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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 6/4/2008 12:51:21 PM EST
I have a question regarding the use of car washes. What type of automatic car washes are safe/suitable for clearcoated finishes? I normally hand wash all of my cars using a chenille sponge/bone with the grit guard only after rinsing off loose dirt. During the winter in SE Michigan, the road salt is absolutely horrendous. I try my best to rinse the underbody but I've been thinking about taking it to an automatic car wash.

1). What type of automatic car wash should I look for, do I check in the yellow pages or is there a directory of "approved" car washes?

2). How does the car wash recycle the water, and how do they get rid of road salt in the solution?

3). What type of "wax" do they use in the car wash? My bet is some type of water soluble carnauba that lasts 1 rain storm.

4). Bottom line, yay or nay for automatic car washes? What about for the winter to get rid of road salt in the frame, underbody, and panels?

I tell people about how I wash and wax the cars by hand every so often and they look at me like I'm from Mars because they all take it into a car wash.

I want to protect the clearcoat from damage and prevent rust from forming. If an automatic car wash can do this effectively, I might consider this as an option especially in the winter.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 12:59:48 PM EST
I've only been to two automatic car washes ever, and on the second time they put a 4 inch scratch in my new truck. [:// I doubt that happens very often, but I wouldn't trust somebody or something else to wash a nice car of mine.

I do all my washing by hand now though.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:13:09 PM EST
Sorry, Dont know. Usually run through a automatic once a week and go to a real good carwash once a month (hand dry, armorall, vacuum, etc). Never had a scratch, dent, etc.(knocking on wood)
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:15:45 PM EST
I run my truck through and get "the Works" every two to three weeks.

But its a truck.

If I ever had a paint job I was overly proud of Id hand wash it.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:19:27 PM EST
I've never had bad results. Ever. You just can't take lo pro tires through the one in my town.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:26:04 PM EST
I hate automatic car washes. They never get your vehicle really clean. I only run my truck through them in the winter just to get the road salt off. I usually use the high pressure do it yourself wash to get rid of the heavy mud and grime, then give it a good hand wash and wax.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:28:07 PM EST
I work as a painter in an autobody repair shop and I've seen too many finishes damaged by automatic washes. In most cases the car wash would pick up the repair tab, but to be honest, automatic washes are very hard on your cars finish. If your that concerned about the salt spray and your vehicles overall appearance, take it to a detail or auto body shop and have them clean it. You'll be much happier down the line when it doesn't appear that you wash your car with a scotch brite pad.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:34:49 PM EST
I wash my truck once a year... so maybe I don't really care after all...
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 1:38:32 PM EST
meh, my truck only gets washed maybe 4-5 times a year..
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 11:58:09 PM EST
Do they recycle the water? If so, how do they get rid of the salt during the winter? Desalination / distillation?
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 12:40:49 AM EST
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