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bimluva
01-07-2011, 11:46 AM
For those in the NE, how are you washing and waxing these days? Do we just bite the bullet and go to a car wash?
I also noticed that under close investigation that my paint(cb) has small, very light scratch marks( almost looks like lint). My car is only 3 weeks old. Also when I rub it with my finger it leaves annoying swirl marks. Is that normal with my finger? Is it because it's new or is it because I need to wax it?

markl53
01-07-2011, 12:18 PM
Is this your first BMW or other German car? German paints don't seem to hold up as well as American or Japanese from my own experience, they are more fragile. I've actually created a small scratch just with a finger rub (not finger nail). Do you mean the swirl mark caused by your finger is on the surface, like you can wipe it away, or it left a scratch? I've had 3 black BMW's and they tend to get some fine surface scratches through normal cleaning, at least for me and I try to be careful. Occasional mild polishing can help remove the light scratches if necessary.

jzcrna
01-07-2011, 12:34 PM
Is this your first BMW or other German car? German paints don't seem to hold up as well as American or Japanese from my own experience, they are more fragile. I've actually created a small scratch just with a finger rub (not finger nail). Do you mean the swirl mark caused by your finger is on the surface, like you can wipe it away, or it left a scratch? I've had 3 black BMW's and they tend to get some fine surface scratches through normal cleaning, at least for me and I try to be careful. Occasional mild polishing can help remove the light scratches if necessary.

Mark, I put on mostly highway miles. I once had an infiniti G35 coupe, which had massive paint chipping on the hood. I must say that I didn't maintain that car like I should have.

On my BMWs (335i and 535i) my hood really took a beating with deep pits. Not large in diameter, but deep. The infiniti ones were superficial, but large in diameter. With that said I took meticulous care of my BMW's. Waxed, clayed, etc. all of the time.

My current car is a 2010 Jetta TDI, which has not taken a beating at all. I am impressed thus far. I should also mention that I have a clearbra on the front of the hood and bumpers. I highly, highly recommend a clearbra. But even though I have a clear bra on the front, I also haven't noticed any pits or chips on the oncovered areas as I did with my previous cars.

markl53
01-07-2011, 12:46 PM
Mark, I put on mostly highway miles. I once had an infiniti G35 coupe, which had massive paint chipping on the hood. I must say that I didn't maintain that car like I should have. etc. etc...


I was mostly talking about the apparent softness of the finish, its propensity for easily being scratched, as opposed to rock chipping. Even my white '99 Passat showed lots of surface scratching only very occasionally when the sun was just right. Our previous GM cars of some years ago, and the Japanese cars I've owned (Acuras, Infiniti, Mazda RX-7) held up much better as far as resisting surface scratching. Sorry if I was too general in my first comments.

jzcrna
01-07-2011, 12:51 PM
Yes the swirl marks are terrible on all of the German cars that I have owned. They have also all been black.:dunno:

1HOT BMR
01-07-2011, 02:52 PM
My current car is a 2010 Jetta TDI, which has not taken a beating at all. I am impressed thus far.

I also have a 2010 VW JSW TDI and the paint is impressive - no orange peel like BMWs and it is holding up incredibly well at 15K miles. Is this because it's Mexican paint done by Mexican workers? :clap:

After much deliberation I decided not to install a clear bra on my 550. I got my first chip on my trip to Oregon and it didn't bother me too much - now I can take all the others with ease :D

bmwarchitect
01-07-2011, 03:40 PM
While I wait for my 550xi April ED (assuming I don't cancel due to unresolved grinding/steering issues) I have been reading up on detailing a new car. I believe the swirl marks are typical of fine scratches in clear coats and occur from small particles of dirt and debris that happen through typical washing, waxing. The link below provides some insights. This is more visibile on darker color cars. My x5 has a blue-green metallic and they hardly show and I haven't gone to great lengths in its exterior care, but I suspect on fine inspection the swirl scratces are there.

There is a detailing forum section here on the fest that had a lot of good informaiton. I am not a detailing expert nor do I endorse the site below. They are obviously promoting products for sale, but I think the information is useful (and the products may be too). They happen to have picked a new 550 to showcase. See what you think. I believe there are other sources and sites that can assist.

http://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-Pro/my-new-car-prep-process-bmw-550/

markl53
01-07-2011, 04:10 PM
While I wait for my 550xi April ED (assuming I don't cancel due to unresolved grinding/steering issues) I have been reading up on detailing a new car. I believe the swirl marks are typical of fine scratches in clear coats and occur from small particles of dirt and debris that happen through typical washing, waxing.

That's true, but I still maintain that the German finishes are more susceptible. Could be because they use water soluble paints and/or clearcoats. My 535i paint finish seems a little more durable than my previous 3's so far, but it's hard to tell. Believe me, you can almost look crooked at your BMW and you'll get a fine scratch -- you'll see what I mean once you get yours I'm afraid. Not to say it's terrible, my car is extremely shiny and I wax it frequently. I don't have the types of scratches you get through some automated car washes where a black car in sunlight is actually hazy. But I do have my share of fine lines in the finish.

bmwarchitect
01-07-2011, 04:44 PM
That's true, but I still maintain that the German finishes are more susceptible. Could be because they use water soluble paints and/or clearcoats. My 535i paint finish seems a little more durable than my previous 3's so far, but it's hard to tell. Believe me, you can almost look crooked at your BMW and you'll get a fine scratch -- you'll see what I mean once you get yours I'm afraid. Not to say it's terrible, my car is extremely shiny and I wax it frequently. I don't have the types of scratches you get through some automated car washes where a black car in sunlight is actually hazy. But I do have my share of fine lines in the finish.

I ordered carbon black color, that's why I'm preparing myself. My wifes GM which is red, seems to be holding up well and she uses automated car washes. I'll take a closer look at the GM finish this weekend.

Financeman
01-07-2011, 04:48 PM
If you decide to use an automatic car wash, make sure its "touchless" ...and even those can be problematic if they use rails to guide your car through the wash. Rails can stratch rims. I know this from experience :-(

bmwarchitect
01-07-2011, 05:05 PM
If you decide to use an automatic car wash, make sure its "touchless" ...and even those can be problematic if they use rails to guide your car through the wash. Rails can stratch rims. I know this from experience :-(

I don't plan to use car washes, that's why the research into best way to detail a new car. Pretty much all auto car washes are out if you want to avoid the swirls in the clear coat.

BimmerUKF10
01-07-2011, 05:22 PM
Yes the swirl marks are terrible on all of the German cars that I have owned. They have also all been black.:dunno:

Swirl marks all appear on any car if it is not washed properly. If you wash your car with an automated car wash or use a sponge, you WILL get swirl marks. Paint used on German cars is generally more hard wareing than American / Japanese. It is usually better quality. Black and dark coloured cars always show up scratches easily.

The ONLY way to wash a car properly is to do it yourself, or pay someone handsomely to do it right. The correct way to wash a car is as follows:

Two buckets with grit guards in the bottom. One bucket with warm water, the other with warm water and a Capful of decent car shampoo. ONLY use a wash mitt preferably sheepskin and NEVER a sponge. You may as well use sandpaper as a sponge.

Wash the car with the mitt rinsing in the warm water before the soap on each pass. Ideally use a different moot to wash the lower half of the car.

To dry, use a leaf blower to blow off excess water (never a plastic blade) then a microfibre towel to dry off the remainder. Chamois leathers can also scratch the car if one grain of grit remains on the car.

I wash my car by hand. It takes 40 mins of my time on a Saturday morning. Time well spent.

salamigs
01-07-2011, 05:42 PM
what do you mean by never a plastic blade?

bmwarchitect
01-07-2011, 05:46 PM
The link in my previous post provides process for washing, sealing/waxing, detailing, wheels, etc. and explains process in detail to avoid scratches. As I am not detailing expert seemed like a good starting point.

markl53
01-07-2011, 05:46 PM
what do you mean by never a plastic blade?

He means like a California Water Blade. Actually, I've been using one for several years after having checked very carefully that it has not made scratches on my vehicles. That's my experience, YMMV. I use 100% cotton towels after using the blade. Any scratches I have are linear in nature, following the direction of towel use, waxing, etc. I use the blade in the opposite direction and there are zero fine scratches in that orientation.

I went through a series of experiments looking to minimize scratching my German vehicles during normal washing. Again, none of my GM, Ford or Japanese cars ever scratched using the same careful washing techniques. I used microfiber towel, no guarantee. If there are any small particles after the wash any wiping "device", towel, chamois, microfiber, you name it, will drag the particles across the surface. In fact, my Mercedes C-Class, 2 BMW 3-series and my new 535i exhibit scratching at the lightest touch. Go try it -- you can wipe your finger across a perfectly clean paint surface and you will find a fine scratch where you wiped. It's a German finish "problem". Water-based paints and finishes.

myBMW535
01-07-2011, 06:42 PM
I recently returned my MB S550 4-matic (gray) at 36K miles after a lease. I live in Northern NJ and drive a lot on highways. I noticed almost no chips or dents in the hood/front area. The paint quality seems to be very good. Coincidentally, my other car, VW GTI has about 50K and showed a lot of chip paint spots with the same driving conditions.

jzcrna
01-07-2011, 06:44 PM
If you decide to use an automatic car wash, make sure its "touchless" ...and even those can be problematic if they use rails to guide your car through the wash. Rails can stratch rims. I know this from experience :-(

In regard to car washes, I would stay away from ALL of them with a new bimmer.

I found what I thought was a great hand car wash. Really good people there, but the fact is that if you use the same rags, water, etc., then you will get swirl marks. The place I went to used wool mitts and everything, but still gave swirl marks. I will bring the jetta there, but when I get my next bimmer, all car washes are off limits.

Another "funny" story is that when I had my 535i my elderly father dragged a duffle bag from the trunk over the top of the bumper. That minimal friction left scratch marks that I could never get out with a medium polish and orbital polisher. What does that tell you about the paint?

Rafa
01-07-2011, 10:05 PM
Can someone recommend a good detailer in the Miami area?

BimmerUKF10
01-07-2011, 11:50 PM
Dark coloured cars always show up scratches regardless of make. Ask any professional car retailer and they will yell you that BMW paint is very hard and much mote durable than most. Dual buckets of water with scratch guards (grids in the bottom) and a washmitt is the only option to have the best chance of minimising scratch marks. You should also change the water if washing more than one car.

jzcrna
01-08-2011, 05:15 AM
Dark coloured cars always show up scratches regardless of make. Ask any professional car retailer and they will yell you that BMW paint is very hard and much mote durable than most. Dual buckets of water with scratch guards (grids in the bottom) and a washmitt is the only option to have the best chance of minimising scratch marks. You should also change the water if washing more than one car.

I also suggest washing the wheels, hood and front bumper first and then changing your water and wash mitt.

There are numerous posts, especially in the bimmerpost forums. They have some awesome detailers there.

In regard to south florida there is a user named "Fminus" on the bimmerpost forums that does great work.

tdepetra
01-08-2011, 05:53 AM
For those in the NE, how are you washing and waxing these days? Do we just bite the bullet and go to a car wash?
I also noticed that under close investigation that my paint(cb) has small, very light scratch marks( almost looks like lint). My car is only 3 weeks old. Also when I rub it with my finger it leaves annoying swirl marks. Is that normal with my finger? Is it because it's new or is it because I need to wax it?

TJPark01, you're in S. Cal, but I'm still interested in how you wash your car.

laser
01-08-2011, 06:06 AM
TJPark01, you're in S. Cal, but I'm still interested in how you wash your car.

he uses a feather duster ........:)

Kar Don
01-08-2011, 07:12 AM
He means like a California Water Blade. Actually, I've been using one for several years after having checked very carefully that it has not made scratches on my vehicles. That's my experience, YMMV. I use 100% cotton towels after using the blade. Any scratches I have are linear in nature, following the direction of towel use, waxing, etc. I use the blade in the opposite direction and there are zero fine scratches in that orientation.

I went through a series of experiments looking to minimize scratching my German vehicles during normal washing. Again, none of my GM, Ford or Japanese cars ever scratched using the same careful washing techniques. I used microfiber towel, no guarantee. If there are any small particles after the wash any wiping "device", towel, chamois, microfiber, you name it, will drag the particles across the surface. In fact, my Mercedes C-Class, 2 BMW 3-series and my new 535i exhibit scratching at the lightest touch. Go try it -- you can wipe your finger across a perfectly clean paint surface and you will find a fine scratch where you wiped. It's a German finish "problem". Water-based paints and finishes.

FYI almost all manufacturers use water borne paints due to the lower VOC levels which are becoming more and more strict for manufacturers.

BMW does NOT use a water borne clearcoat despite your belief. BMW uses POWDER clear coat which is very green for manufacturing because the overspray can be recycled and no VOCs. Many iterations of PPG and Dupont powder have been implemented at BMW's factories to improve scratch resistance, etc.

Mercedes-Benz uses a CeramiClear clearcoat provided by PPG which is an ultra hard clear coat that is highly resistant to swirls/scratches. This was introduced in 2004 and on all models by 2006. BMW's powder clearcoat was also required to meet the new scratch resistant standard set by CeramiClear.

Keep in mind, despite all these improvements it is still very easy to scratch painted finishes.

Sox Fan
01-08-2011, 07:18 AM
Hmmm....I find these discussions interesting - I am guessing 90% of the participants in these discussion are the 10-20% of BMW owners who really baby their cars like they are show cars or something. Don't get me wrong - god bless you for taking care of your vehicle and if I lived in the south or west maybe i would as well. Perhaps the automatic car wash guys are embarrassed to admit they are unworthy BMW owners? :dunno:

But, if you live in the northern part of the country and drive your car year round - I am guessing most just go through the same car washes as everyone else. I see a lot of nice cars going through the automatic car washes here (including me) - BMWs, Mercedes, etc.

That's a lot of time and expense to baby a car in the north over the winter - a car wash at best lasts 3-4 days here as far as your car looking good in the winter months.

Also, I am not sold that long term my paint will really look much worse than a car that was only hand washed. My 530 is four years old now and the paint looks perfect after coming out of a normal automatic car wash. I also doubt trade in value is affected much by this when the time comes.

Just my .02

jmr99vet
01-08-2011, 07:26 AM
Hmmm....I find these discussions interesting - I am guessing 90% of the participants in these discussion are the 10-20% of BMW owners who really baby their cars like they are show cars or something. Don't get me wrong - god bless you for taking care of your vehicle and if I lived in the south or west maybe i would as well. Perhaps the automatic car wash guys are embarrassed to admit they are unworthy BMW owners? :dunno:

But, if you live in the northern part of the country and drive your car year round - I am guessing most just go through the same car washes as everyone else. I see a lot of nice cars going through the automatic car washes here (including me) - BMWs, Mercedes, etc.

That's a lot of time and expense to baby a car in the north over the winter - a car wash at best lasts 3-4 days here as far as your car looking good in the winter months.

Also, I am not sold that long term my paint will really look much worse than a car that was only hand washed. My 530 is four years old now and the paint looks perfect after coming out of a normal automatic car wash. I also doubt trade in value is affected much by this when the time comes.
Just my .02
Well said. I use a "touch less" car wash in the winter. Works for me.

laser
01-08-2011, 07:28 AM
Hmmm....I find these discussions interesting - I am guessing 90% of the participants in these discussion are the 10-20% of BMW owners who really baby their cars like they are show cars or something. Don't get me wrong - god bless you for taking care of your vehicle and if I lived in the south or west maybe i would as well. Perhaps the automatic car wash guys are embarrassed to admit they are unworthy BMW owners? :dunno:

But, if you live in the northern part of the country and drive your car year round - I am guessing most just go through the same car washes as everyone else. I see a lot of nice cars going through the automatic car washes here (including me) - BMWs, Mercedes, etc.

That's a lot of time and expense to baby a car in the north over the winter - a car wash at best lasts 3-4 days here as far as your car looking good in the winter months.

Also, I am not sold that long term my paint will really look much worse than a car that was only hand washed. My 530 is four years old now and the paint looks perfect after coming out of a normal automatic car wash. I also doubt trade in value is affected much by this when the time comes.

Just my .02

+1

I've run my other Bimmers through the automatic car wash regularly for years and no real ill effects .... it's still hard to take that first plunge with the new F10!

Our 2002 330i Alpine White paint looks great even after daughter parked outside at college the past 5 years.

Another data point, wife's 2009 328i Black Sapphire Metallic took a big 70 mph flying truck retread across the hood on I-95 that left a rubber streak from mid hood to the windshield.

Hand rubbed it out with clear coat polish, can't find it today!

markl53
01-08-2011, 07:29 AM
I also doubt trade in value is affected much by this when the time comes.


This is probably true. I've sold many cars privately and although the buyers think the car looks "great", extra clean, shiny, etc. I seriously doubt they would check the level of basic surface scratching. Most buyers expect that a car several years old will show swirl marks, IMO. Trade-in same thing, IMO. That said, I do try to take above average care of my paint, rarely go to a carwash except in mid-winter when it's covered with salt.

markl53
01-08-2011, 07:33 AM
FYI almost all manufacturers use water borne paints due to the lower VOC levels which are becoming more and more strict for manufacturers.

BMW does NOT use a water borne clearcoat despite your belief. BMW uses POWDER clear coat which is very green for manufacturing because the overspray can be recycled and no VOCs. Many iterations of PPG and Dupont powder have been implemented at BMW's factories to improve scratch resistance, etc.

Mercedes-Benz uses a CeramiClear clearcoat provided by PPG which is an ultra hard clear coat that is highly resistant to swirls/scratches. This was introduced in 2004 and on all models by 2006. BMW's powder clearcoat was also required to meet the new scratch resistant standard set by CeramiClear.

Keep in mind, despite all these improvements it is still very easy to scratch painted finishes.

OK, thanks for the info. My M-B was pre '06. However, based on my own experiences, I'll continue to see that my BMW finish is not as durable as those on some other cars I've owned. In any case, yes, care is needed to minimize problems on any car's pant.