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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I usually wash my cars myself. As much as I enjoy it there are times when I don't feel like it.
Recently, I find that my washing pleasure has been decreasing, probably due to age. I recall begging my father, when I was young(er) :cry: to let me wash his car. Any pro detailer will tell you that drying the car is the single most important step in the whole washing process. Gotta have clean white terry towels (and a chamois). Of course I didn't know any of that back then. Drying was simply fun and what got me started with this little hobby (or fetish). Needless to say, I had to shake the excess water from unreachable places by driving the car around the neighborhood afterwards (that was the fun part). Got myself in (serious) trouble a couple of times (no driver's license). Unfortunately, my son still has half a decade to go before he's even aware of Cars (or girls, they come of age together) and I'd say a whole decade to go before I can trust him "drying" my Bimmer. ;) Maybe I'll let him practice on the wife's car first. Yeah, that's it... but I digress.

So, I find myself on the border line when washing my cars is sometimes a hobby and sometimes... let's just say there are times when I regret getting a JetBlack. For those times, I used to run it through automatic touch-free washes, those found in major gas stations. The advantages: fast and touch-free. The disadvantage: it's touch free! I also suspect the soap they use is very strong (it has to be to melt away grime and grease touch free) and probably melts away the wax as well. Anyways, if you run a white tery towel down the sides after the wash, you'll see why touch free is a 2-sided sword.

Often, we see high school kids and their fund raiser washes. I always tell my wife that I'd glady pay them to... stay away from my car. The other day a local radio station had one outside a sports bar with 2 blondes in wet T-shirts and short shorts. My wife asked if I still felt the same way about fund raiser washes... I digress again.

In my continued quest for a little TLC for my Bimmer, I've been trying Mister Car Wash (a local chain in Austin), with mixed results. Their claim for fame is that they dry your car by hand (with clean white terry towels). Unfortunately, the wash itself is automated and very touchy. It's a long wash tunnel, with lots of rotating brushes and zig-zagging strips hanging from the top. It's fascinating to watch the many steps through the long window, that is, if following the little donut balls through their birth process in Krispy Kreme attracts you.
The results from the automated wash is consitent: better than touch free, but not perfect. As expected, the guy/gal doing the drying is the key to success. Unfortunately, that part is highly umpredictable. Predictably, they never spend enough time on the wheels. Fortunately, that is somewhat fixable with a little tipping.
Yesterday, I got this unresistable coupon from Mister Car Wash. An Express wash (I usually go with the Full Service) for $1.99. Yes, the sky was gray and forecast called for rain. But it's been raining on and off for 2 weeks, and I have a JetBlack! :mad:
I had an hour free while waiting for my wife outside her office... what the heck. Besides, they have a 48 hour rain policy - just bring it back for free. :thumbup:
One difference between the Full Service and the Express is that in the former, you drop the keys and pick up the car at the other end, while in the latter you drive the car through the wash yourself. I thought it'd be interesting to see the wash from the inside for a change. Holy crap! The car took a serious beating. It was so noisy it was scary. I thought I'd have body damage on the car (or course nothing happened, as they've done this thousands of times). But it was scary.
Another shortcut in the Express package is that they only use the towels on the outside. They never even opened the doors. As usual, not enough time on the wheels, even though this time I bought the extra wheel cleaning option, which comes with tire dressing.
As I drive back to pick up my wife, rain starts. Oh well, guess I will find out how good that rain check works. :banghead:
 

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Nice write-up JB!

I've always felt that the high power no-touch systems could also potentially cause extra wear on weather seals and trim pieces, not to mention "embed" dirt into the clear coat by pressure.

But you're right, when the weather is worst, they're always open and available!
 

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Also, some would argue against the terry cloth with the advent of the microfiber towel. Mine should arrive this week from Meguiar's.
 

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I use a touchless wash all winter, detail the car in spring and have no problems. After the touchless wash, I dry off excess water and dirt with a damp cotton terry towel at home in the garage and then give it a once over with the Calif. duster. Stays very presentable all winter. I always wash it as soon as it gets dirty and the streets are dry enough in winter so it's never horribly caked and baked on dirt and salt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
in_d_haus said:
Sorry but "car wash" and "BMW" do not belong together. My opinion of course.
I agree with you ofcourse. I've been washing my cars by hand all my life.
But my whole point is that there will be a time in your life when, either you or the car is too old, and you or the car will have more important issues and priorities.
Hopefully you will have an appropriately trained apprentice by then to pass on the duty (how old are you, son?). I was late in trainning my successor by about a decade...
 

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Hey man, I just had a "detailing week" with a bunch of friend last week. EugeneDC/TX let me borrow his Porter Cable, so I pampered my car with it last week. Results were *amazing*. (check the detailing board for some pics). I picked up the "ultimate carwash nozzle" from Costco, at the slowest setting I can dry my car with slow running water. The consensus at Autopia is that most of the drying should be done without ever touching the car, like with slow running water, or leaf blower. I've been using the water blade and absorber and my paint was still alright, as long as you use them correctly.

I never brough my car to carwash, but u know I don't have kids and have the time to wash myself. A regular carwash takes me about 30 minutes or so, I got pretty good at it... ;) My girlfriend doesnt mine me washing cars as long as I wash her car as well.

Before I had my bimmer, I used to take my car to that place next to Krispy Kreme on Research, they were okay. There are quite a few carwash places on Jollyville, I heard they are okay too... My coworkers bring their cars to wash there during lunch and their cars look alright...

I think I'm gonna have to get a PC myself, after using Eugene's, it's so nice, I'll probably wait til I have to detail my car again to get one, which will be in about 6 months. I'll let u know then and u can bring your JB 330i over...

--Andrew
 

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Speaking of drying, I use a absorber microfiber towel, and it works SOOOOO good. I have never liked washing cars till i found this towel. It is definately the best drying technique or material I have ever used.
 

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Funny post. Car washing angst. The solution to the problem is in the picture below.

In the picture below, my car has 2 days worth of detailing done to it.... or it's been 2 months since a wash... I can't remember. It looks the same either way!

Silver, the solution to black car cleaning woes! :p
 

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JetBlack330i said:

I agree with you ofcourse. I've been washing my cars by hand all my life.
But my whole point is that there will be a time in your life when, either you or the car is too old, and you or the car will have more important issues and priorities.
Hopefully you will have an appropriately trained apprentice by then to pass on the duty (how old are you, son?). I was late in trainning my successor by about a decade...
Not passing judgement, just a stickler against car washes due to the damage they do to a finish.

And I'm 40, Dad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Originally posted by ayn
;) My girlfriend doesnt mine me washing cars as long as I wash her car as well.
My wife uses the same tactic. :rolleyes:
My problem is I'm tired of washing my own car, let alone hers. And you've seen her car... it's bigger than it looks (in terms of washing area at least).

Originally posted by ayn
I think I'm gonna have to get a PC myself, after using Eugene's, it's so nice, I'll probably wait til I have to detail my car again to get one, which will be in about 6 months. I'll let u know then and u can bring your JB 330i over...
Thanks for the offer, Andrew.
What is this PC that you talk about. Is it an orbital polisher or something else?
And what's that "ultimate carwash nozzle"?
How do you "dry my car with slow running water"?
I woke up too early today, so I'm slow... time for lunch yet? ;)
 

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JetBlack330i said:

My wife uses the same tactic. :rolleyes:
My problem is I'm tired of washing my own car, let alone hers. And you've seen her car... it's bigger than it looks (in terms of washing area at least).

Thanks for the offer, Andrew.
What is this PC that you talk about. Is it an orbital polisher or something else?
And what's that "ultimate carwash nozzle"?
How do you "dry my car with slow running water"?
I woke up too early today, so I'm slow... time for lunch yet? ;)
some links:
http://www.griotsgarage.com/catalog.jsp?L1=L1_2000&L2=L2_2060&SKU=10625

http://www.calcarcover.com/product....rch=nozzle&returnCaption=Back+to+Product+List

Drop by some day and I'll show u how to dry with slow-running water... =) oh btw, the prices at those links are about twice as much as how much you can find them for.

--Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
johnlew said:
I always wash it as soon as it gets dirty and the streets are dry enough in winter so it's never horribly caked and baked on dirt and salt.
Hi Johnlew,
I know all about those WI winters.
I went to school in Madison. Lived there for 8 years.
Don't get me wrong, I miss the snow (not the salt) so much that I plan to go back up there this December (if my other plan to go to Rio de Janeiro fails) just to see the snow. :thumbup:
I'm serious.
 
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