Paint Protection Film and Automatic Car Washes

June 20, 2020

The popularity of paint protection film (PPF) is increasing dramatically as people realize how beneficial it is to the good looks and longevity of their vehicles. One of the most commonly asked questions is about keeping their car clean post-treatment and specifically as to whether using an automatic car wash is a good idea.

Will an automatic car wash damage paint protection film (PPF)?

·      Different kinds of automatic car washes

·      Pressure washers

Different types of automatic car washes

All automatic car washes are not made equal. While it is possible to use some of them, it’s necessary to choose with care. If you do want to take advantage of a car wash, choose one that utilizes a “no-touch” approach. The reason for this is that, especially on older automatic car washes, the rotating brushes can cause damage to the film and shorten its effective lifespan.

Pressure washers

We should also mention pressure washers—both the type you find at a commercial car wash and those for home use. You can, with care, use these on a car treated with paint protection film (PPF) — but should be aware of a few provisos. 

-       Don’t direct the spray at the edges of the film as there’s a risk that the high pressure could force water beneath the film.

-       Make sure the nozzle is at least 1 meter away from the surface of the car at all times.

Why hand washing is the best approach

·      Paint protection film lifespan and longevity

·      PPF car washing: top tips

Paint protection film lifespan and longevity

The most significant takeaway should be to aim to treat PPF in the same way as you would any cherished car paintwork. Yes, there are shortcuts to keeping your car clean, such as automatic car washes, but the downside of them is that it’s tough on the surface of the car and will reduce the length of time your vehicle looks pristine. 

For some, this might be an acceptable trade-off. But if you’ve gone to the time and expense of having paint protection film added to your car then it makes sense to treat it with a little TLC. For most of us, that means lovingly washing it by hand…

PPF car washing: top tips

-       Don’t wash your car within the first seven days of having the film applied (either hand wash or an automatic car wash)

-       Remove bug splatters and bird strikes immediately

-       Wash with warm soapy water and a microfiber sponge

-       Don’t use wax or polish products that contain solvents or petroleum

-       Use pH neutral car wash products

If you take your car to a hand car wash service be sure to tell them that you’ve had PPF applied so they can take care when using any high-pressure water streams.

Trust the experts for the ultimate in paint protection film (3% density)

Applying PPF is an intricate process—the success of the finish and expected lifespan is determined by the correct preparation and skill of the application. Auto SuperShield provides the ultimate service, with technicians boasting true expertise in the scientific art of paint protection. They offer bespoke PPF options and will determine the best film to suit your vehicle, driving habits, and expectations.

Visit to discover more, and take the first step to truly protecting the bodywork of your pride and joy.


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