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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wash, Wax, Detailing and Cosmetic protection/repairs > Car Wash



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      08-14-2006, 11:57 PM   #1
RyBMW
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Car Wash

I'm the kind of person that likes to wash my car by myself with my hands. It's kind of hard to hand wash my car during the winter.

Do you bring your 3 series to an automated car wash? Doesn't it scratch the paint? I believe most of these car wash places uses a rail where you drive onto and it pulls your car through. Doesn't this scratch your wheels, especially if you have the sports package? Is the fan that dries your car safe to be blown at the shark fin antenna?

My local Mobil gas station has this automated car wash that has no brushes at all. It doesn't even use a rail to pull your car through.

You drive up to the car wash and there is this machine that you choose what kind of car wash you want. You insert the money, swipe your credit card or pay pass. The doors open and you drive in. There is a light that tells you to pull forward, when to stop, or if you need to back up a little. You move the car yourself. This pipe/tube, wrapped in styrofoam, moves around the car spraying soap on every part of your car. It does this two times. Than the same pipe/tube sprays water to rinse off the soap. Afterwards, you drive up a few feet and there is this fan that dries your car. The fan has a timer. You just drive through the fan slowly as you exit.

Nothing touches the car except for soap, water, and air from the fan.

I think this kind of car wash will be good for the winter. Has anyone ever used this kind of car wash before?
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      08-15-2006, 12:20 AM   #2
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I am wondering the same thing! I will be planning to do the same thing in the winter as long and people tell me it is ok!
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      08-15-2006, 12:31 AM   #3
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Yep, I use touchless automatic car washes all the time in the winter, and they work great for the most part. They're the only kind of automatic wash that I generally use (also prefer to hand wash in the summer). The one caveat to the touchless washes in winter though is to try and find one with a drying system. Not all of them around here have them, and in the winter having bits of ice on the car is a bit irritating.
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      08-15-2006, 05:10 AM   #4
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I take my car to a place that will hand wash it for me. There seem to be quite a few in north NJ. No tracks to damage your wheels, and they use wash mitts similar to what I would use myself.
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      08-15-2006, 08:00 AM   #5
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Only drawback is the chemicals used to wash and spot free the rinse. They strip your wax job very quickly. Still is your best winter alternative when hand wash is unavailable.
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      08-15-2006, 08:40 AM   #6
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As everyone's said, touchless washes are the way to go, since the nylon brushes at the typical car wash will destroy your paint. Typically these washes don't get the undercarriage though, so you'll want to go to the quarter wash and spray the wheel wells and undercarriage yourself. In the winter you shouldn't care about getting your car showroom ready... you won't be able to. Just get all the grime/salt/snow off to protect your vehicle.
As for the chemicals stripping your wax; just make sure you've got a few good coats of Zaino or another sealant prior to the start of winter. That should hold up through a few months of touchless washes.
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      08-15-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
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I agree with nmulax. I worked at a car wash for a couple of years while I was in college. I would not suggest anyone take any car through one of the regular old car washes with brushes and carpet strips, yet alone a nice new BMW. We damaged cars all the time with scratches, or they would get jammed up against a roller and then a part would break off (mirrors, etc). One car jumped the track so bad that it ended up popping over the rail and falling into the water return ditch. The car had two wheels in the water channel and two wheels in the air and had to be winched out.

Touchless or handwash only, IMO.
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      08-15-2006, 03:45 PM   #8
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Where are the touchless car washes in the NYC area?
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      08-15-2006, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyBMW

My local Mobil gas station has this automated car wash that has no brushes at all. It doesn't even use a rail to pull your car through.

You drive up to the car wash and there is this machine that you choose what kind of car wash you want. You insert the money, swipe your credit card or pay pass. The doors open and you drive in. There is a light that tells you to pull forward, when to stop, or if you need to back up a little. You move the car yourself. This pipe/tube, wrapped in styrofoam, moves around the car spraying soap on every part of your car. It does this two times. Than the same pipe/tube sprays water to rinse off the soap. Afterwards, you drive up a few feet and there is this fan that dries your car. The fan has a timer. You just drive through the fan slowly as you exit.

Nothing touches the car except for soap, water, and air from the fan.

I think this kind of car wash will be good for the winter. Has anyone ever used this kind of car wash before?
Be careful at the Mobil wash...i used one here by my house when i had stock wheels and didn't have any problems,,BUT, after i got my new wheels (m5 Replicas) i scraped the _hit! out of the left front... so just be careful...glen
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      08-15-2006, 06:28 PM   #10
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I hand wash even in the winter... There are a number of "no rinse" washes out there: Optimum No Rinse (ONR), and Protect All Quick and Easy wash (QEW) that you can use by bucket in the garage... As long as it's above freezing they work fine and with some heat in the garage, it's not bad at all, even in Buffalo.
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      08-15-2006, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by espo89
I hand wash even in the winter... There are a number of "no rinse" washes out there: Optimum No Rinse (ONR), and Protect All Quick and Easy wash (QEW) that you can use by bucket in the garage... As long as it's above freezing they work fine and with some heat in the garage, it's not bad at all, even in Buffalo.
are you serious. how many days are above freezing in buffalo in the winter. that place is a frozen tundra. i tried washing my car in the winter once by hand and it was about 45'F and my freak'n hands almost fell off. i also take my car to a detail shop that washes by hand only. those touchless washes aren't bad but they will strip off all the wax after only a coulpe of times.
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      08-15-2006, 08:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brunotheboxer
are you serious. how many days are above freezing in buffalo in the winter. that place is a frozen tundra. i tried washing my car in the winter once by hand and it was about 45'F and my freak'n hands almost fell off. i also take my car to a detail shop that washes by hand only. those touchless washes aren't bad but they will strip off all the wax after only a coulpe of times.
It's not THAT cold here... It just snows... In fact the lakes actually help in the winter to keep the temperature from falling too low. The other side of that is they help it snow more too.

However, in my garage, with a portable heater I can get it up to about 50F in the winter. Warm enough to just need a sweatshirt and can actually put a coat of Zanio on the car too. However when I'm washing the car I always use one of the heavy rubber "dish washing" gloves to keep my hand that's in the mitt reasonable warm... I also use warm water from the house for both the wash and rinse buckets...

It actually works pretty well. Considering an auto wash can cost 5-6 dollars each, I bought $20 worth of QEW last year and saved at least twice that much. I still have more than 1/2 of that left for this year, so no need to buy more from this winter either..
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      08-15-2006, 09:00 PM   #13
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Use the touchless wash in the winter and after the fan blows you out, take a fluffy clean towel that you keep in your trunk and wipe the drips away, especially on the back of your car.

Roll the windows down a bit and do the tops so they don't freeze in the window frames, and do the door frames and rubber so they don't freeze shut.




Ask me how I know all this!!
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      08-15-2006, 09:05 PM   #14
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I sometimes use the touchless if its too cold

However, NEVER use a towel to dry the car off after going through, because they never get ALL the dirt off and the left over dirt is just being grinded into the paint
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      08-15-2006, 09:20 PM   #15
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Hunter, I guess I should clarify...there are always water spots on the back of the car....a careful dabbing is necessary to remove them, or you pick up all the dirt that blows around there when you smoke out of the car wash. I'm certainly suggesting a rubdown of the car, the wind blows most of the other drops off the front, sides and top.

However, cold in Houston is what, 50?

I'm talking about cold being zero farenheit and lower.
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      08-15-2006, 09:21 PM   #16
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ya its never cold on Houston

I just get lazy....alot
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      08-15-2006, 09:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter399
ya its never cold on Houston

I just get lazy....alot



BTW my F1 GS-D3s arrive Friday and get mounted Tuesday!! Die evil runflats!
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      08-15-2006, 09:42 PM   #18
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haha

You are gunna be obsessed with the Eagles

They are really amazing tires
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      08-15-2006, 10:54 PM   #19
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And then winter arrives in November and I get to play with my xDrive...either way I win!
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