Fact Checked

What is a Brushless Car Wash?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A brushless car wash is a building through which a car can be driven or pulled to be cleaned without the use of brushes. The idea behind a brushless car wash is to clean grit and dirt off the vehicle without touching it, thereby eliminating the possibility of scratching or otherwise giving the appearance of marks or stains. The car is washed with high pressure sprayers that shoot clean water at the surface of the car; when the washing is done, the car is usually air dried with a high-powered fan placed at the end of the brushless car wash building.

The results of a brushless car wash can be mixed. Some people prefer this method because it reduces the amount of times a car must be waxed and polished; high-end cars and show cars would benefit from a touchless car wash. Others feel the wash is inefficient and allows streaks to develop on the car's finish once the washing is done. Streaks or a film may develop for several reasons, the most common being when water used for cleaning is high in mineral content, or inefficient drying once the wash is completed. To counter streaking, some brushless car wash establishments hire people to dry the cars once the wash is finished. This part of the process, however, can cause scratches in the car's finish.

Cars are washed with high pressure sprayers during a brushless car wash.
Cars are washed with high pressure sprayers during a brushless car wash.

A brushless wash also prevents the car owner from having to remove the radio antenna before entering the car wash. Car washes with brushes can break the antenna off during the wash, so car owners are advised to take off the antenna, which is not always possible or practical. A touchless car wash does not have any equipment that makes contact with the car, so the antenna does not need to be removed and will not be bent or damaged.

Like other types of car washes, brushless car washes often feature a conveyor belt system that pulls the car along through the washing process rather than requiring the driver to pilot the vehicle through the building. This prevents buildup of dangerous exhaust fumes, and it prevents the driver from moving too quickly through the wash. Brushless washes require a certain amount of time to clean the car properly, so moving through the wash too quickly will prevent the process from being effective. Once the process is over, the conveyor belt will stop, and a light or sign will instruct the driver to re-start his or her car and leave the wash.

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Discussion Comments


I agree with you Talentryto. I also think the swirls and scratches often caused by brushes are most noticeable on dark colored cars. Using a brushless car wash is the only way to clean your car if you want to keep the paint looking like new.


Whether you use an automatic car wash or a hand car wash, choosing a brushless wash is the best option. Brushes often leave hairline scratches or swirls in your car's paint finish.

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    • Cars are washed with high pressure sprayers during a brushless car wash.
      By: Kadmy
      Cars are washed with high pressure sprayers during a brushless car wash.