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Old 01-22-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
g37brad
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Drive-Thru Car Wash at Gas Station

Hey guys,

Do any of you use a drive thru car wash on your car? Today was the first time ever I tried one, mainly because I was in a rush and the car was covered in dirt and bird doo.

The one I used was at a Mobil gas station and was touch-free and only used water gets and air dried it off. The whole process took about 5-10 minutes and it came out pretty good. Just curious how safe/good this is for the paint/car? I did the most expensive one which included everything for $9.50.

I was quite satisfied with the job it did, but was curious if these were any good. I'd guess they are better than going to a random group of guys doing a handwash with dirty towels, etc.

Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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I seldom take my car through a automated car wash. Black tends to show swirl marks so baddly that I try to hand wash as much as possible. I've used the new automated wash in town a couple of times without it causing problems, but it is a new wash with new soft fibre brushes.

I wouldn't trust the normal gas station car washes. Most of them probably haven't changed out their brushes in years and with the soft paint the Infiniti's have it will only cause swirl marks in the paint.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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Using the touchless wash that you mentioned would certainly be safer than the brush type. My concern would be with the how harsh the detergents may be as they could possibly strip your sealant/wax. Just read an article at Detailed Image that discussed the exact same question. He prewashed the car thru a brushless car wash to get a majority of the grime off then used a Optimum No-Rinse to finish the job. He also recommended applying an sealant/wax afterwords in case it was removed from the initial wash.

There was also a good article on how to use a do-it-yourself car wash and bring your own supplies. Ie. two buckets, wheel brush and cleaner, waffle towels etc....

(If I knew how to link to the articles I would... sorry!)
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Just saw where the article is... in these very threads labeled "Maintenance Wash" by Detailed Image.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:54 AM   #5
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LOL
most expensive $9.50 wash.. that was funny =P

I dunno what detergents they're using... but I'm assuming they rinse your car enough to flush all the detergents from your car. this is why you don't use dishwashing soap... but assuming there's a ton of water going over you car you're probably ok... however you know what they say about washing a hot car...

most car wash places pretty much don't think about dirt carry over or harsh detergents... you're only going to get a worry free wash from a detailer.... generally 35-60 dollars.

reality being, in terms of scratches, if your car has caked on dirt... unless you're doing a foam wash to loosen the dirt and spray off with a low psi water jet you're pretty much going to scratch the car from dragging your mit over your car. you're just going to have to live with it.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:11 AM   #6
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Don't these car washes recycle their dirty water?
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
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I take mine through a drive through all the time. It's brushless and does not have tracks for the tires. Then I go from there and do the drying and touch up etc. I will NOT go through any that uses brushes or puts your car on tracks to go through. I do the cheapest wash and its cost $5.00. I use my own towels (microfiber) and do all the labor. This way it is done to my standards.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:53 PM   #8
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I use the touchless automatics in the winter just to get the salt off the car. Stay away from brushes as a lot of them do recycle their water and rarely clean their brushes.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:02 AM   #9
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only if it touchless
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:46 PM   #10
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no way!! i only wash my car myself. the spinning brushes on these things collect so much dirt. it hitting your paint does more harm then good.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:08 PM   #11
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Only if it is touchfree and does not have the tracks for the wheels. And only in an emergency situation like just ran over a hooker or something.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #12
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The high pressure can be hard on corners and can worsen paint chips. If it's your only option to remove salt, it's better than leaving the salt on.

I would also suggest the touchless machines are better than trusting anyone to "hand wash" or "hand dry" aka scrubbing your dry paint with filthy terry cloth bath towels.

I use the self spray stations to get the salt off the undercarriage, rockers, engine bay, wheel wells, and spray the low pressure pre-soak on my paint. Then I go home and wash with ONR and microfiber.

Quick detail spray or a spray bottle with ONR mixture is also a great pre soak if your car is very dirty or salty.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:29 PM   #13
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$9.50! I pay $11.99 at the local hand car wash.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:48 PM   #14
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my cars too low to enter at any gas station car wash, so i do it at home on my lawn.

hey i get to water the grass while i was the car!

win.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:51 PM   #15
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Multi tasking at it best. lol
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:51 PM
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