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      02-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #1
Marmaduke
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Automatic Car wash = Stuck in Neutral?

Hey all -

Searched and couldn't really find an answer (maybe my search-fu is lacking). For the winter, I take my car through an automatic car wash near my work (Delta Sonic). The last 2 times I've gone, I've had an issue...

So this is one of those carwashes where you pull up, put the car in neutral, it pushes you along, then when you get to the end, the light turns green, you shift to D and drive out. However, when I get through to the end of the wash, the car gets stuck in neutral. I press the button, try to pull the gear select into D, and it doesn't go. Feels like D is locked out. After the car rolls for a few second and I turn the car toward the drying area, the gear select slides into D with no problem.

Anyone ever experience this? Car is an '07 E92 with auto trans.

-John
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      02-03-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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One of these days "that" type of car wash will eat one of your rims and in case you were not aware those type car washes really hack up bimmers.
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      02-03-2012, 03:32 PM   #3
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Garage List
Solution = Don't go to Delta Sonic Auto Wash.
/thread.
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      02-03-2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveL View Post
One of these days "that" type of car wash will eat one of your rims and in case you were not aware those type car washes really hack up bimmers.
Not helpful to the OP.


OP. Are you pushing on the brake pedal? It took me awhile to get used to it. On my old automatic, i could just drop it into gear. The BMW requires us to hit the brake solidly while shifting. It's really one of the only times we use neutral, so it's not obvious.
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      02-03-2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinarello Rider View Post
Not helpful to the OP.


OP. Are you pushing on the brake pedal? It took me awhile to get used to it. On my old automatic, i could just drop it into gear. The BMW requires us to hit the brake solidly while shifting. It's really one of the only times we use neutral, so it's not obvious.
^^^This.
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      02-03-2012, 03:59 PM   #6
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I do understand that those car washes are not ideal, but that's why I only use them in winter to remove salt and road grime. (and I can afford to replace a cheap winter wheel ) I've had plenty of experiences washing cars in 34 degree weather by hand and it isn't fun. The car wash is an easy way to get rid of corrosive gunk on my lunch break.

Is there a downside other than the possibility of trashing one of my wheels? I know it can/will probably create swirl marks in the paint which I can remedy once warmer weather comes around.

In regards to the brake: I have not been pressing the brake. I've been able to shift into D while moving before, is this a requirement only when moving under a certain speed?
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      02-03-2012, 04:03 PM   #7
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There's a spot in the manual I believe that says to put your vehicle in park or neutral and shut off the ignition at car washes. I don't but then again I don't go to the types of car wash you mention. Don't know if that will help.
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      02-03-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmaduke View Post
I do understand that those car washes are not ideal, but that's why I only use them in winter to remove salt and road grime. (and I can afford to replace a cheap winter wheel ) I've had plenty of experiences washing cars in 34 degree weather by hand and it isn't fun. The car wash is an easy way to get rid of corrosive gunk on my lunch break.

Is there a downside other than the possibility of trashing one of my wheels? I know it can/will probably create swirl marks in the paint which I can remedy once warmer weather comes around.

In regards to the brake: I have not been pressing the brake. I've been able to shift into D while moving before, is this a requirement only when moving under a certain speed?
I worked in the car wash industry for a long time and your car is most likely safe there. (that being said, if you are uncomfortable, don't go. My cars have always looked better than the vast majority of cars on the road - regular wash and wax does wonders. And yes, you may need to touch up some spots - it's the downside of the convenience of an automatic wash.)

Do what I told you - that will probably fix it. There may be a speed thing involved - it's like when you start the car, you have to push the brake pedal to start it. Same with neutral at low speeds. If you want to drive down the highway and start shifting in and out of gear, go for it. I accept no responsibility for what comes next...
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      02-03-2012, 05:06 PM   #9
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press break pedal

I use the same type of car wash.All that you need to do is to press break pedal before you switch from neutral to drive.
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      02-03-2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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What in the hell is wrong with an automatic car wash? I get my 2010 E90 335i M-sport washed at one every week and I've never had a problem! Why do some of you guys say that these car washed mess up Bimmers? Makes no sense to me. The car is in neutral and gets pushed. Sounds harmless to me.
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      02-03-2012, 07:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinarello Rider View Post
Not helpful to the OP.


OP. Are you pushing on the brake pedal? It took me awhile to get used to it. On my old automatic, i could just drop it into gear. The BMW requires us to hit the brake solidly while shifting. It's really one of the only times we use neutral, so it's not obvious.
I believe i am being quite helpful to be honest.. op has been given sound advice.Now it's up to you to tell him what he chooses to hear.
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      02-03-2012, 07:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PR3CI5N View Post
What in the hell is wrong with an automatic car wash? I get my 2010 E90 335i M-sport washed at one every week and I've never had a problem! Why do some of you guys say that these car washed mess up Bimmers? Makes no sense to me. The car is in neutral and gets pushed. Sounds harmless to me.
I think most people are referring to the paint damage (swirls, scratches, and RIDs) induced by the automatic spinning brushes hacking away during a wash.
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      02-03-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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I think most people are referring to the paint damage (swirls, scratches, and RIDs) induced by the automatic spinning brushes hacking away during a wash.
Ya know what if you have to explain it to these car wash fanatics well...Barking up the wrong tree.These people use steel wool on their rims!!
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      02-03-2012, 09:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Ya know what if you have to explain it to these car wash fanatics well...Barking up the wrong tree.These people use steel wool on their rims!!
You've got a point. Some people will never learn....
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      02-03-2012, 09:17 PM   #15
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Wow... I didn't know that car washes would bring out such strong beliefs!!

Anyways... I tried it out when leaving work today. Evidently, if the car is moving, the auto trans will easily shift between D and N ( I tried this while going about 5 mph) which is what I would expect. I've had cars in the past that have died on me while driving - had to shift to neutral and restart; those were some crappy cars lol. If i am just idling, the car will NOT shift from N to D without the brake being applied. Thank you Pinarello!

As to the car wash furor... I'm going to keep using the car wash during the winter and hand wash/detail/wax/polish, etc during the warmer months. I know the crap that can happen to the paint and wheels, but I can afford to replace a $130 Moteggi wheel if it happens (although I would probably just complain until the car wash replaces it for me). The wash I use is touchless which, while I know does not get the car too clean, does a good job of cleaning off most of the salt from Chicago winters and I've never had a paint issue that I couldn't fix once spring comes along.

Thank you all for the info and opinions!
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      02-03-2012, 10:38 PM   #16
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Marma - you are on a car enthusiast website. Ignorance abounds, and the competition for who is more in love with their cars is prevalent. Welcome to the interwebs!!
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      02-03-2012, 10:54 PM   #17
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Agree, I use a mix of touchless car washes & hand washes in the driveway on the 335 like I have been doing with cars for as long as I can remember.

My truck is in its 14th year of this type of cleaning & still looks pretty good. People can get pretty anal over carcare issues.
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      02-04-2012, 07:13 AM   #18
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maybe its a safeguard for the tranny to prevent someone from revving the engine up in neutral and then slamming it down into D?
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      02-04-2012, 08:07 AM   #19
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I sent my cars though my soft cloth wash literrally hundreds of times. 2x week, 3 years + with my cars, and I when people would ask if their car would get scratched, I would point them to my car which was sitting in the lot, and tell them how many times it's been through the wash, and how often I hand waxed it (3-4 times a year), and often I buffed it (NEVER!!!). They would go look - I told them to take their time - and go through the wash.

Even hand washes "scratch" your paint (more of a mark, than a scratch). The wax you put on after you wash it fills it in and hides it. The next time you wash, the wax protects your paint from your "scratching". ANYTHING that comes in contact with your paint will mark it. I've seen it.

I'm not selling you anything, and since I have no ties to the industry, I've nothing to gain (although I still have close friends in it).
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      02-04-2012, 11:12 AM   #20
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most automatic car washes use brushes and in 34 degree and below, you will get more scratches if you go there because brushes getting harder in cold weather.
I use Exxon Laser Wash, which is touch free. afterward I need to touch up with microfiber towel. even a microfiber towel can scratch your paint, if it is not clean.
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      02-04-2012, 01:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
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most automatic car washes use brushes and in 34 degree and below, you will get more scratches if you go there because brushes getting harder in cold weather.
Not if it's run properly.
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      02-04-2012, 02:17 PM   #22
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most automatic car washes use brushes and in 34 degree and below, you will get more scratches if you go there because brushes getting harder in cold weather.
Not if it's run properly.
how could you know that? the brush picks dirt from one car and same brush touches next car. even a touchless carwash can scratch the paint! depends on quality and filtration of water, because water jet can act like sand blasting!
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