Keeping your car clean: hand-wash vs. automatic

The rainy Pacific Northwest doesn't leave a lot of room for car washes.

When we do get dry days, what's the best way to get your car clean, hand-wash or automatic car wash?

Handwashing will always give you a more thorough job, but it can cause microchipping of the car's paint if you're not careful.

Here are the three main mistakes people make when handwashing their car:

    So what makes an automatic car wash better?

    The experts at PEMCO insurance say automatic car washes use what's called light-touch technology. It uses water pressure to loosen grime and dirt rather than scrubbing.

    "Another thing that they do well is they clean car wheel areas and undercarriages pretty well," said Derek Wing, the Communications Manager at PEMCO Insurance.  "That might be a little easier to do with an automatic car wash than doing it yourself at home. Then, the last thing that's kind of a benefit is car washes out there, they actually recycle the water so it's better for the environment than handwashing your car at home."

    Automatic car washes can get a little pricey.  If you can't afford one every time, car collectors who almost always hand-wash their car have some tips:

      If you want to baby your car, hand-wash is the way to go.

      If you want to save time and help the environment go through the automatic car wash. Don't feel guilty about spending money on that.