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: Touchless carwash question


crombie
11-06-2002, 10:07 PM
FINALLY!!! About a mile and a half south of my driveway a TOUCHLESS car wash has opened up. Now... here is my question: I heard through the grapevine that if I was to take my trep through there 5 or 6 times, that after a while the clearcoat will become f****d up. Is there any truth to this? I NEVER take "her" through the standard car washes. Too many swirls and scratches. I have taken the trep through this touchless car wash once, and my oh my did she come out looking good as new. Any ideas or thoughts?
~~Tony~~

JoeKD
11-06-2002, 10:13 PM
I use them on a regular basis and my car looks just fine

as long as you take the time to do regular cleanings and waxes your car will be fine

BlackTrep911
11-06-2002, 10:13 PM
I don't use car washes at all, and this is my reason. When I wash my own car (and detail others on the side) I know what kind of chemicals and products I am using. I know if I'm using a detergent, I know if I'm using anything abrasive. I just LOVE the wax feature....what a joke. I think its just soap, just a different color, lol. Seriously, I don't see any reason not to use it in the winter months when its shitty outside, but nothing beats a hand washing. YOU know if its not leaving a film, YOU know if it didn't miss any spots. I don't think the "touchless" systems really do any damage to the paint or clearcoat, but then again.....do you really know whats being used to clean your car?

crombie
11-06-2002, 10:17 PM
Originally posted by BlackTrep911
I don't use car washes at all, and this is my reason. When I wash my own car (and detail others on the side) I know what kind of chemicals and products I am using. I know if I'm using a detergent, I know if I'm using anything abrasive. I just LOVE the wax feature....what a joke. I think its just soap, just a different color, lol. Seriously, I don't see any reason not to use it in the winter months when its shitty outside, but nothing beats a hand washing. YOU know if its not leaving a film, YOU know if it didn't miss any spots. I don't think the "touchless" systems really do any damage to the paint or clearcoat, but then again.....do you really know whats being used to clean your car?
Don't get me wrong... I would much rather hand wash and wax the trep, but since it's getting colder outside, I really don't want to be outside and washing the car while I'm freezing my butt off. The funny thing was that the soap that was used was pink. The color of the wax was... pink... LOL... hmmmm.... :crazy:

dodgeguy
11-06-2002, 10:21 PM
The other problem with not doing it yourself is a lot of those places recyle the water cheaper for them but concentration of detergent in rinse water can get high, not all do this however.

BlackTrep911
11-06-2002, 10:24 PM
Yeah, exactly....hey, what is the name of the system they use, is it like Powerwash 2000 or something? There is actually some halfway decent touchless washes around here, at the Mobil gas stations. The shitty thing is, I'd rather freeze my ass off then spend 9 bucks on the "Works' carwash! The last time I went thought (and I do mean LAST) a touchless car wash, it cleaned the car....but it also completely stripped 2 layers of wax and polish I applied 1 week prior..... GRRR!!!!

crombie
11-06-2002, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by BlackTrep911
I'd rather freeze my ass off then spend 9 bucks on the "Works' carwash!
The works at this car wash runs $7.00... they even accept credit card, and debit! :eek:

BlackTrep911
11-06-2002, 10:33 PM
Well, its 9 bucks here.....the 7 dollar "Deluxe" option doesnt have the "wax" option....lol

dbaudiopro
11-06-2002, 11:22 PM
The main problem with touchless car washes is the pressure and harshness of the detergent used. Since there is no contact with the car it relies on high pressure to "blast" away the dirt. Not a great thing for any type of finish. The detergents are also much harsher since there isn't any contact. Personally, I avoid automatic car washes as all costs. However, if I lived in an area where the Trep would get salty in the winter I would probably consider using one on an occassional basis...

JoeKD
11-06-2002, 11:24 PM
yep, us New England types really need the undercarriage spraying in the winter time

ChicagoTRS
11-06-2002, 11:28 PM
I do not think it will damage your clear coat or anything but it will likely strip off any wax. The detergents/soap they use are very harsh...only way they can clean without touching the car...even then I have found they do not really work that well and usually leave the car still dirty especially if you are trying to get off salt/wet road grime.

I have vowed not to use the autowashes on my trep but I have used them regularly (probably 150+ times in the past 4 years) with my Explorer and the paint has held up very well. I do think they are better than not washing at all and leaving the salt/dirt on the car. They are also a lot better than any wash that use those damn spinning brushes...those will F up your clear coat and give you swirls. The soft cloth washes are ok as long as they are well maintaned.

I totally understand that hand washing a car when it is freezing out sucks. If you are going to use the autowashes...I would recommend trying to at least wax the car 1-2 times (or more) over the winter. Use a polymer wax like Meguiars Polymer or Liquid Glass or Nu Finish. These waxes are very easy to work with and will stand up a little better to the car washes. Then in the spring plan on giving the car a good clearcoat scrub/polish/wax and she should hold up pretty well.

BlackTrep911
11-06-2002, 11:33 PM
[QUOTE]The main problem with touchless car washes is the pressure and harshness of the detergent used. Since there is no contact with the car it relies on high pressure to "blast" away the dirt. Not a great thing for any type of finish. The detergents are also much harsher since there isn't any contact. Personally, I avoid automatic car washes as all costs. However, if I lived in an area where the Trep would get salty in the winter I would probably consider using one on an occassional basis...

I totally agree....even when you hand wash a car, there a several options out there to choice from to prevent, for lack of a better word, friction on vehicle paint surfaces. I got into an argument with a friend of mine recently about how much soap I use to wash my car....he says I use to much, wasting soap. I explained to him that I use more soap than the manufacturer suggests to make more suds....more suds equals less contact of the applicator (sponge, mitt, etc.) on the paints surface....therefore less swirl marks, fine scratches, and so on. Even though these are "touchless" carwashes, they require more water pressure, and stronger detergents to remove dirt...THEREFORE causing more damage than a handwashing.....WHEW, I need to shut up....lol...... DETERGENT SOAP=BYE BYE WAX

ChicagoTRS
11-06-2002, 11:33 PM
The most important thing with keeping a good car finish is to religiously polish and wax. You should polish once every two months and wax every month if you do that your car will look great even after using car washes.

ChicagoTRS
11-06-2002, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by BlackTrep911
[QUOTE]I got into an argument with a friend of mine recently about how much soap I use to wash my car....he says I use to much, wasting soap. I explained to him that I use more soap than the manufacturer suggests to make more suds....more suds equals less contact of the applicator (sponge, mitt, etc.) on the paints surface

There is some truth to what your friend is telling you...too much soap can be a bad thing. Can tend to leave a soap film/haze on the car and make it much more difficult to dry the car. Drying is generally the most dangerous action when hand washing a car. Also make sure you are washing with a nice mitt or some other material that will keep from getting particles lodged in it and causing scratches.

crombie
11-07-2002, 12:03 AM
I use one of those "sheep" mitts to wash the car.

tjhess74
11-07-2002, 12:40 AM
if you look before entering one of these touchless washers, they usually have a sign that says the detergents will remove any wax on the car. unless your desperate, i wouldnt do it because its a waste of wax and your time to replace it.

Don Hardy
11-07-2002, 04:15 AM
OK, I live on a 3rd world island - what 'zaktly is a "touchless" system? Never seen one, I thought they were the semi-sorta-spinning rag suckers! I'm anal I admit, but in YEARS AND YEARS no one has ever touched my cars but me. Dang, even my DW doesn't touch her car - she leaves it to me. HEY wait, she should wash her own damn car!!!

QuickSilver
11-07-2002, 08:12 AM
I don't think you can get a truly clean car without some "touch". The chemicals they use are harsh... notice how they let the "soap" sit on your car for 30 seconds or so before the rinse cycle. This is stuff you'd never touch with your bare hands, and if it strips wax, than it certainly can't be good for your clearcoat over the long haul.

I polish and wax my cars at least quarterly, paying special attention in the spring and fall. During the winter, I take it to a self-wash and pressure spray the salt and grime off as needed, sometimes twice a week. With a good coat of wax, it rinses of really well.

When the temperature gets above zero, I wash the car in my driveway using a soft bristle brush on an extension pole. The bucket I use has a grate in the bottom that takes the dirt out of the brush on every "dip". Be sure to use an "automotive shampoo" (Mothers makes a good one) and not dish soap.

My 2 cents canadian,

Brian

crombie
11-07-2002, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Don Hardy
OK, I live on a 3rd world island - what 'zaktly is a "touchless" system? Never seen one, I thought they were the semi-sorta-spinning rag suckers!
No rags or brushes are used to touch your vehicle, you drive up, and high powered hoses squirt water, wax, soap, etc, etc. onto your car. To dry, they have high powered blowers.

dbaudiopro
11-07-2002, 09:32 AM
If you've ever taken a towel to your car after a touchless car wash to dry it, you'll see how much crap is actually left on your car. I used to take my old car (it was black) through the touchless or hand high pressure washes all the time since there isn't any other choice when you live in the dorms at college. After it would dry you could still see a nasty film of dirt all over the car...

crombie
11-07-2002, 09:40 AM
Believe it or not DB, after I took "her" through the touchless wash, I ran my hand across the clear coat. No dirt at all! :) Maybe it works good for now, since the place just opened up. Who knows?

JoeKD
11-07-2002, 09:49 AM
I have to disagree again, I think it all depends on the wash you use

I towel dry my car as soon as it gets out of the wash and have never had a film

also I almost have no dirt showing on the white towels I use

dbaudiopro
11-07-2002, 10:03 AM
Maybe you guys have better car washes there than we had in Iowa, but every single time I would dry the car my towels would be black from the film left on the car... :confused:

ChicagoTRS
11-07-2002, 04:41 PM
Originally posted by dbaudiopro
Maybe you guys have better car washes there than we had in Iowa, but every single time I would dry the car my towels would be black from the film left on the car... :confused:

I have found the same prob with the touchless automatic washes...they hardly get my truck clean. Leave a lot of road grime...maybe it has something to do with a black car or how often the car is waxed or how often the car is washed. I have found even a good soft cloth wash ends up leaving a lot of grime behind...often have to put my car through twice (place I go to gives you a free second time through if the car is still dirty). Wait until winter there is no way those automatic washes will do a great job.

BlackTrep911
11-07-2002, 07:52 PM
Well, I think the better the wax job, or a recent waxing would make for a cleaner car after the touchless car wash. My car is black also, and never seems to come completely clean. And the air drying at the end.....no way in hell they give you enough time to completely to dry the car, so by the time you get home, the car is streaked with water spots cuz the car wash uses hard water! I dunno. And I have never had a problem with a film on my car from using too much shampoo...the car always dries easily, no problems. You are right though about when drying the car can cause the most damage. So, what I do is when I rinse the car after the washing I take the nozzle off the hose and just let the water flow over my car, starting on the roof. Move the hose slowly over the surface, and the water will actually sheet off the car. By the time I'm done rinsing, the car is almost dry. Then I bust out the electric leaf blower, yeah baby! Works awesome for the door handles, under the trunk lid, under the headlights, etc. I think my neighbors think I'm nuts drying my car with a leaf blower, but oh well, screw em. lol

ChicagoTRS
11-07-2002, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by BlackTrep911
Then I bust out the electric leaf blower, yeah baby! Works awesome for the door handles, under the trunk lid, under the headlights, etc. I think my neighbors think I'm nuts drying my car with a leaf blower, but oh well, screw em. lol

LOL...that is good. I can imagine it would work well. Especially like you say by the mirrors, door handles, creases, etc...I always hate how after you wash the car and then dry you have water leaking from everywhere.

BlackTrep911
11-07-2002, 11:35 PM
Yeah, actually I have a cheapy electric blower, not that powerful....but a buddy of mine has a gas powered one with a 4 cylinder strapped to it, seems like.....damn thing smokes so bad, he doesn't have to worry about any bugs getting near his clean car. He dries his entire car with it, and it takes him like, 4 minutes tops...lol

dbaudiopro
11-08-2002, 10:27 AM
I've heard good and bad things about using leaf blowers to dry the car. The obvious possitives is that there is no cloth, etc. contact with the surface to scratch. However, the negative side is that you're blowing air and any particles in the air (I know you don't have a filter on the blower :)) at your car's finish at what many manufacturers claim to be 200+MPH. Also, with a gas powered blower you are blowing oil and other misc. nasty things from the blower's engine at your car. Some of this may just be over analyzation and it may be completely harmless. But personally I'm not convinced a leaf blower is any better than careful use of soft toweling...

BlackTrep911
11-09-2002, 08:35 AM
I guess there isn't any fool proof solutions. I just think its got to be less abrasive to the cars finish than toweling. I know the blowers in the touchless car washes are far more powerful than my little electric leaf blower. I mainly use it just to blow out all the door crevices, mirrors, etc., I still use a towel method (The Absorber), or sheet the water off with a hose. Either way you look at it, theres pros and cons to everything, especially car detailing.

FunkRider
11-13-2002, 11:17 PM
There is one touchless car wash i will use around here, gets almost every spot on the car leaves no dirt on the spots it gets. I sometimes use it as a prewash if my car is really dirty then i go home and wash it again. Or in the winter i just use that one then take it out on the highway for some air dryin. :)

crombie
12-06-2002, 11:11 AM
Ok since we got dumped with about 5 inches of snow... the roads have had about a ton of salt sprayed onto them. It's now 32 degrees outside, and the snow is melting at a rapid pace. My trep has ALOT of salt and road grime on it, and I would like to take it to the touchless car wash today. Now my question is: should I get the "basic" wash which includes, wash, wax, and air dry? Or should I go for the whole 9 yards? Which includes wash,wax, 2 coats of clear coat protection, undercarriage, and 2 minute air blower dry. How much road salt would really rust away the paint?

JoeKD
12-06-2002, 11:24 AM
my local touchless wash has a $5 package which is triple foam wash with undercarriage, I dont buy any "special extras"

the drying is a must (unless you towel dry) but in my opinion the wax and clear coat protectant are a joke

I'm just there to give my car a quick shower, plain and simple

QuickSilver
12-06-2002, 11:49 AM
I generally go to a coin wash a few times a week and spray the car down, rinsing off the salt, dirt, etc. A full wash is a waste of money while the roads are wet, IMO. I just make sure I've got a solid coat of wax on, maybe two, every fall. The grime just rinses right off.

As a former detailer, the waxes applied applied at carwashes are a complete waste of time and money if you're looking for serious protection. The tri color waxes sure are pretty though. The underbody spray is a good idea.

Brian

crombie
12-06-2002, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by QuickSilver
I generally go to a coin wash a few times a week and spray the car down, rinsing off the salt, dirt, etc. A full wash is a waste of money while the roads are wet
I agree about it being a waste of money, but the coin operated ones are normally hogged up. So I have little choice, and I'll be damned if I'm going to wash "her" in this cold. :crazy:

ChicagoTRS
12-06-2002, 12:10 PM
Originally posted by crombie

I agree about it being a waste of money, but the coin operated ones are normally hogged up. So I have little choice, and I'll be damned if I'm going to wash "her" in this cold. :crazy:

heheh...I still hand wash mine in this weather. Talk about a quick wash...I always use warm water so it kind of keeps me warm. Can usually wash and rinse the entire car in about 10 minutes or less...then pull it in my heated garage to dry it off :)

I agree with the touchless washes any extra $ for the "wax" products is a waste. Just get the undercarriage, wash, blow dry option if you have that combination of options. Really you are just trying to get a majority of the salt/road grime off. Personally I prefer the hand sprayers because you can get the undercarriage and wheel wells a lot better...get rid of the accumulated ice/salt under there.

viprman
12-07-2002, 04:03 PM
Here is what I do if anyone cares. ;)

I go to the coin-op high pressure wash bay at a car wash. I bring like $3 with me and turn them into quarters for the machine.

I bring my Californial water blade, two towels, a wash mit (and wheel cleaner with brush if I have time).

Step 1: Pull into the wash bay and close both garage doors and get all supplies ready.

Step 2: I use one full run on the machine to soap up the car and do an under body flush. I wait until the time runs out and then procede to step 3.

Step 3: I get the wash mit out and scrub the entire car. I do the wheels at this time too.

Step 4: I put the second round of quarters in for the high pressure rinse. I go over the entire car and under body.

Step 5: If there is still time on the machine I will switch to "WAX" and go over the car. Then I will rinse that off too (sometimes requires more quarters ).

Step 6: When time runs out I get out my water blade and blade the car down. I then dry off the car thoroughly including door seals and under the trunk and hood. This makes sure no water will run out of any areas while driving.

Step 7: Open the garage door and pull out. Get out of the car and use the daylight or lights outside to check over the car to make sure all of the salt and dirt are gone. Also, I wipe up any water I missed.

That is about it. It takes me at least 25-30 minutes to do this so I try to go off peak times so others don't get mad waiting for the bay when I am drying off my car. It works well.

creepingdeath
12-25-2002, 01:08 PM
Hey viprman, how well do those water blades work? Where did you buy it at?

EvilDeadFan
12-25-2002, 01:39 PM
I finally used a touchless, the best in the city like 10 mins from my house for the first time this year. Well I had it done, filled up with gas, then it was like $5 Canadian to have the mid wash. Sort of a rocker panel blast, full wash, and a nice little topper clear coat after.
Car came out looking very nice, and considdering it was hard to see out of the windows with all the salt that was on her. She looks amazing again, and there was some immediate attention from on-lookers again. With all the build up nobody had been noticing the trep for a while, but now it's slick again so it's all good.

Personally, I'd never go near one of those touchless car washes again in the summer. I enjoy my Meguiars deep crystal wash :)

Dougman
12-25-2002, 04:13 PM
I like the touchless and have never had a problem with them. I'll use the coin operated wash if the car isn't too dirty. We cant use detergent if we wash the car at home because there is a $250.00 fine for putting detergent into the drainage system.

vladig
12-25-2002, 04:37 PM
Ahhhhh a friend of mine owns a hand car wash so I get a hand car wash, clean windows inside and out, vacume, and clean the rims + armor all the tires for like $11 US the car comes out looking like new every time I go there ( one a week) the only time I would use a touchless is if I was out of state and the car was extreamly dirty.