Ever wonder why a car wash leaves your vehicle spot-free while all your hard work at home results in a spotty finish? The secret is in the spot-free rinse system. Here's what you need to know.
What causes water to spot after washing a car?
When water evaporates, it leaves behind any dissolved minerals, which bond with the paint, metal, or glass on your vehicle, damaging the clear coat in the process. Water spots can be especially frustrating when you take the time to towel dry your vehicle and still see spots.
Can water spots damage the car's paint?
Water spots are more than just unsightly. They can be damaging to your car's finish. The spots are actually tiny areas of corrosion that will continue to eat away at your clear coat and paint if left untreated.
What type of water causes spots?
It is essential to understand that any water can cause spotting, but the severity of the spots will depend on the hardness of your water. In other words, hard water causes more problems than soft water.
What is hard water?
Hard water is simply water that contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can come from a variety of sources, including:
- Groundwater that has come into contact with limestone or other mineral-rich rocks
- Rainwater that has picked up minerals from the atmosphere
- Municipal water that has been treated with chemicals to remove impurities
Water hardness is measured in TDS or total dissolved solids. The higher the number, the more impurities are in the water and the more likely it is to leave damaging water spots.
How do you eliminate spotting?
You can reduce the hardness of the water in your home with a water softener, but car washes have different techniques. Most car washes have a spot-free rinse system that utilizes one of the following methods to reduce the overall TDS.
Deionization, often referred to as just DI, is a water purification system that filters the water through resin beads to reduce or eliminate impurities in the water. The beads can be used indefinitely as long as they are recharged regularly.
A reverse osmosis, or RO system, uses an RO membrane to filter the water instead. Like the filter on your vacuum cleaner, it needs to be removed for cleaning periodically and will eventually wear out.
Most car washes use multi-stage water purification for their pure rinse system. In other words, both a DI system and an RO membrane are used to reduce the TDS.
These water purification methods aim to reduce the TDS to 0 or as close to 0 as possible. When water has 0 TDS, you can allow it to evaporate off your car without worrying that it will leave spots.
Spot-free rinse systems are an important addition to any car wash, as they help eliminate the chances of water spots. Using a car wash with a spot-free rinse system will ensure you don't leave your car with unsightly and damaging water spots.