How does car wash damage happen?

Although today's automatic car washes are generally safe, vehicle damage can occur. There are several ways a car wash can damage your vehicle, such as improperly maintained equipment, malfunctioning machines, or even dirty brushes that leave scratches on your car. Things sticking out of your car, such as a radio aerial or spoiler, could also get damaged or break off. When in doubt, follow the car wash's instructions or ask an attendant if you should take any precautions to avoid unexpected damage.

What should I do if a car wash damages my vehicle?

Before leaving the car wash, check the interior and exterior of your vehicle for damage so that you can report it right away. If you wait until you get home, it will be difficult to prove where or when the damage occurred. If you notice a problem, let the car wash owner know so that you can fill out an incident report. Include as many details as possible and take photos of the damage in case you need them in the future.

Who is responsible for car wash damage?

The car wash owner may be liable for the damage if:

  • A piece of equipment malfunctioned or fell on your vehicle
  • The car wash didn't properly maintain the equipment
  • The car wash didn't follow standard safety protocols
  • The car wash didn't properly train its employees
  • Guidelines for using the car wash weren't clear or properly marked

If damage occurs because you didn't follow the car wash's directions, you will likely be responsible to pay for repairs.