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    Thread: Have automatic car washes improved?

    1. 01-13-2020 04:58 PM #1
      When I started driving auto carwashes were basically the worst thing ever (or so I was told) for your car. The chemicals were so strong they will essentially remove any wax on the car and striped it down to clearcoat. Then, when the cloths rub your car, you’re essentially using sandpaper on the clearcoat, and it will remove your clearcoat in 5 washes.

      Now this was 20+ years ago, so times must have changed with technological improvements. I see new automatic carwashes popping up left and right around here, so either they are laundering money through them, or they have improved so much that people are actually using them and the carwash owners are making money.

      Now I still use them on occasion if my vehicle is covered in salt for the underbody wash, but it’s not a regular occurrence.

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    3. Member
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      01-13-2020 05:02 PM #2
      Keep the paint and exterior trim sealed with nice products and the benefits of having salt cleaned off the car outweigh the potential damage caused by the stronger chemicals sprayed on your car IMO. Another nice bonus is the better the protection on the exterior of your car the more **** gets removed when you wash it.

    4. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 05:22 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by n0thing View Post
      Keep the paint and exterior trim sealed with nice products and the benefits of having salt cleaned off the car outweigh the potential damage caused by the stronger chemicals sprayed on your car IMO. Another nice bonus is the better the protection on the exterior of your car the more **** gets removed when you wash it.
      Agreed.

    5. Member SpeedyD's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 05:30 PM #4
      I used to think the same as you, but paint (and carwashes) are better now. I used to spend all weekend washing and waxing my '88 GTI, I used nothing but automatics on my 2010 CC for 7 years and it was absolutely fine.
      Sent from my basement using two tin cans and a string.

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      01-13-2020 05:32 PM #5
      Only if its touchless. Anything that touches your paint will scratch the every loving hell out of the paint.

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      01-13-2020 05:35 PM #6
      The average driver in MN that I've come across thinks nothing of using a floor pushbroom to clear snow off of their car, so there are worse things.

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      01-13-2020 05:49 PM #7
      No, no they haven't

      If you can't tolerate swirls in your paint, never take your car to a car wash, unless its touchless. And then, since it's touchless, it'll do a pretty terrrible job, but at least it gets the salt off. during the cold months.

    9. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 05:49 PM #8
      I use touchless a few times in the winter and maybe once or twice in summer when I am lazy. I do keep a layer of wax or sealant (depending on season) on the car at all times. I would never go to an auto touch wash.

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      01-13-2020 05:53 PM #9
      Maybe. I buy silver cars so I don't have to take this into account

    11. Member Unilateral Phase Detractor's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 05:56 PM #10
      Ceramic coating + Decent touchless "Laser" wash = Pretty clean car

      Every month or two, I'll follow the touchless wash up with a waterless car wash at home to get the film that it misses. My cars look fantastic, and I don't spend a ton of time keeping them that way.

    12. 01-13-2020 05:59 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      Only if its touchless. Anything that touches your paint will scratch the every loving hell out of the paint.
      Agreed, but a good touchless wash is ten bucks. For twenty bucks I can take it to the hand wash place up the street that does a fantastic job. (And for $45 they'll do a thorough mini-detail, inside and out--perfect for when the snow, slush, and salt finally go away.)

      Plus, some apartments are going in where my favorite touchless wash used to be, so...

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      01-13-2020 06:05 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      Only if its touchless. Anything that touches your paint will scratch the every loving hell out of the paint.
      Yup. Now I have a truck (and no shop of convenience i.e. Wash Bay) I use the touch less wash in the winter. Summer is still by hand.
      InstaGram J92Jcarpic 100% Stance Free

    14. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 06:41 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyD View Post
      I used to think the same as you, but paint (and carwashes) are better now. I used to spend all weekend washing and waxing my '88 GTI, I used nothing but automatics on my 2010 CC for 7 years and it was absolutely fine.
      I agree with this. I got the jeep ceramic coated a year ago and only need touchless car washes and the occasional hand wash. Our tucson (2011 with 150k+ miles) has only been exposed to traditional car washes and frankly it looks great every time. But part of it has to do with the color itself. Metalic gray does a great job of hiding swirls in all but the harshest light.

      Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

    15. Member fireside's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 06:45 PM #14
      I usually run them through the touch-free "laser wash" style two-four times a month, each vehicle, during the winter months. I had a subscription to the touch style drive-thru automatic car wash last winter as I had been told til they were blue in the face that they have improved so much.

      They have not. I need to correct the paint on my truck lol.

    16. 01-13-2020 07:49 PM #15
      I just tough it up an use the 5.00$ for 10 minutes power wash at the gas station in the cold it gets the blood pumping, i just dont utilize the hard bristle soap brush

    17. 01-13-2020 07:50 PM #16
      I dont trust em. I pay the 50 cents at the pay and spray joint like the rest of the plebes to get the salt off my cars

    18. 01-13-2020 08:00 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by EverthingIsTerrible View Post
      I dont trust em. I pay the 50 cents at the pay and spray joint like the rest of the plebes to get the salt off my cars
      .50 cents damn cheap i pay 5.00 for 10 min and .50 for every extra minutes before the 10 min expires

    19. Member 4th Branch's Avatar
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      01-13-2020 08:08 PM #18
      No they have not improved, many of them are still using facilities and machines that are several decades old at least here in NorCal.

      There's a brand new spot that opened up nearby me a few months ago, $10 for a basic wash and access to the vacuums for self-cleaning (https://neoexpresscarwash.com/) but I find the $6 wash thru the local Chevron machine to be equivalent.

    20. 01-14-2020 01:58 AM #19
      Ceramic coat + touch less wash 1-2 times a month does a good job. Every 6 months or so take it back to the detailer for a real wash.

      Not having a place to wash is a pain and this is the best medium I’ve found.

    21. 01-14-2020 09:56 AM #20
      I only use the touchless laser or the old school spray and wash in the bay. Basically I only use that for the power washer but if it gets cold, I go to the laser wash. If you have cleaned and waxed/sealed your car, they do a pretty good job. Every so often you still need to break down and do a great hand wash

    22. Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      01-14-2020 10:39 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by elmo3 View Post
      Agreed, but a good touchless wash is ten bucks. For twenty bucks I can take it to the hand wash place up the street that does a fantastic job. (And for $45 they'll do a thorough mini-detail, inside and out--perfect for when the snow, slush, and salt finally go away.)

      Plus, some apartments are going in where my favorite touchless wash used to be, so...
      Most of those hand job places are no better than a touch wash. They reuse their mitts to pump out cars and some even still use chamois.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonderwunsch View Post
      People have been complaining about modern BMWs lacking steering feel so they are adding torque steer.
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      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I find it ironic that long time Euro brand fans would assume long term reliability issues would destroy any love of a unique product.

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      01-14-2020 10:42 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by fireside View Post
      I had a subscription to the touch style drive-thru automatic car wash last winter as I had been told til they were blue in the face that they have improved so much.

      They have not. I need to correct the paint on my truck lol.
      Doesn't matter how soft the media they use to wash a car is when it's brand new. Even if you were the very first car to use the wash, as soon as those bristles (despite many of them now being a softer synthetic chamois fiber) pick up dirt and debris from your car, some of that is going to get slapped right back on the paint but now as a projectile when that brush makes a 360 degree rotation.

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      01-14-2020 11:19 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Elite_Deforce View Post
      Most of those hand job places are no better than a touch
      Robert Kraft, is that you?

    25. Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      01-14-2020 12:17 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by dan of montana View Post
      Robert Kraft, is that you?
      We just need an automatic hand touch job now. It's the new era.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonderwunsch View Post
      People have been complaining about modern BMWs lacking steering feel so they are adding torque steer.
      Quote Originally Posted by Ernie McCracken View Post
      I don't trust the judgment of anyone who likes black wheels.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I find it ironic that long time Euro brand fans would assume long term reliability issues would destroy any love of a unique product.

    26. I wait in line 4 hours for Pretzels on Pretzel Day Metallitubby's Avatar
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      01-14-2020 01:21 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Unilateral Phase Detractor View Post
      "Laser" wash
      Lasers? Anything with lasers is space-aged. Are we ready for such autonomy in car washing?
      * My contributions are not representative of American Honda

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