Which Car Wash Type to Choose this Chinese New Year: Automatic or Manual?

Published by on . Updated on 25 Feb 2022

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1643596278069 Manual Vs Automatic Car Wash Featured

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

With Chinese New Year around the corner, many Malaysians will be looking to get their cars washed and pampered. But have you ever wondered about the pros and cons of opting for a car wash done by hand compared to an automated machine car wash?

The man versus machine is a debate that plagues most industries in the present day. The same can be said of the car wash industry, with proponents on either camp laying down some fairly compelling arguments. But has man succumbed to the machines once again in this facet?

We’ll pit the two forms against each other to see who prevails. There’ll be 5 main points of consideration; risk of car damage, reliability, speed, cleanliness and price. Let’s see how they both fare!

Risk Of Car Damage

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1643596048010 Safety Is A Major Concern

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

it sucks to see your precious car damaged. Imagine just how sickening it would feel to go for a car wash, in preparation for the festive season, only for it to end up with scratches and dents instead?

Reputation is key here. Typically, the general consensus is that there's a greater risk of paintwork damage in an automatic car wash as there is a lack of manual control - the machine’s default settings may not take into consideration the different sizes and features of different vehicles. 

A manual car wash eliminates that risk, as an actual person is doing the washing instead of a pre-programmed machine. But as mentioned, it is down to the car wash itself. If staffed with lackadaisical staff members, you'll still run the risk of causing damage to your vehicle too. All things considered, we'll give humans the edge here.

Winner: Humans


Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1643596570051 Automatic Car Wash

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

Queues are going to be long at car washes, especially if you’ve left the errand to run on the eve of the holidays. If you’re going to be waiting in line for a long time, you'd definitely want to know that your car is going to receive the best wash it possibly can get. 

The machine-operated car washes have the advantage here, as their automation ensures the same service every time you put your car through the wash. Additionally, as more people get their cars washed, worker fatigue becomes a factor due to the added workload, threatening the consistency of a manual car wash.

Winner: Machines


Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1643596752413 Manua Car Wash Prone To Fatigue

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

As mentioned above, expect snaking lines at car wash stations during this period. We're sure you wouldn’t want to be waiting for too long in your vehicle, do you?

The repeatable nature of mechanisation means this we will score it higher than a manual wash. It offers faster service and a more accurate estimated waiting time that will help you plan for your holiday preparations. Fatigue is once again a manual car wash’s Achilles’ Heel as people work slower when tired, which can also lead to a less thorough cleaning!

Winner: Machines


Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1643597003326 Dont Be The Only One With A Dirty Car This Cny

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

You just know your relatives are going to show up at the family reunion with spotless cars. Instead of sticking out, you'll want to blend in, and you can only do so if you make sure the car wash you go to is thorough, and can clean your vehicle to an almost showroom-like sheen.

Automatic car washes are not made for close attention to detail. Its service is dialed like a broad brush and therefore it does not particularly care about the finer details of your ride. Humans pull level on the scoreboard here as manual car washes can shower your vehicle with the tender loving care only humans can provide.

Winner: Humans


Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1643596856751 You Will Be Giving Out Angbaos So Save Money

(Photo Credit: Pexels)

You would certainly be considering the price points of these car washes at this point especially since all your money is already packed into ‘ang baos’. And if not, are you truly a Malaysian resident if you don’t look for the cheapest, most value for money options in everything you do?

Prices can vary with car washes, especially if you consider add-ons and the types of services that they might provide. However, generally speaking, a manual car wash is usually the more economical option due to the simple fact that the car wash company has lesser overheads to consider. Soap, water and maybe some microfibre towels and they’re good to go. No cost of machinery means a higher likelihood of cheaper price points.

Winner: Humans


It is a close contest but humans prevail, at least for now. At the end of the day, your choice could depend on your priorities. For example, if you’ve left it really late and require speed over a steeper price point, go for an automatic car wash. If you wanna take mirror selfies with your car exterior, get your vehicle to a manual car wash!

Here at Motorist Malaysia, we wish all Malaysian residents a happy Chinese New Year!

I want to find the highest selling price for my car within 24 hours!

Read more: What Should You Do If Your Car Is Caught in a Flash Flood?