[Answered] Do Automatic Car Washes Damage Tires? 

Automatic car wash is one of the pleasures that modern living has provided us. Simply get your car on the track and enjoy a clean, shiny car in the end. And the washing going on looks cool from the inside. 

But there are a lot of concerns going into an automatic car wash. Do they use the right soap? Are the brushes too hard? Do automatic car washes damage tires? 

The last one is the most concerning; we will answer that in detail. As far as concern goes, yes, your tires sometimes do get damaged in an automatic car wash. But not all the time. So knowing how this happens and avoiding them will be the best thing to do. 

do automatic car washes damage tires

Do Car Washes Damage Wheels and Tires?

Although the chance of your tires or wheels getting damaged is low, but it is not impossible. As car washes use hard commercial brushes to clean and powerful cleaning agents, tires are the one that takes all the damage. And constant visits to the automatic wash will start showing effects. 

The best way to avoid this is to know how the car wash damages your tires. Here are the obvious reasons. 

1. Imbalance on the Track

If your car is not properly aligned on the track, the imbalance will damage the tires. This will not only make the brushes go hard on them, but also the movement will create a drag that will wear off the tire. 

2. Uneven Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is always a crucial part of any vehicle. Especially when you are getting up a ramp or track. This switches the weight and creates an imbalance. And causes premature damage once it comes in contact with chemical cleaners, brushes, and the track. 

3. Use of Heavy Chemical Cleaner

Heavy chemical cleaners are not uncommon in car washes. And these have an adverse impact on rubber tires cutting down their lifetime. Constant automatic car wash visits will cause your tires to run lesser than they should. 

4. Hard Brushes

Automatic car washes use commercial-grade brushes. As they do their job, sometimes they do more and scratch the tire. Along with the rims. Which causes premature wear of the tires. 

How to Avoid Tire Damage in Automatic Car Wash

As automatic car washes are more convenient than doing it yourself, saving precious time and equipment, here are the things you can do to avoid tire damage in them. 

  • Avoid car washes that use hard brushes. 
  • Use rim shiners or protectors. 
  • Always check tire pressure before going to a car wash. 
  • Align your car on the track perfectly as possible. 
  • Don’t stay longer in the wash. 
  • Clean the tires yourself before or afterward leaving that part totally out in the wash. 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs)

Can automatic car wash damage brakes?

Automatic car washes do not necessarily damage the brakes, but the water might get inside them and cause the brakes to activate and disable your car. This happens to more modern cars with automatic braking systems. For manual brakes, however, they might get jammed or sound squeaky after car washes. This is due to moisture build-up and won’t damage them. 

Do car wash machines damage your car?

Sometimes they do. If the car wash machine has hard bristles and harsh cleaning chemicals it might take off the paint job or even create dents. 

Are automatic car washes bad for new cars?

Yes. As new cars have a very sensitive paint job, it is wise not to take them to automatic car washes. The old hard bristle can cause dents, take off paints, and what not. 

Is it better to use an automatic car wash?

If your car is dirty beyond cleaning yourself (after offroading or mud splatter all over), a car wash is the best way to go. 


Going to the car wash does not always damage your tire. It’s most of the time ourselves and our mistakes that harm the tires. Low-quality, thinner tires get scratched more easily than premium ones. So best you invest in them and wash them by yourself for better mental peace. 

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