finishes.

  1. Ineffective drying techniques

Many automatic car washes blow air over the car to dry it. This doesn’t get rid of the water that penetrated the cracks and crevices of your car. There will be damage down the road due to mineral deposits in the water that remains in these cracks. You could experience permanent damage to your paint job. Damage may also occur with manual drying. A dirty, dry towel can cause scratches to your paint job.

  1. Poor handling

Accidents do happen. Damage to your vehicle’s parts can occur as a result of poor handling by car wash attendants. A majority of claims are reported to be for mechanical damage to antennas and wiper blades.

What to do

Many car washes post a disclaimer stating that they cannot be held responsible for any damage that may occur during the washing of your car. Does this mean that you cannot hold them liable? Although the process may be difficult, you can get paid for the damage to your car.

  1. Check their policy on damage

Before you go to a car wash, check with the owner about their damage policy. If the damage to your car occurs as a result of malfunctioning equipment or negligence on the part of the car wash attendants, then there is a good chance that you can hold the car wash accountable for the damage.

  1. Check your car before and after the wash

Inspect your car before and after the wash. If you drive off without noting the damage, it will be difficult to prove that the damage was caused by the car wash.

  1. Report damage right away

Report the damage to the owner of the car wash right away. It is much easier for the operator to determine how the damage occurred if you report it immediately.

  1. File your complaint

In many cases, car wash owners will prefer to settle the claim without involving their insurance companies to avoid increases in premiums. However, if they are unwilling to settle the claim, file a complaint with their insurance company. You can also check with your insurance company to find out if they will cover the repair of the damage.

The last word of advice would be to understand what your insurance policy covers, even if you don’t end up using it. If you recklessly file a claim on your policy without thinking about the pros and cons, your affordable auto insurance rates are sure to be a thing of the past.



About the Author

Financial professional and online entrepreneur, I'm best known as The Financial Blogger. I want to make money because I like enjoying life the way it should be; with a lot of great food and wine! I also love to spend time with my lovely wife and 3 kids!