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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 / F36 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 10-25-2012, 09:54 AM
Cbinc Cbinc is offline
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Location: New York
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 60
Mein Auto: What I can steal
Washing and paint maintenance

I have a novice question. I just got my first BMW 2 days ago. I would like go know what I should be looking for in a car wash location?

My previous car was an 8 year old ford focus and I took it to the local automatic car wash place where they would first quickly brush the car with brooms to remove excess dirt, then send it through the auto wash, and then dry the excess water with cotton towels.

My focus was black and it had plenty of hair line scratches likely due to the brooms and towels. Now that I've put $50K into a car I obviously want to take care of it. My 3 series is white and I really am not interested in washing it myself.

Do I need to go hand wash over automatic? Do I need to make sure only microfiber is being used? What are the key factors in maintaining the paints finish while at the wash? Any other suggestions when selecting a car wash that I've failed to identify?
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  #2  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:25 AM
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avalys avalys is offline
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 984
Mein Auto: 03 325Ci 5spd SP
Find a professional auto detailer to come and wash your car on a regular basis. Or learn to wash it yourself. It is not difficult and only takes 20 minutes or so.

Pretty much all car wash places will damage your paint (although you won't notice it nearly as much on a white car as on black). To avoid damaging the paint, you have to be fairly slow and gentle, and frequently rinse the dirt and grit out of your wash mitt / towel to avoid scratching the paint. I've never found a hand wash place that does this. Paint scratches very easily, especially BMW paint, and it just takes one high school student or illegal immigrant standing there energetically buffing your car with a few pieces of grit in his towel to completely screw up the finish.

Microfiber towels are soft enough to avoid scratching the paint by themselves, and they can trap dirt in their fibers to a certain degree, but they will still scratch if there is loose dirt on their surface (more correctly, the dirt will still scratch).

You can also use a touchless car wash (some gas stations have them). They usually have a frame or arm that rotates around your car spraying soap, water, etc. from nozzles, without touching it. These are okay, but:

1) The harsh chemicals and solvents they use will quickly remove any wax you have on the car, and can be tough on the paint, trim, etc.
2) They only remove about 75% of the dirt on your car.

Never, ever use an automatic car wash that touches your car (if you care about the paint finish, that is). My black Jeep Grand Cherokee went through the dealer's car wash just once, after I forgot to ask them not to, and came out looking like someone had gone over it with steel wool.

Personally, I wash my cars myself, but if I'm in a hurry or it's cold or something I'll just take them to self-service car wash and spray the loose dirt and salt off as best as I can. If you don't have easy access to a hose, there are some great products out there now that you don't have to rinse off, just wipe, dry and you're done: Optimum No Rinse for example.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:30 AM
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justinnum1 justinnum1 is offline
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Location: South Florida
 
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Mein Auto: F30 328i Sport
20 min to wash your car??? takes me an hour to wash mine

-wheels first
-rinse car
-soap roof
-rinse car
-soap hood and trunk
-rinse car
-soap all windows
-rinse car
-soap sides (not the lower sides)
-rinse car
-soap lower car(different sponge)
-rinse car
-remove nozzle and rinse car with 45 degree angle on hose to car(this eliminates small water bubbles)
-pull car in shaded place(my garage)
-use absorber to dry car
-use white towel to dry rest of car like the trunk, under doors...
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  #4  
Old 10-25-2012, 01:00 PM
Lorenzzo Lorenzzo is offline
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Location: Orange County, CA
 
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Mein Auto: 2012 328i Sport
I agree with avalys but I'll never get the job done in less than an hour and often I'm at it for 90 minutes. I want the interior looking new every wash. Best I've found for the interior is a powerful canister vac (i.e. Oreck) with a soft brush attachment for dash and sides and hard wand for the floor and seat crevices.

On the outside I use a leaf blower which helps a lot as to seams and reduces microfiber toweling to very little. Some disagree saying it puts dust and hence scratches on the car but at my location it works fine. You gotta be careful where you point that thing.

The really rewarding part is claying/polishing/waxing/sealing the finish which for me is every 6 months or so with the use of an instant detailer in between.

I won't let someone else clean my car. Around here, yesterday they cut some lawns, tomorrow they're painting a house.
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2012 328i Sport
2008 550i Sport
2005 E55
2002 M3
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Last edited by Lorenzzo; 10-25-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-25-2012, 01:05 PM
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justinnum1 justinnum1 is offline
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Location: South Florida
 
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+1 on clay. Get some meguiars quick detailer and a magic clay bar, spend 2 hours and then way after and wow! it will look incredible. i wish i had a dslr to take pics of my eb2 after i do the first detailing on it.
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  #6  
Old 10-25-2012, 01:46 PM
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beden1 beden1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cbinc View Post
I have a novice question. I just got my first BMW 2 days ago. I would like go know what I should be looking for in a car wash location?

My previous car was an 8 year old ford focus and I took it to the local automatic car wash place where they would first quickly brush the car with brooms to remove excess dirt, then send it through the auto wash, and then dry the excess water with cotton towels.

My focus was black and it had plenty of hair line scratches likely due to the brooms and towels. Now that I've put $50K into a car I obviously want to take care of it. My 3 series is white and I really am not interested in washing it myself.

Do I need to go hand wash over automatic? Do I need to make sure only microfiber is being used? What are the key factors in maintaining the paints finish while at the wash? Any other suggestions when selecting a car wash that I've failed to identify?
If you're not washing the car yourself, go to a soft glove car wash. The guys that dry the cars afterwards use microfiber towels.

Auto car washes take most (not all) of the dirt off, so it is a good idea to go over the car afterwards using a spray detailer and clean microfiber towels. After every car wash, I spend time removing the remaining dirt off of the exterior, and then detail inside the door jams, painted trunk areas, and the engine compartment, etc.

Last edited by beden1; 10-25-2012 at 01:48 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2012, 03:42 PM
vern vern is offline
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Mein Auto: 01 330ci 05 530i 06 X3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
20 min to wash your car??? takes me an hour to wash mine

-wheels first
-rinse car
-soap roof
-rinse car
-soap hood and trunk
-rinse car
-soap all windows
-rinse car
-soap sides (not the lower sides)
-rinse car
-soap lower car(different sponge)
-rinse car
-remove nozzle and rinse car with 45 degree angle on hose to car(this eliminates small water bubbles)
-pull car in shaded place(my garage)
-use absorber to dry car
-use white towel to dry rest of car like the trunk, under doors...
+ 1 like 2 hours in and out for me. Always use lint free white Turkish towel to dry.
cheers
vern
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2012, 06:00 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Location: Renton, WA
 
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Posts: 3,825
Mein Auto: 335d, 328d, Toyota T100
I'm with beden on this one. Car washes are much better than no washes. (But then I don't have a black car either.) I just use a car wash that uses cloth-like wipes rather than brushes, and have them do a spray-on wax.

Guys, it's just a car.
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2012, 06:30 PM
Lorenzzo Lorenzzo is offline
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Location: Orange County, CA
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 160
Mein Auto: 2012 328i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
I'm with beden on this one. Car washes are much better than no washes. (But then I don't have a black car either.) I just use a car wash that uses cloth-like wipes rather than brushes, and have them do a spray-on wax.

Guys, it's just a car.:dunno:
Easy to say when you don't have terminal OCD.
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2012 328i Sport
2008 550i Sport
2005 E55
2002 M3
1988 BMW 325is
Never again anything larger than a 3 series sedan.
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2012, 08:25 PM
Mykatie Mykatie is offline
it has arrived!
Location: New York
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 226
Mein Auto: 2013 bmw 328i xdrive seda
Check out http://www.zainostore.com/ arguably the best stuff out there to keep your car looking great. Always thoroughly rinse car with hose before washing or you could end up wiping sand like dirt into your paint finish.
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  #11  
Old 10-25-2012, 08:41 PM
woodswatchco woodswatchco is offline
Woodswatchco
Location: Tampa, FL.
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 228
Mein Auto: 2013 328i 6sp manual
Thumbs up Great advice.

Thanks for the tips. I'm pretty thorough but you take it to the next level.


Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
20 min to wash your car??? takes me an hour to wash mine

-wheels first
-rinse car
-soap roof
-rinse car
-soap hood and trunk
-rinse car
-soap all windows
-rinse car
-soap sides (not the lower sides)
-rinse car
-soap lower car(different sponge)
-rinse car
-remove nozzle and rinse car with 45 degree angle on hose to car(this eliminates small water bubbles)
-pull car in shaded place(my garage)
-use absorber to dry car
-use white towel to dry rest of car like the trunk, under doors...
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2012, 08:56 PM
justinnum1's Avatar
justinnum1 justinnum1 is offline
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Location: South Florida
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2,741
Mein Auto: F30 328i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodswatchco View Post
Thanks for the tips. I'm pretty thorough but you take it to the next level.
thats not that bad. i can get it done in less than an hour. have all the supplies ready and just give it some love
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F30 335 Estoril Blue Msport with performance exhasut and black grilles
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