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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:10   #1
AlanH70
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Default Mechanical Car Wash vs. Car Paint.....

So on my way to work I see a new car wash has opened up. My car was a bit dirty so I pull in. the place is huge and they have this program where you pay X dollars per month depending on the package you want and you can go through the car was as many times you want per month...The owner told me a guy goes through 2 times a day sometimes.....Well I have had it now for maybe 4 weeks and have washed my car about 5 times....I wondr is this bad for a vehicle, for the paint or brakes or anything mechanical....It is a brush type car wash pretty standard type I would assume.....
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:14   #2
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Tough on the paint/clearcoat...sands it down just a little with every pass thru.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:18   #3
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What about with a touch-free car wash? Anything to worry about there?
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:21   #4
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Be advised, car washes recycle their water, after filtering of course. Problem is, that last guy who just went off-roading and brought half the mountain back with him. That, combined w/less than stellar maintenance on the filter equipment and....

VW paint is pretty soft and will scratch just looking at it sideways. Though this sounds like a good deal, I'd stay away.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:24   #5
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The Irving car wash here in town is the biggest in Atlantic Canada. It's decent enough, they don't recycle water. In the winter months I tend to use it and never noticed any scratches or problems.

But since it's getting warmer, but not warm enough for me to hand wash my car, I go to a local detailing shop. $10 for a hand-wash in their bay.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:25   #6
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They say they add a clear coat protectant to the paint is that possibly anything that helps the paint or is it just a gimmick to pay more?
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:26   #7
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aka Hot Wax.Useless.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanH70
They say they add a clear coat protectant
There are water-soluble waxes, but what's to say that it's actually been applied to your car?

The most modern car washes do far less damage to your finish than the older systems. However, I still prefer a hand-job and clean (as opposed to recycled) water as Fly hints at.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 16:55   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldorf
However, I still prefer a hand-job...
As do I, but let's keep this on the topic....

My 10-yr-old / 280k-mile Golf has been through soft-cloth car washes about 1/3 of the time, and the U-hose-it car washes about 2/3 of the time. The paint still looks great. I'm surprised that the cloth washes haven't seemed to do much of any damage on my dark-green Golf.

The only problem is the attendants who use a brush-on-a-stick to do the tailgate. I have some scratches back there. The water in the bucket rarely gets changed, and so you get the grit from the last pickup truck bumper scratched across your tailgate. After getting scratches that way, I now often say, "no brush on the rear" when I hand them my money.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 17:13   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldorf
There are water-soluble waxes, but what's to say that it's actually been applied to your car?

The most modern car washes do far less damage to your finish than the older systems. However, I still prefer a hand-job and clean (as opposed to recycled) water as Fly hints at.
I prefer a hand job myself .....but i understand cuz I have noticed the back bumper of my car which collects the water always spots and stays dirty....its gotta be the water not filtered correctly......but i will have to watch my paint now to see if it is scratching....
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Old March 8th, 2010, 17:55   #11
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Anybody that uses a carwash and think it looks good and scratch free needs a good eye checkup. Save your money and mail me 2 bucks and I will mail you back some sandpaper to wash your car with. Car washes are for lazy people or folks that can afford to ruin a perfectly good car. If you can ONLY get the undercarriage wash that is ok.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 18:06   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLredTDI
Anybody that uses a carwash and think it looks good and scratch free needs a good eye checkup. Save your money and mail me 2 bucks and I will mail you back some sandpaper to wash your car with. Car washes are for lazy people or folks that can afford to ruin a perfectly good car. If you can ONLY get the undercarriage wash that is ok.
Though I agree, in principle, many folks live in apartment complexes, etc. and access to a hose and space is not always the easiest. That doesn't take into account cold climates. Being as some a$$ clown decided to use my LH front fender as a car stop (perhaps it was a 5 mph bumper test) the other night, then drove off, I don't have these issues right now.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 18:23   #13
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the problem with the drive in car washes is that the chemicals they use will wipe off any wax you may have on the vehicle. It's like washing with Dawn detergent. So your car will tend to get dirty faster by using these places.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 18:26   #14
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My car's never been through a car wash... and never will as long as I own it. But then I'm a bit pickier than most when it comes to the paint on my vehicles anyway.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 18:28   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLredTDI
Anybody that uses a carwash and think it looks good and scratch free needs a good eye checkup. Save your money and mail me 2 bucks and I will mail you back some sandpaper to wash your car with. Car washes are for lazy people or folks that can afford to ruin a perfectly good car. If you can ONLY get the undercarriage wash that is ok.
Sorry but I disagree. There are so many types of car washes you can't account for them all. I've been using the same car wash every winter for 10 years. I hand wash my car in the summer and clay bar, polish and wax it. There are no scratches from the wash.
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