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The Detail Department
Detailing tips, tricks to keep your bimmer in showroom condition.

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  #1  
Old 07-09-2014, 06:55 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Car wash soap

I have no driveway, so when I can't wash my car by hand at a friend's house I take it to a touchless car wash--the kind where I operate the hose and nozzle myself.

I have a question about using the soap you get at a do it yourself car wash.

When I'm at the car wash I don't use the brush--I just spray the car with water, then switch the dial and spray on the soap they provide, then spray the car with water again to rinse it off. (I don't use the brush they provide--just spraying the car.) on.

Will the car wash soap do any harm? I know it's not the best, and I use Meguiar's Gold when I can borrow my friend's driveway, but--is the car wash soap BAD for my car?
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2004 330ci w/ sport package, 6 spd manual

Modifications: 3.46 differential, Pedalbox throttle signal amplifier, Active Autowerke performance software, Bilstein HDs
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2014, 08:22 AM
annoyingmouse annoyingmouse is offline
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I have no ideal what any given car wash uses, but why not just take a bucket and a shampoo of your choice? Most likely, the worst thing their car wash will do is strip your sealer\wax off.
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2014, 08:28 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annoyingmouse View Post
I have no ideal what any given car wash uses, but why not just take a bucket and a shampoo of your choice? Most likely, the worst thing their car wash will do is strip your sealer\wax off.
Believe me, I'd prefer to do that. This is the kind of car wash where there are bays, you get a hose and a dial with some settings on it that you feed coins into, and there are other cars waiting for the car when you're done. Maybe I should just use the water...
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2004 330ci w/ sport package, 6 spd manual

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  #4  
Old 07-09-2014, 08:55 AM
MickAv8r MickAv8r is offline
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Unless they say, its hard to know. Its the touch-free joints that have the harshest soaps. The self service bays hopefully use something milder but I also wouldn't be surprised if these joints just used the same chemicals everywhere.

Try using either your own bucket and the water only or using something like OCW in a spray bottle and the high pressure rinse.
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2014, 09:09 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Here's a followup question: I've heard that car washes (touchless, do it yourself, or automated) all use recycled water, and that recycled water is bad for your paint as it's not entirely free of particles, etc.

Should I be worried about that too?
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2014, 10:26 AM
MickAv8r MickAv8r is offline
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Not heard of that. assuming its a california issue and it would be highly dependent on the quality of the filtration system in place.
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2014, 03:06 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Location: CA
 
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Mein Auto: '08 335i coupe 6MT sport
I believe you need to discover rinseless wash. Just a bucket filled with an oz or two of concentrate in your residence, fill with some water, bunch of MF towels thrown over your shoulder, you can do it in your carport, or any small space. I suggest the highest quality towels, a bunch of them; I also suggest washing the drying towels separately, all with MicroRestore, no fabric softener, and I personally air dry.

I like ONR with wax, the green stuff for this. Try to keep a regular regimen so that the car isn't too filthy when using this method. Hopefully with the very occasional driveway wash, you can have a regimen that is much nicer than the touchless. Saves you time and money too, at least in the long run. It's a much faster process than traditional wash.
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2014, 04:22 PM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
I believe you need to discover rinseless wash. Just a bucket filled with an oz or two of concentrate in your residence, fill with some water, bunch of MF towels thrown over your shoulder, you can do it in your carport, or any small space. I suggest the highest quality towels, a bunch of them; I also suggest washing the drying towels separately, all with MicroRestore, no fabric softener, and I personally air dry.

I like ONR with wax, the green stuff for this. Try to keep a regular regimen so that the car isn't too filthy when using this method. Hopefully with the very occasional driveway wash, you can have a regimen that is much nicer than the touchless. Saves you time and money too, at least in the long run. It's a much faster process than traditional wash.
Interesting--I"ll give ONR a try. Thanks!
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2004 330ci w/ sport package, 6 spd manual

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  #9  
Old 07-10-2014, 07:50 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
. . . I suggest the highest quality towels, a bunch of them; I also suggest washing the drying towels separately, all with MicroRestore, no fabric softener, and I personally air dry.

I like ONR with wax, the green stuff for this. Try to keep a regular regimen so that the car isn't too filthy when using this method. Hopefully with the very occasional driveway wash, you can have a regimen that is much nicer than the touchless. Saves you time and money too, at least in the long run. It's a much faster process than traditional wash.
+1

Couldn't agree with Ilovemycar more!

OP here are some specific suggestions that should work for you:
  1. Two bucket wash system - here is the Cadillac version! At a minimum you need two 5 gallon buckets (I think they are $2 each at Home Depot), one with a grit guard (for the rinse water bucket - about 4 gallons of rinse water). Both with a lid - so you can fill the clean water and soapy water (about 2 gallons) and transport it in your car without spilling.
  2. As suggested above, this ONR works good
  3. Plenty of microfiber towels - Korean made, not the Costco/Walmart Chinese ones. You will need about 12 - about 2 per body panel. My favorite ones are these - Miracle Towels.
  4. As Ilovemycar mentioned, wash these MF towels with MF specific detergent - I use Pinnacle Micro Rejuvenator, this works great, so haven't tried any other brand.
  5. I have tried several spray bottles, none of them worked great for me until I found these - Kwazar Mercury Pro. They certainly put down an even coat (be it glass cleaner, quick detailer or any other stuff you need to spray)

You can pretty much do this at the local manual car wash you mention - if you go there when it is not crowded, it is unlikely it is manned and you will be able wash your car using ONR, etc. While there you can spray the wheels with Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus and use the car wash jet to rinse it off. To agitate the brake dust loose this brush works GREAT - Speed Master Wheel Brush.

As Ilovemycar suggested - don't try the rinse-less wash on a particularly dirty car . . . if you are returning from a ski trip with a ton of salt and sand on the car - use the manual car wash nozzle and plain water to hose off the dirt then do the ONR wash.

Yes some of these items are slightly on the expensive side when compared to store bought items . . . but after you try out a few brushes (for example) the total cost adds up . . . that is why I went ahead and listed what I have found to be very good and you can avoid the cost of trial and error.

GL
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2014, 08:36 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Location: Long Beach, California
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 BMW 330ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPsX5d View Post
+1

Couldn't agree with Ilovemycar more!

OP here are some specific suggestions that should work for you:
  1. Two bucket wash system - here is the Cadillac version! At a minimum you need two 5 gallon buckets (I think they are $2 each at Home Depot), one with a grit guard (for the rinse water bucket - about 4 gallons of rinse water). Both with a lid - so you can fill the clean water and soapy water (about 2 gallons) and transport it in your car without spilling.
  2. As suggested above, this ONR works good
  3. Plenty of microfiber towels - Korean made, not the Costco/Walmart Chinese ones. You will need about 12 - about 2 per body panel. My favorite ones are these - Miracle Towels.
  4. As Ilovemycar mentioned, wash these MF towels with MF specific detergent - I use Pinnacle Micro Rejuvenator, this works great, so haven't tried any other brand.
  5. I have tried several spray bottles, none of them worked great for me until I found these - Kwazar Mercury Pro. They certainly put down an even coat (be it glass cleaner, quick detailer or any other stuff you need to spray)

You can pretty much do this at the local manual car wash you mention - if you go there when it is not crowded, it is unlikely it is manned and you will be able wash your car using ONR, etc. While there you can spray the wheels with Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus and use the car wash jet to rinse it off. To agitate the brake dust loose this brush works GREAT - Speed Master Wheel Brush.

As Ilovemycar suggested - don't try the rinse-less wash on a particularly dirty car . . . if you are returning from a ski trip with a ton of salt and sand on the car - use the manual car wash nozzle and plain water to hose off the dirt then do the ONR wash.

Yes some of these items are slightly on the expensive side when compared to store bought items . . . but after you try out a few brushes (for example) the total cost adds up . . . that is why I went ahead and listed what I have found to be very good and you can avoid the cost of trial and error.

GL
Thanks, GL--this is incredibly helpful! I'll get those products and try this procedure next.

So, if my car has a bit of dust on it, should I should rinse it off first, then do the routine above, or can I skip the car wash rinse and just use this routine, provided the coating of dust is fairly light? (LA air is desert air, so we get a fair bit of desert dust even in the city.)
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2004 330ci w/ sport package, 6 spd manual

Modifications: 3.46 differential, Pedalbox throttle signal amplifier, Active Autowerke performance software, Bilstein HDs
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  #11  
Old 07-10-2014, 09:14 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Davis View Post
Thanks, GL--this is incredibly helpful! I'll get those products and try this procedure next.

So, if my car has a bit of dust on it, should I should rinse it off first, then do the routine above, or can I skip the car wash rinse and just use this routine, provided the coating of dust is fairly light? (LA air is desert air, so we get a fair bit of desert dust even in the city.)
No need to rinse as long as you know the difference between dust and dirt. Pollen, light *dry* dust, etc I dust off using the Original California Duster. In fact I leave my duster in the trunk. Fair warning - if you use this duster to remove dirt (or dust that is stuck due to moisture, etc) you will create swirl marks. Also do not push down hard when using this duster instead let the duster's weight do the pushing - just let it flow over the car and let the wax coated elements pick up the dust. I have been using this duster for over seven years, no problem, but I also see a lot of people hate it - my guess they are either pushing down too hard and/or the car has dirt not dust. When I drive through Bakersfield (dry dust area) I have dusted my car (black sapphire) without any issues.

Even after a rainfall (and the car has a *light* coating of stuck-on dust) I go straight to ONR - no rinsing. But if I am returning from Tahoe and my car is pretty much brown in color then yes a power rinse with plain water is a must followed by ONR.

As with any detailing efforts, after you do it a couple of times you will get a feel for it and then you can adjust accordingly.
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  #12  
Old 07-10-2014, 09:18 AM
John Davis John Davis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPsX5d View Post
No need to rinse as long as you know the difference between dust and dirt. Pollen, light *dry* dust, etc I dust off using the Original California Duster. In fact I leave my duster in the trunk. Fair warning - if you use this duster to remove dirt (or dust that is stuck due to moisture, etc) you will create swirl marks. Also do not push down hard when using this duster instead let the duster's weight do the pushing - just let it flow over the car and let the wax coated elements pick up the dust. I have been using this duster for over seven years, no problem, but I also see a lot of people hate it - my guess they are either pushing down too hard and/or the car has dirt not dust. When I drive through Bakersfield (dry dust area) I have dusted my car (black sapphire) without any issues.

Even after a rainfall (and the car has a *light* coating of stuck-on dust) I go straight to ONR - no rinsing. But if I am returning from Tahoe and my car is pretty much brown in color then yes a power rinse with plain water is a must followed by ONR.

As with any detailing efforts, after you do it a couple of times you will get a feel for it and then you can adjust accordingly.
That duster seems to be exactly what I need. Thanks again!
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2004 330ci w/ sport package, 6 spd manual

Modifications: 3.46 differential, Pedalbox throttle signal amplifier, Active Autowerke performance software, Bilstein HDs
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  #13  
Old 07-22-2014, 11:06 AM
elerner61 elerner61 is offline
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Location: Mount Kisco, NY
 
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Mein Auto: '07 Z4M Roadster
I'm a fan of this particular California duster. You don't have to worry about accidentally hitting the car surface with the wood/plastic on the back of the duster handle. Well constructed.

I'm also an ONR user. I'll use it during winter (I live in New York) and am amazed how well it works without scratching. If you're concerned that you may have too much dirt on a panel, just pre-soak it with ONR in a sprayer for a couple of minutes before you clean it.

Last edited by elerner61; 07-23-2014 at 06:17 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-22-2014, 06:19 PM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elerner61 View Post
I'm a fan of this particular California duster. You don't have to worry about accidentally hitting the car surface with the wood/plastic on the back of the duster handle. Well constructed.
The link you have included above is not working, please re-attach the link. Curious to see the duster details. Thanks.
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  #15  
Old 07-23-2014, 06:18 AM
elerner61 elerner61 is offline
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Link fixed.

Last edited by elerner61; 07-23-2014 at 06:20 AM.
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  #16  
Old 07-23-2014, 08:12 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Thanks!
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