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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 06-16-2012, 10:41 PM
Drexel5 Drexel5 is offline
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Location: Toronto
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Mein Auto: BMW Z4 3.0i
Opinions on no touch car wash?

Has anyone here taken their Z4 (or Z3) to one of those no-touch car wash places? You know, the kind that spray high pressure blasts of water, soap & wax at the car instead of the traditional wash that uses rags on rollers to clean the car.

I cleaned the car a couple of weeks ago, but rain, coupled with a dusty garage dirty it up pretty quick.

There are several no touch car wash places in my area, and I was tempted to take my Z4 convertible into one today, but had some doubts because of the convertible top. I've taken other cars though without issue, but I'm concerned because I don't know what kind of effect the soap & water may have on the material (i.e. leaving soap scum, discoloration, etc), and the seals around the windows.

I've read some stories about people in other types of convertibles (mustangs, corvettes) that have taken their cars through those washes and were surprised by streams of water blasting in through the seals that couldn't hold up to the high-pressure water.

Opinions?
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2012, 11:31 PM
carprep carprep is offline
Chuck
Location: Fountain Valley, CA
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 78
Mein Auto: 1997 Z3 Roadster 2.8
Don't know about anyone else, but I would never take my Z3 to one of those or any other car wash for that matter!!
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2012, 12:25 AM
fields911 fields911 is offline
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Location: Chester, Illionis
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 Z3 Roadster 2.3
Yeah, water comes through my seals with just a regular wand wash... :S
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2012, 07:52 AM
BK85 BK85 is offline
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Location: Colorado Springs,CO
 
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Mein Auto: 97 Z3 2.8
Took mine through once and got my ears cleaned at the same time Car was nice an clean and no damaged done, but won't do it again, thank you!

BK85
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2012, 08:45 AM
wmschlone wmschlone is offline
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Location: St. Louis, MO.
 
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Mein Auto: E90 330i (ZSP, ZCW, ZPP)
Aside from the possibility of getting water in the car, I'd be more concerned about all the other crap that those things spray on your car ("wax", "sealant", "spot free rinse") and the effects they might have on your top. I have no idea if this is a valid concern as I only hand wash, but the only stuff besides water that touches my top are my Raggtopp products.

If you are just looking for a quick way to wipe off a thin layer is dust, you should check out a product called Optimum No Rinse (ONR). This stuff is awesome for doing a hoseless wash in you garage, or for using as a quick detailer to remove a layer of dust after a recent wash. I can wipe down my own car in less than the time it takes to go through a Touchless carwarsh.

I will say that for our non-convertible cars, I have no issue with taking them through a Touchless wash if I don't have the time to wash at home.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2012, 09:35 AM
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KevinC KevinC is offline
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Location: Chandler, AZ
 
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Mein Auto: '07 Z4MC,'05 330Ci ZHP
No touch = no good.

Also, don't go through one of these monsoons if you have a clear bra. It can damage it.

Better option if it's not always practical to wash your car yourself: find a hand job joint that doesn't use any sort of machines but washes strictly by hand.
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2012, 01:09 PM
ColoradoKraut ColoradoKraut is offline
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Mein Auto: 2006 Z4 3.0si Roadster
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmschlone View Post
aside from the possibility of getting water in the car, i'd be more concerned about all the other crap that those things spray on your car ("wax", "sealant", "spot free rinse") and the effects they might have on your top. I have no idea if this is a valid concern as i only hand wash, but the only stuff besides water that touches my top are my raggtopp products.

+1
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  #8  
Old 06-17-2012, 01:18 PM
Drexel5 Drexel5 is offline
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Location: Toronto
 
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Mein Auto: BMW Z4 3.0i
Ok good replies here! Based on what you've all said, I'll be steering clear of the no touch auto wash places.

Hand wash it is!
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  #9  
Old 06-17-2012, 02:55 PM
nfunk nfunk is offline
1998 BMW Z3 2.8L
Location: New Orleans
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW Z3 2.8L
I wouldn't trust the no touch car wash. As small as the Z3 is it is rather quick and easy to wash. Takes one third the time as my Toyota Highlander and one twentieth the time as my airplane.
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  #10  
Old 06-17-2012, 05:07 PM
tonywintn tonywintn is offline
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Location: Tennessee
 
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Mein Auto: 2005 BMW X5 & 2007 Z4 si
I don't believe a no-touch car wash really removes all of the dirt. There is no substitute for wiping the car down with a sponge. I pull my X5 into a spray wash stall whenever I have to drive over the mountains in the winter and there is salt on the roads. I rinse the salt off as soon as I can and those stalls feature the under chassis spray. It gets the salt off, but the car is not nearly as clean as a hand wash.
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  #11  
Old 06-17-2012, 05:38 PM
droz3 droz3 is online now
DROZ3
Location: Montreal, QC
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 131
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 / 2006 X3
No touch car washers leave a film of dirt on your car, only the rinse is fresh water, washing is done with filtrated recycled water ...
With my 740 I used to only do no touch when I had no time to do it myself, 740 was Jet Black so the film of dirt would show big time.
Only went in a car wash once in 8 years with the Z3, lots of water got in ...
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  #12  
Old 06-17-2012, 07:59 PM
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bten bten is offline
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Location: Missouri City, TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Mein Auto: '08 Z4 3.0si
I ran my Z4 through one once to try and get the remains of a deer carcus out from under the car (hit the remains of a deer on the freeway out to a weekend car club drive. I swear the flys would follow me and show up when I stopped).

anyway, on the way back I ran the Z4 through a touchless with the undercarriage wash to see if I could knock some of the smell out. (I had already tried to use a wand underneath earlier). I did not have any leaks, the car wasn't washed very well, and it did knock out some of the smell.
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  #13  
Old 06-18-2012, 03:18 AM
Mikey48 Mikey48 is offline
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Location: Charleston,S.C.
 
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Mein Auto: BMW Z4 3.0
Would not take my Z4 through one !
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  #14  
Old 06-18-2012, 07:10 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Location: Maryland
 
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Mein Auto: M Roadster/M3
I run my E46 M3 through a touchless car wash every so often. It had a clear bra installed the evening I picked it up at the Performance Center. NO problems.

But a convertible? No way. Too many places for water to come in.
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  #15  
Old 06-18-2012, 08:18 AM
Donovan303 Donovan303 is offline
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Location: NC
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4, 1962 MGA MkII
I've got a 2003 2.5 Z4 that I've run on occassion in the winter. Mine tends to leak a small amount at the seal the windows curve. However, this past winter I had one of the side marker roundels ruined by a touchless car wash and at that time I decided no more laser wash for my Z4.
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  #16  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:45 AM
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bob lindquist bob lindquist is offline
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Location: Florida
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 Imola M Coupe
the tire guides on the floor can scratch the rims
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  #17  
Old 06-20-2012, 06:01 AM
STIHLBOLTS STIHLBOLTS is offline
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Location: Georiga
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,021
Mein Auto: 2008 Z4MR
I would never use any kind of auto car wash ever. Long story short, back in the 80's bought a blue car, ran it through car wash at a gas station prior to road trip. Got to where I was going and thought I had ran through bird dropings or bugs, white flakes everywhere. The burshs had slapped the car so hard it left marks all over the car, and I was 1000 miles away from the car wash. So no going back and saying hey, ate that paint job. After that I have never ever washed a vehicle other than by hand.

Regards
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  #18  
Old 06-21-2012, 09:39 PM
Wheaton2010 Wheaton2010 is offline
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Location: Wheaton, IL
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 82
Mein Auto: 2006 BMW Z4 3.0si
I never go to car washes. I prefer to wash them myself. I'm not positive but I think it's cheaper than therapy...
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  #19  
Old 06-22-2012, 02:07 PM
wmschlone wmschlone is offline
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Location: St. Louis, MO.
 
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Mein Auto: E90 330i (ZSP, ZCW, ZPP)
Quote:
Originally Posted by wheaton2010 View Post
i never go to car washes. I prefer to wash them myself. I'm not positive but i think it's cheaper than therapy...
+1
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  #20  
Old 06-26-2012, 06:53 PM
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inTgr8r inTgr8r is offline
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Location: Toronto
 
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Mein Auto: Z4 M Coupe
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
No touch = no good.

Also, don't go through one of these monsoons if you have a clear bra. It can damage it.

Better option if it's not always practical to wash your car yourself: find a hand job joint that doesn't use any sort of machines but washes strictly by hand.
...nothing like a good hand job.
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  #21  
Old 06-27-2012, 04:52 AM
schwank schwank is offline
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Location: cincinnati
 
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Mein Auto: 06 MZ4 Coupe
Ive had my coupe since 06. It gets a spray-off wash about once a week for 7-9 months a year. My car doesnt get very dusty, I dont use the wax, just the soap, rinse, spot free rinse and I do it my self, not those automated ones.
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