Car Wash Recycling

What’s the deal with car washes recycling their wash water? I understand that it’s expensive to dispose but what about the salt content in northern climates? Am I defeating the purpose of washing the salt off my car with high pressure salt water?

The salt and fine silt gets sprayed back onto your car and being captured into a settling tank(s). However it is not 100% recycle since there is a loss water in the process.

If the water is recycled then it gets saltier with use. There must be a point when the car wash flushes their tanks with fresh water. However, since there is no salt residue on the car after washing they could be using two water systems - one to wash and the other to rinse?

Yeah, you just found out why I don’t use car washes.

mshugna is probably right- they probably use the salt water to knock the visible dirt off at the beginning, and then rinse with city water. But that doesn’t help matters, because the high pressure spray is driving salt into the crevices of your car where it does not need to be, and where it will slowly rust your car from the inside out.

Depends on the car wash. Salt water in itself is no more abrasive than regular water, and is less abrasive than the sand and salt you’re driving through that was kicked up by the vehicles in front of you. The only real issue is that it needs to be rinsed off or you’ll have mineral deposits on the car when it dries. You would definitely know if this were the case.
The car wash will absolutely be filtering the water they spray on your car–they don’t want sand blocking up the nozzles. Most use a demineralized water for final rinse anyway.

I’ve been using car washes during the winter for over 30 years…If you live in northern climates…then it may be your only choice. It’s far far better to remove the slush and dirt and grime from the vehicle then it is to rinse with a light saline rinse.

The water is recycled, but they also have filters. Washing a car (even with recycled water) definitely helps with keeping the car free from rust. If there was a problem my cars would have rusted away YEARS ago…I’ve had 3 vehicles well past the 300k mile mark with minimum amount of rust…