In the grips of winter, when it’s below zero outside, the idea of washing your vehicle at home is absurd. But you need to keep that road salt from building up and corroding and damaging your vehicle. Inevitably, you turn to automatic car washes. Are automatic car washes safe for your car?

Older car washes used brushes that could potentially be damaging to a vehicle’s finish. These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an automatic wash that uses brushes. Go to a newer automatic car wash and you should fine.

AutoBlog recommends that you be wary of the “after-wash wipe-down.” That’s when your vehicle gets wiped with towels by attendants. If you can, make sure they use clean towels to do it. On the weekend, when many automatic car washes get busy, attendants may be less likely to use fresh towels.

Should you go for the extra-super-deluxe-special car wash with all of the bells and whistles? AutoBlog recommends skipping the extras, as they are of “dubious value.”

are automatic car washes