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Old 12-11-2010, 02:02 AM   #1
JJ21
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Default Will a commercial car wash mess up my paint?

Welp, it's winter, and it's cold out. There is a $3 car wash down the street from me, and the car is pretty dirty. I just wanted to get it a bit cleaner before any possible snow hits and the salt starts flying. The place just recently opened, and it looks pretty spiffy as well as seeing quite a few people coming and going on my way to work, so I guess it's pretty good! (plus free vacuums!)


Now normally, I would wash by hand with a microfiber wash mit, but I don't feel like losing a few fingers to frostbite.


My question was if the scrubber thingies that they use in the carwashes will mess up my paint/finish?


These are what I'm talking about.


From what I've read, they are said not to, but I just wanted to make sure.


Also, another question that came to mind was the awd. This is an automated exterior carwash with a conveyor track. Would that pose a problem?
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:22 AM   #2
truenosan
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Stay away from those. Not only will those scratch your paint, the dirt stuck on it isn't going to help either.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:44 AM   #3
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What he said, those types of car washes are just terrible for your paint. I'd honestly rather leave my car dirty till it warms up enough to wash it myself than take it through that.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:56 AM   #4
silvercookie
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just blast your car with the hose if it hasnt already frozen to get as much of the dirt off as you can.

or do a warm water wash.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:10 AM   #5
Geerolla
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Brushless FTW.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:06 AM   #6
Jaren1
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Brushed car washes are a big no no. But a nice touchless car wash would be ok, sure it wont get really stuck on dirt off, but its better for your paint
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:55 PM   #7
tank1987
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But also keep in mind high pressure washs are not good for your paint either, theres really no happy medium to the washing issue in the winter. Touch are harmful, and high pressure is harmful.

I personally wait till I can go to a do it yourself in the winter and keep distance with the pressure washer. Since in the regular wash the pressure gets so close to the paint.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:06 PM   #8
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Realise that those cars reuse their water right?

Those brush car washes vary. I've seen them in ghetto downtown at gas stations where they don't care of them at all. Then I see them with actual employees that actually clean their stuff!

Nevertheless, Subaru paint is the softest out there, so why risk it? Those car washes make me cringe if they don't get all the dirt off and that old mop is just rubbing in the dirt.
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:07 PM   #9
nairbmik
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ONR wash ftw!
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:16 PM   #10
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i work at a carwash and have for 3 years. if the employees down clean their **** then you have a higher chance of getting a scratch. it doesnt usually happen though. what does happen is swirl marks. and a lot of them. your paint wont get scratched but it will get swirls.

that being said i run my car through when im lazy but i dont care about my paint as it is already messed up. at the same time, the owner brings his brand new e63amg through frequently without trouble. subaru paint just sucks but what else is new
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:16 PM   #11
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and yes we re-use water that is filtered so clean you can drink it again. its a state requirement
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:19 PM   #12
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touchless car wash ftw!
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:20 PM   #13
mudferret
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Just go to a pay and spray. Sure it's high pressure, but you can modulate the pressure you blast your paint with by using distance and angle to your advantage, and you can do your wheel wells and undercarriage as well.

I wouldn't take my worst enemy's 1978 Pinto through one of those touch and rape me all over washes.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fail Wagon View Post
i work at a carwash and have for 3 years. if the employees down clean their **** then you have a higher chance of getting a scratch. it doesnt usually happen though. what does happen is swirl marks. and a lot of them. your paint wont get scratched but it will get swirls.
....what do you think "swirl marks" are? Scratches can appear as "swirls" or "cobwebs" when viewed under certain conditions. They will radiate in a circular pattern away from the reflection of a point of light (like the Sun) and appear to move as your viewing angle does.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VDCOFF View Post
touchless car wash ftw!
^This!
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:19 AM   #16
willoc
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Black cars and carwashes with rotating brushes don't mix. I found out the hard way on my 2011 OBP...first black car I've owned so I was a bit naive about it. You figure these nice new carwashes wouldn't ruin someone's paint...but yes they will. Got swirl marks all over the car when it was just a couple weeks old
Now investing in a good buffer/polisher system so I can get all the swirl marks out and reseal the paint (polyurethane). Now I either wash the car by hand or go to a touchless car wash.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #17
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All I will say is - say NO to the 100mph tunnel of death.


Paint swirlmarks just as Kean has stated are merely super numerous irregular LIGHT scratches that appear as circular because of irregular refraction.

Take a look here for a little more insight on car washes and actually looking into ONR washing after blasting down a car- http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2083182

I am a proponent of ONR washing - Yellow kitchen gloves, even when washing with warm(ish) water in a parking lot or garage keep hands dry. Dryhands/feet = winter detailing happiness
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:23 PM   #18
UAL912
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Ok my dad isn't the one to go to great lengths to detail his car, in fact since he got his Explorer in 04 he only takes it to a touchless wash during winter and I wash it by hand for him in the summer and the paint looks just fine, no swirls and there is no other damage on the car.

So unless Ford has the best paint and trim in the auto industry I think the fears about touchless damage is overblown but it is true that they do not get rid of the thin film. For some people it is literally too cold (to the point where water freezes very quickly on a car and hand washing becomes a miserable experience) or they simply don't have the will power to brave the cold then a touchless wash to get rid of caked on dirt and salt is just fine.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:09 PM   #19
JJ21
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I wasn't saying that the carwash has those EXACT brushes, but I was just using it as an example of the material the brushes are made of.


It's a new carwash, less than a year old.

Actually this is the place...http://www.petesexpresscarwash.com/index.cfm
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:19 PM   #20
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Pete sex press car wash?.. WTF?
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:25 PM   #21
JJ21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotsol View Post
Pete sex press car wash?.. WTF?

Girls in bikinis are the attendants....


No but seriously, PETES express car wash.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:02 PM   #22
wrx surfwagon
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just... no. i got lazy ONE time and now i got swirls out the a**. i didnt notice for a long time and couldnt figure out how it happened for even longer. I'll take care of it eventually, but my car likes to get dirty anyway

its a subaru in the winter let it get dirty!
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:59 PM   #23
jxkim
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dont do it... terrible for your car.
i am in the same boat with cold winters here, and wishing to keep all my fingers.

i have ONR, and plan on using dishwashing gloves?
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:09 AM   #24
nairbmik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jxkim View Post
dont do it... terrible for your car.
i am in the same boat with cold winters here, and wishing to keep all my fingers.

i have ONR, and plan on using dishwashing gloves?
They helped, to a degree when I used dishwashing gloves. Every once in a while I had to take them off and warm my hands back up, though.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:56 AM   #25
sans meaning
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The last commercial car wash I went to turned my (previously) white MKII MR2 turbo pink from the soap. Pay and spray with a bit of caution in the winter from then on.
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