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When I was much, much younger, it used to be a massive treat to go to the car wash with my dad and brother. We loved all of it – the ridiculously large brushes, the suds, the water, the sounds, the warm jets of air – it was truly an experience.

The problem is, my dad's job involved a lot of driving, so every so often he'd get a new company car. And with a new car came an extensive period during which the car wash was simply out of the question. It'll ruin the paint, we were told. We had to wait a few months, "for the paint to settle" before we'd once more be treated to the car wash.

However, according to SCIENCE, dad was wrong. The car wash is no more damaging of your car's paint than a hand wash. Indeed, it might even be the gentler option.

Car Wash Rules OK

There exists an association that dedicates itself to researching paint. They're called the Paint Research Association (PRA), and they've been looking into the effects that car wash brushes have on your car's paintwork.

It should be pointed out, though, that this is hardly a conclusive test, as the focus seemed to be entirely upon branches of the IMO Car Wash Group, very much the Apple of the car wash world. As the tests conclude that their unique Mitter technology is the best there is for paint protection, you have to wonder who's name was written on the cheque.

But anyway. This is interesting nonetheless. The PRA carried out an extensive study over the course of 15 months using four new and identical Ford Fiestas. Similar usage and mileage was maintained over the course of the study to ensure a fair test, but each Fiesta was subjected to different cleaning regime.

One was commercially hand-washed, another washed using standard nylon-bristle technology found at a mechanical car wash. One wasn't washed at all, but the fourth Ford Fiesta was treated to IMO Car Wash Mitter technology.

In total, each of the three Ford Fiesta models were cleaned 27 times over the 15 month period. It was ultimately found that the kindest was came from the IMO Mitter technology, as it removed dirt and contaminates from the car's paintwork without any noticeable abrasion.

Is The Car Wash The Best Choice?

Credit to my dad where it's due, it's not quite the case that a mechanical car wash offers kinder treatment of your car's paintwork. According to the PRA and the IMO Car Wash Group, for best results you have to specifically use IMO Mitter technology, which proved superior to the standard nylon-bristle brushes.

Be that as it may, the test also found that washing a car by hand caused the most abrasion, leaving the Ford Fiesta with a higher scratch count than any of its counterparts.

To wash a car by hand, though, is hardly an exact science. Maybe the person washing the car had a particularly heavy hand, or a penchant for wire wool?

So whilst SCIENCE has proven that IMO Mitter technology is just fabulous, you're probably best following my dad's advice after all, and waiting for a short while before considering washing your new car by any means.

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