Plasti-Dip is a specialty coating for cars that, when properly applied, lasts up to three years.
The coating utilizes non-slip rubber, so many car owners wonder if it’s safe to take Plasti-Dipped cars through automatic car washes.
You can take a Plasti-Dipped car through an automatic touch or touchless car wash earliest two weeks after the initial coating application. However, hand washing is the best option, as it provides a more thorough clean and reduces the risk of damaging the Plasti-Dip coating.
In this article, I’ll discuss the safety of taking a Plasti-Dipped vehicle through an automatic touch or touchless car wash.
Additionally, I’ll touch on the safety of washing a Plasti-Dipped vehicle using a pressure washer and the best method for cleaning your coated car.
Read on to learn more.
Can You Go Through A Car Wash With Plasti-Dip?
In an automatic touch car wash, water sprays onto the vehicle’s exterior, and large brushes rotate along the vehicle’s body to scrub the surface.
Due to the abrasiveness of these rotary brushes, many people believe that the force is too rough for a Plasti-Dipped vehicle.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
You can go through an automatic car wash with Plasti-Dip as long as the dip completely cures beforehand (usually two weeks post-application). Many car owners with Plasti-Dip vehicles claim that the automatic rotary brushes in car washes have little effect on the rubber coating.
It’s unlikely to damage a Plasti-Dip coating by running the vehicle through an automatic touch car wash.
Several YouTube channels put Plasti-Dip to the test, and none of the vehicles in the videos experienced any cosmetic defects as a result of the automatic car wash.
Even though the durability of Plasti-Dip is hardly contested, many car owners still prefer the thoroughness of washing a vehicle by hand.
This provides a more detailed cleaning and reduces the likelihood of damage to the Plasti-Dip.
Does Plasti-Dip Come Off With A Pressure Washer?
Plasti-Dip doesn’t come off with a pressure washer if properly applied and cured. Improper application or curing of Plasti-Dip may cause lifting or peeling along the edges when exposed to high pressure. This is why it’s essential to choose a trusted, reputable body shop to apply the coating.
As a testament to the durability of a properly Plasti-Dipped vehicle, YouTubers have created various videos of themselves utilizing pressure washers on their Plasti-Dip coated cars.
Spending Jar, a YouTube channel, recorded the outcome of a Plasti-Dipped car washed with a pressure washer:
In the video, the coating remains intact with no noticeable lifting, peeling, or tearing of the Plasti-Dip.
Another YouTube channel, New Touch Auto, features a video washing a Plasti-Dipped vehicle with a pressure washer and taking it through an automatic touch car wash immediately after:
Again, there were no noticeable problems with the coating after either method of washing the car.
Judging by these videos, it’s safe to say that it’s safe to use a pressure washer on a properly dipped vehicle.
With that said, there are some precautions that you should take when using a pressure washer on Plasti-Dipped cars:
When Can I Wash My Car After Plasti-Dip?
Immediately after applying Plasti-Dip to a vehicle, it must sit for at least one hour (up to four hours) to completely dry.
During this initial stage, it’s imperative that you protect the coating from debris and moisture.
Do not drive the vehicle during this time. Exposure to debris may cause small indentations, holes, tears, and cracks.
Moisture exposure before the Plasti-Dip dries can lead to lifting and peeling.
Once the Plasti-Dip dries, it takes at least 24 hours to cure.
Most body shops recommend allowing one to two weeks to ensure the coating fully cures.
Do not rush the curing process, or you’ll see poor results.
You can wash a Plasti-Dipped car after one to two weeks (after the coating has fully dried and cured). At this point, it’s safe to wash the car by hand, with a pressure washer, or in an automatic touch or touchless car wash. If the Plasti-Dip was properly applied, these methods won’t affect the coating.
However, you may want to determine what type of soap the automatic car washes use to ensure that it won’t damage the coating.
Most regular car soaps are safe, but degreasers and wheel cleaners tend to be too harsh and abrasive for Plasti-Dip.
How To Wash A Plasti-Dipped Car
As I’ve discussed above, Plasti-Dipped vehicles typically remain unaffected by automatic car washes and pressure washers.
However, I still highly recommend washing Plasti-Dipped vehicles by hand to achieve the best results.
Not only does hand-washing ensure a thorough clean, but it allows you to choose all of the products and prevents any risk of damaging the coating.
Below, I’ll cover the steps to hand-washing a Plasti-Dipped car.
Hand Washing A Plasti-Dipped Car
According to Plymouth State University, the two-bucket method provides the best results when washing a vehicle.
For a Plasti-Dipped vehicle, I recommend washing with a sponge, shimmy rag, or microfiber cloth.
These materials are not rough on the surface of the Plasti-Dip. For drying, a shimmy rag is best.
Here’s how to hand wash and dry a Plasti-Dipped car using the two-bucket method.
Things To Consider Regarding Plasti-Dip And Chemicals
When washing a Plasti-Dipped vehicle, there are a few things to consider regarding the solutions that you use:
Automatic Car Washes For Plasti-Dipped Cars
Throughout this article, I’ve explained that automatic car washes are generally considered safe for Plasti-Dip coated cars, as long as they’re properly dried and cured.
With that said, I highly recommend thoroughly inspecting the coating before taking the vehicle through an automatic car wash.
If you notice any tears, peeling, or lifting of the Plasti-Dip, do not use the automatic car wash and do not use a pressure washer.
These can easily cause the coating to further lift and tear.