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Old 11-17-2001, 03:37 AM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 11384
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Santa Clarita
2002 WRX
Rally Blue

Unhappy scratch a swirls. cleaning car!

Hey, my car is dusty again and I live in an apartment building. Whats the best way to clean my car? Its really hard for me. Should i jsut go to those drive thrus? or should i just use a wet towel?

Also, do u guys have swirls on your car, i have some. Are they common. I assume they are. No biggy right? I think ill just use turtle waxes scratch and swirl remover. That is after i wash it! Help me out thx.
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Old 11-17-2001, 04:54 AM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 8171
Join Date: Jul 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Mountlake Terrace
2005 WRX STi
Blue / Gold


There's a place near my apartment that you drive your car up to, and plug quarters in a machine for water pressure to wash your car; they have hot or cold water available, and you can use their big brush if you want to (I wouldn't though, it's always black with dirt).

Works pretty well for me... you might have to drive around a little to find a similar one but I'm sure you'll find one eventually.

You might want to ask some of the folks near you via the regional i-club forums, they might know of a few decent places that you can actually drive to.

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Old 11-17-2001, 03:48 PM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 7536
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Jose
2005 WRX STi


To wash it right, you really need a hose with constant water supply. You don't see and faucet by the apartment where the gardener use to water the plants? There has to be some sort of water outlet in some remote corner of the apartment. You just might have to circle around the apartment to find one. Could be hidden under some bush, but there has to be some. Make sure you hawk up the parking space adjustent to the water outlet. Some require you to turn on the water with a wrench, no big deal at all.

When I was in college I lived in an apartment. I puchase my own hose and brought it to this remote corner of the apartment where I found the water outlet to wash my car every time.

Swirl mark is fixable, but to me, it really looks crappy. I either wash my car correctly or I don't wash it at all. Washing it half way by not using fresh water will hurt your car's paint more.

NEVER, NEVER go to drive-through to wash your car.
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Old 11-17-2001, 04:11 PM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 11384
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Santa Clarita
2002 WRX
Rally Blue


i have water hookups. If i can get a hose, how should I wash my car so that I dont get swirls? Why is drive thru car washes so bad for your car? What is the best way to wash your car. Just get car wash soap and soap it down?
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Old 11-17-2001, 04:53 PM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 6631
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Louisville, KY, US
2000 ImprezaRS Sedan
Aspen White


i do the only reasonable thing. i goto my moms. hehe here at my apartment they have those spot for the hose to connect to but no water runs through them. HEHE if I see a spot and don't have time to get to my moms i just use a little spit shine, human saliva is really a great compound for a good shine.
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Old 11-17-2001, 08:22 PM   #6
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 9026
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: If I knew, I wouldn't be lost!

As long as your car has a good coat of wax and it's not too dirty, you can get away with some quick detailing spray.
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Old 11-17-2001, 10:19 PM   #7
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 11683
Join Date: Oct 2001
2002 WRX Wagon
Platinum Silver


This is a great question! Too often washing a car is underestimated in terms of the value it adds to a car. Also, I am firm believer that much damage can actually be caused by improper washing.

I agree that the best wash comes only with a hose and bucket. But, I lived in an apartment for two years with no way to possibly do this. When I moved to the apartment, I was coming from a house with a big yard, plently of spac to wash the car and shade to do it in. I was spoiled! So, when I went to the apartment it was culture shock. I actually have a "winter washing" technique that I just used all years round. So, here it is.

If you have to use a commercial wash, use the kind where you can get out and pressure hose the car. Here is what I took with me.
  • 5 Gallon bucket
  • Car wash liquid
  • Cotton sponge -- white sheep wool looking one!
  • Absorber -- synthetic drying towel
  • 2 Gallons of hot water -- could be cold if it is summer
  • Enough quarters for 2 "timed" sessions

Ok -- by now you probably think I am the most anal person around -- well my car is almost always clean, so maybe it is worth it :-)

Now -- the hard part is choosing the right time to do this. Because, you want to go when you know the car wash will not be busy. Also, make sure there are no signs up about NOT "hand washing" the car. Most places do not care unless you are holding up a line a other cars. So, pick an early morning or later a night time. You can usually figure out when the car wash is not busy and always go at that time.

I would always put the water I took with me into the bucket, put in the car wash liquid, then put the quarters in the machine. Most machines will have a little water coming out without squeezing, so I would use that to fill the bucket. Don't go too long, because you want to spray off the car.

After spraying the car, use the sponge or wash mit and go at the car. Do the whole car -- pretty quickly so it does not get dry soap all over. You can get a real workout doing this.

When you are done, if there is time left, spray off the car.

Next, move to the wheels. Wash them off. You may have to put the 2nd group of quarters in at this point. But, basically, you have to hose off the wheels and the car one more time. Before you run out of time, hose off the Absorber (I really recommend these things -- 10 bucks from most car care sections of department stores) so it is wet. Oh, by the way, if you let the Absorbers wet like the say to, they will mold and smell horrible.

Next, dry the car off -- I would usually pull the car out of the bay at this point. Just in case someone else comes in and needs the space.

I must say, I have only had 2 times where someone pulled in behind me and complained that I was taking too long. But, I reassured them I would most likely be done faster than I would if I was just hosing the thing off -- that didn't actually make them feel better though. That about does it. I still do this now in the winter if it is too cold to get my own garden hose out. Works well, keeps the car really clean and I think it is much better than just leaving the car dirty. Hope that helps.
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Old 11-18-2001, 08:32 PM   #8
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 2575
Join Date: Oct 2000
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Winter Park, Florida
2008 Forester 2.5X
Dark Gray Metallic


Go here, spend some time learning and browsing. You will learn from detailers how to do things and you can post questions to very knowledgeable people. I finally have a grip on what I'm doing and have gotten rid of my swirl marks. Until I learned from this site I was just "running around in circles" so to speak, as to how to clean and wax my car.

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