PDA

View Full Version : Car Wash advice, please?


Dave T
09-07-2004, 12:08 PM
I'm ~sure~ this is a FAQ, but I can't figure out what keywords to search on to find similar discussions. So, if you could please bear with me...

I'm the recent owner of a jet black E60, and would like advice on how to wash it - what kind of car wash to go to. I know many of you will tell me that I need to do it by hand, but that's just not going to happen. So, out of the easy choices, can someone recommend something?

I guess I'm mainly interested in "touchless" car washes. Are those safe? I don't want any swirlies, but I'd also not lose the wax the detailer put on it. Am I to understand that touchless car washes will remove the wax?

If so, I guess my only other option is to use one of those car washes where you put the car in a bay, and wash it yourself. If I went that route, can someone advise me on techniques - what to do and not to do, and what I should bring with me?

Thanks!

- Dave

Desertnate
09-07-2004, 12:14 PM
If you are determined to not wash it yourself (you might regret that on a black car), I would think a touchless car wash is a must. I took my car to the traditional car washes when I lived in a house with no external hose connection. The scratches to my wheels and swirls will take a long time to work out...and that is on a silver car which hides blemishes much better.

While touchless washes are less of a threat to the paint/clear coat, I have noticed that they are brutal the wax and a good waxing doesn't last nearly as long as a hand wash. Of course if you are running it through the wash anyway, just select the option that includes a spray wax :dunno:

BahnBaum
09-07-2004, 02:01 PM
If you insist on a touchless wash, then make sure you get one that doesn't have guides for the wheels. Don't ask why :mad:

Alex

Dave T
09-07-2004, 02:09 PM
Thanks, Nate and Alex! (Nate - since you're admittedly spelling impaired, I hope you don't mind a suggestion - it's "its", not "it's" in your JFK quote. :-))

Alex - sorry, I have to ask, since car washes always have wheel guides (don't they?). Why avoid wheel guides? :eeps:

BahnBaum
09-07-2004, 02:19 PM
Alex - sorry, I have to ask, since car washes always have wheel guides (don't they?). Why avoid wheel guides? :eeps:

I had never used them for my M3, I would only handwash it. Anyway, after a road trip, I came home late on a Saturday night and decided to use a touchless wash rather than have to get up early to do the handwash on Sunday. There was a wheel guide. It curbed my otherwise pristine front left wheel. :mad:

I have recently found a touchless wash that doesn't use a guide. You just drive in to the wide open flat floored bay and the machine does it's touchless stuff. But I still only handwash my M3, that one experience was enough for me!

Alex

KP
09-07-2004, 02:20 PM
If you're not going to do it by hand, good luck keeping it clean. The $6-8 touchless at your local coin wash places don't get much of anything off. The places that have a crew and charge $10-15 do a better job, but still, it won't be able to get everything off. People are telling you to avoid wheel guides because I'm sure some people have gotten some curb rashes from them. If you're absolutely determined not to take care of it yourself, I'd suggest you find someone who comes to your work/house and takes care of the washings/wax for you.

tsbrown
09-07-2004, 08:33 PM
If you're absolutely determined not to take care of it yourself, I'd suggest you find someone who comes to your work/house and takes care of the washings/wax for you.

Where I work we used to have a "concierge" service company with one of their available services being on-site car wash, wash and wax, or detail. I used to get my car handwashed for about $15 every week or two. I thought that was a steal compared to the automated places that charged $12-14 and it wasn't nearly as gentle on the paint. You can probably do a web search for one of these service companies in your city or otherwise look for a mobile car detailing service. You don't have to get it detailed every week, but a good mobile detailer hand-wash shouldn't cost much more than an automated carwash.

Tom

Artslinger
09-08-2004, 06:53 AM
Because of the long winters and lack of a place to wash the car myself, I take my car to a hand wash place. They use less harsh chemicals and change the dry rags more frequently than the automatic car washes do. During the winter I do take the car to the automatic car wash 3-4 times to have the under chassis rinsed. Then I deal with the swirls in the spring with a machine polish.

TOGWT
09-08-2004, 08:38 AM
~One man’s opinion / observations~

A ‘touch less’ carwash uses a strong detergent to do the ‘scrubbing’ for them; so renewing the protection is a must. You may be very surprised by the marring produced on a black vehicles surface.

~Hope this helps~

Knowledge unshared is experience wasted
justadumbarchitect / so I question everything/ Jon

Dave T
09-09-2004, 12:36 PM
Ok, I decided to do a quick hand-wash, and see how it goes. I think I'll be using the touchless wash when winter sets in here, though.

So, questions:

I got some Armor-All liquid car wash detergent at the hardware store. The guy there told me that all car wash soap will remove the wax on the car. Is this true? I thought you could wash in-between waxing, and not remove the wax.

I got some sheeps-wool looking gloves for doing the washing, and a chamois cloth for drying. Sound good?

I also got some "quick detailing" spray, that claims to be good for removing mild dirt/dust between wash/waxes. Is this recommended?

Desertnate
09-09-2004, 01:02 PM
Ok, I decided to do a quick hand-wash, and see how it goes. I think I'll be using the touchless wash when winter sets in here, though.

Good for you :thumbup:


I got some Armor-All liquid car wash detergent at the hardware store. The guy there told me that all car wash soap will remove the wax on the car. Is this true? I thought you could wash in-between waxing, and not remove the wax.

What a load of crap. Good car shampoo (even some not-so-good) will not remove the wax from you car. Dawn or other dish washing soap on the other hand will strip the wax.

TOGWT
09-10-2004, 07:09 AM
~One man’s opinion / observations~

These guidelines may help …

Washing Vehicle:
Clean the vehicle in this order: Roof, front hood, front fenders, doors, rear fenders, doors, rear deck lid, rear fenders, and rear of vehicle, then clean wheel surfaces, tyres, wheel fenders and finally engine compartment. This is usually a progression from the least to the most soiled areas.

·To reduce the risk of scratching paint finish start by thoroughly rinsing the vehicle to remove loose surface dirt and grime. Use a gentle spray (Ultimate Nozzle) you don't want to cause abrasion to the paint surface, take your time and be careful and you'll avoid paint damage.
·Apply a tar remover (Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover) on lower panels, using a soft 100% cotton cloth to avoid contaminating your wash mitt.
·Use a quality car wash shampoo specifically formulated for automotive use, one that contains conditioning lubricants (Zymol Clear Auto Bathett) that enable abrasive particles to rinse off without abrading the paints surface.
·Use the recommended water / car wash ratio as per manufactures label; usually this is 1-2 oz per gallon. (2-4 capfuls) Too much wash concentrate will leave a sticky film on the paint and glass surfaces that will attract dirt / dust.
·Fill two 5-gallon buckets (Grit GuardTm) with warm, not hot water. One is for wash solution the other for rinsing the mitt to ensure that any abrasive dirt particles are not put into the wash solution.
·While the vehicle is still wet from the rinse load the sheepskin mitt with wash solution and apply to horizontal surfaces (roof, hood and trunk lid) and then thoroughly rise with hose.
·Use a separate mitt for the lower vertical surfaces as these collect more road film, pay special attention to rinsing this mitt, so ensure nothing is transferred to the other surfaces from a contaminated mitt.
·Apply wash solution to vertical surfaces and rinse thoroughly.
·Use a soft boars hairbrush to clean bumpers, plastic trim and all the crevices.


~Hope this helps~

Knowledge unshared is experience wasted
justadumbarchitect / so I question everything/ Jon

Dave T
09-11-2004, 05:07 PM
Just got finished washing. Thanks for the advice! It took about 45 minutes, but it could have gone faster without all my little "helpers". The longest part was drying with the chamois. Car looks great, can't wait to see it in the sun tomorrow.

Question: Jon - is the Grit Guard bucket really worth it? $35 for a bucket seems a bit much.

Thanks again!

- Dave

BahnBaum
09-11-2004, 08:39 PM
Just got finished washing. Thanks for the advice! It took about 45 minutes, but it could have gone faster without all my little "helpers". The longest part was drying with the chamois. Car looks great, can't wait to see it in the sun tomorrow.

Question: Jon - is the Grit Guard bucket really worth it? $35 for a bucket seems a bit much.

Thanks again!

- Dave

A bucket with some sort of grating is absolutely necessary if you're going to have any shot at minimizing swirling in your paint. But I think I paid less than $15 for mine from the automotive section at Walmart.

Once you get tired of a chamois, you should like at a waffle weave microfiber drying towel. They're the bestest.

Alex

Dave T
09-12-2004, 08:50 AM
Ok, I'll look for one of those buckets.

It looks like I didn't dry it enough. Now that it's fully dry, the next day, there are lots of little dried droplets marks on the paint. I think I should have driven it around to get it partially dry before drying it. Or, something else? Is there any relatively easy way to avoid this? I really did put a fair amount of time into drying, but it seems impossible to get it completely dry with a chamois.

- Dave

Desertnate
09-12-2004, 10:07 AM
Ok, I'll look for one of those buckets.

It looks like I didn't dry it enough. Now that it's fully dry, the next day, there are lots of little dried droplets marks on the paint. I think I should have driven it around to get it partially dry before drying it. Or, something else? Is there any relatively easy way to avoid this? I really did put a fair amount of time into drying, but it seems impossible to get it completely dry with a chamois.

- Dave

If it has been waxed, a quick wipe down using some sort of Quick Detail spray after drying might help :dunno:

Boy I am glad I didn't by a black car! :D :angel:

BahnBaum
09-12-2004, 03:31 PM
Ok, I'll look for one of those buckets.

It looks like I didn't dry it enough. Now that it's fully dry, the next day, there are lots of little dried droplets marks on the paint. I think I should have driven it around to get it partially dry before drying it. Or, something else? Is there any relatively easy way to avoid this? I really did put a fair amount of time into drying, but it seems impossible to get it completely dry with a chamois.

- Dave

That's why you need to ditch the chamois and get the waffle weave microfiber drying towel!

Alex

Desertnate
09-13-2004, 06:49 AM
That's why you need to ditch the chamois and get the waffle weave microfiber drying towel!

Alex

Does the microfiber towel keep absorbing water even after it is soaked? The whole reason I went from towels to a chamois was I was sick of having to keep a stack of towels handy to dry the car. The chamois draws away water regardless, and you only need one.

I have always had good success with a chamois...of course I have two silver/silver-ish cars and can get away with more than you can with black. I have never had a water shot problem. :dunno:

TOGWT
09-13-2004, 08:52 AM
Quote: Does the microfiber towel keep absorbing water even after it is soaked?

~One man’s opinion / observations~

I can wash two cars and then the waffle weave towel is beginning to get ‘wet’ (as opposed to soaked) I must admit having used a chamois leather for many years I thought the WW towel was just hype..try it you will not be sorry/go back to chamois again

~Hope this helps~

Knowledge unshared is experience wasted
justadumbarchitect / so I question everything/ Jon

TOGWT
09-13-2004, 08:54 AM
~One man’s opinion / observations~

Flat synthetic sponges, chamois leather or washcloth's can trap dirt, grit or road debris between the material and the paint film surface causing scratches. Wash brushes, sheepskin mitts or waffle weave towels because of their ‘raised’ construction cannot trap anything and are much easier to rinse then a synthetic flat sponge.

~Hope this helps~

Knowledge unshared is experience wasted
justadumbarchitect / so I question everything/ Jon

hockeynut
09-13-2004, 09:01 AM
Does the microfiber towel keep absorbing water even after it is soaked? The whole reason I went from towels to a chamois was I was sick of having to keep a stack of towels handy to dry the car. The chamois draws away water regardless, and you only need one.

I have always had good success with a chamois...of course I have two silver/silver-ish cars and can get away with more than you can with black. I have never had a water shot problem. :dunno:

I use 2 waffle weave MF towels for drying - one to get most of the water off, then another to do the final dry. Works great!