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      08-06-2014, 01:53 PM   #1
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Washing and waxing advice for the busy?

I just took delivery of my car a few days ago, and it's almost ready for its first wash.

With my previous car (an E90 328i), I would take it to the local do-it-yourself car wash usually once a month and get it professionally detailed twice a year. I would also do spot cleanings with detailing spray or distilled water for bird splatters and the like.

When washing my car, I eventually found myself using only the wheel/tire cleaner, pre-wash, wash, and spot-free rinse. I avoided the foaming brush (because it seemed to leave surface scratches despite very soft feeling bristles) and the wax setting (because I was afraid it would ruin the trim). I was also careful to hold the hose at as much of a distance as possible in the wash mode, since it's pretty high pressure.

I'd like to continue to wash my car at the same place, but I'm curious whether I really need to avoid the wax mode. Given that it's clearly very diluted, how likely would it be to damage the trim?

If it is too risky, I was thinking Protect All might be a good alternative. It looks like it would allow me to quickly apply wax between detailings, just spray on and dry off. Do you have any experience with this product?

Any other advice? I know myself, and I'm never going to take the time to wash my car every week (at least once the new car excitement wears off ), but I do want to protect my investment and make sure the finish stays in good shape.
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      08-06-2014, 02:47 PM   #2
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Check around at my old condo there was a hand car wash place across the street that had a special $10 before 10AM, there's gotta be someplace like that near you and if you're driving someplace to wash it anyway might as well just have someone else do it. For that price it's not even worth doing yourself at home by the time you buy all the shit. Sonax alone is probably $2-3 per use. I used to do that then wax myself a few times a year.
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      08-06-2014, 03:02 PM   #3
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The problem with self-serve car washes:
Recycled-water (maybe not bad environmentally but you never know how well the system works)
Any common brushes are contaminated with every other users dirt.

The chemicals and solutions dispensed by the car-wash machines are of questionable quality; to harsh, diluted, contaminated.

With two micro-fiber wash towels, one drying cloth, two buckets and car-wash detergent you don't even need a hose to give your car a quick wash that is probably healthier for your finish then any automated or self-serve establishment.
If having someone else do it is a must , maybe a dealer is the way to go, fees or free try for only hand washing.
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      08-06-2014, 04:25 PM   #4
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I do the clear sealant protective finish from my detailer once a year. Bucket wash once a month or so and spray it down with Wax and Wash detailer when drying. Always beads and looks pretty good. In the dead of Winter I do the brushless spray washes and get my annual Spring detail after that.
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      08-07-2014, 12:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notime View Post
The problem with self-serve car washes:
Recycled-water (maybe not bad environmentally but you never know how well the system works)
Any common brushes are contaminated with every other users dirt.

The chemicals and solutions dispensed by the car-wash machines are of questionable quality; to harsh, diluted, contaminated.

With two micro-fiber wash towels, one drying cloth, two buckets and car-wash detergent you don't even need a hose to give your car a quick wash that is probably healthier for your finish then any automated or self-serve establishment.
If having someone else do it is a must , maybe a dealer is the way to go, fees or free try for only hand washing.
I once asked the owner of the car wash about water recycling, and he told me that the only water that gets recycled is the de-ionized water used for the "spot free rinse" (probably due to simple economics).

I have no idea if the detergents, waxes, etc. are good quality, though. You're probably right that they are not top-notch.

I agree that hand washing at home would definitely be the healthiest for the finish. Maybe I'll give your bucket idea a try, since dealing with the hose at my condo is a big hassle (it doesn't reach where I park my car, so I have to hook up an extension hose, which I keep in the garage).

Ultimately, I have to balance convenience with what's best for my car.

Thanks for the advice!
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      08-07-2014, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Check around at my old condo there was a hand car wash place across the street that had a special $10 before 10AM, there's gotta be someplace like that near you and if you're driving someplace to wash it anyway might as well just have someone else do it. For that price it's not even worth doing yourself at home by the time you buy all the shit. Sonax alone is probably $2-3 per use. I used to do that then wax myself a few times a year.
Good idea, thanks. There is a place nearby I could try, but I'm not sure how good they are. I should Yelp to see which places get the best ratings.
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      08-07-2014, 07:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal
Quote:
Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Check around at my old condo there was a hand car wash place across the street that had a special $10 before 10AM, there's gotta be someplace like that near you and if you're driving someplace to wash it anyway might as well just have someone else do it. For that price it's not even worth doing yourself at home by the time you buy all the shit. Sonax alone is probably $2-3 per use. I used to do that then wax myself a few times a year.
Good idea, thanks. There is a place nearby I could try, but I'm not sure how good they are. I should Yelp to see which places get the best ratings.
If you're really that concerned about the finish, and it sounds like you're more on the sane side than most of us, spend a few bucks on some drying towels and leave them in your trunk. My place was really good but most I've seen that are questionable that's the weak link. Yeah you'll have to throw them in the wash yourself but at least you'll know if they're using your towels you won't get micro scratches from something not totally clean.
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      08-07-2014, 07:30 AM   #8
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Other thing to keep in mind is our cars aren't that big and modern waxes are pretty damn easy to apply. Do a coat once a month, it will be less than 30 mins of your time, and you'll have a layer of protection.

If you're really pressed for time do the hood and trunk lid only. The flat surfaces take the most abuse.
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      08-07-2014, 10:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Other thing to keep in mind is our cars aren't that big and modern waxes are pretty damn easy to apply. Do a coat once a month, it will be less than 30 mins of your time, and you'll have a layer of protection.

If you're really pressed for time do the hood and trunk lid only. The flat surfaces take the most abuse.
+1

2-Series is super fast to wash. I had an X5 before this and it was much more of a chore.
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      08-07-2014, 01:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bimmerbuff
Quote:
Originally Posted by BEM-S4 View Post
Other thing to keep in mind is our cars aren't that big and modern waxes are pretty damn easy to apply. Do a coat once a month, it will be less than 30 mins of your time, and you'll have a layer of protection.

If you're really pressed for time do the hood and trunk lid only. The flat surfaces take the most abuse.
+1

2-Series is super fast to wash. I had an X5 before this and it was much more of a chore.
It's faster than my 2006 330 convertible too. No weird creases and lines to hold water drying is a breeze. I'd say start to finish 10 mins wheels, 10 mins car, 10 mins dry.
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      08-07-2014, 03:56 PM   #11
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Meguiars quick wax is a great product as well. Helps to maintain thickness in between real detailing.

The problem is my car is always getting dirty ( i can rarely get it home without it getting dirty).

Streets arent cleaned until 4 months after winter, alley is dirt, trees spray sap everywhere. Its a losing battle.

Now our M6 in Phoenix, i could leave that outside for a year and it wouldn't get as dirty as my daily driving around Calgary for a day...
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      08-07-2014, 07:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killramos
Meguiars quick wax is a great product as well. Helps to maintain thickness in between real detailing.

The problem is my car is always getting dirty ( i can rarely get it home without it getting dirty).

Streets arent cleaned until 4 months after winter, alley is dirt, trees spray sap everywhere. Its a losing battle.

Now our M6 in Phoenix, i could leave that outside for a year and it wouldn't get as dirty as my daily driving around Calgary for a day...
Even just 30 seconds hosing off the salt and grime helps. Not ideal but better than letting that shit sit on the finish for weeks. The Meguire helps, Zymbol makes a good one too.

Basically doing anything is better than nothing.
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      08-07-2014, 09:54 PM   #13
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I use Groit's products. The have great wax, leather conditioner, and car wash soap. Their wax will still bead up water six months after application.
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      08-08-2014, 03:25 AM   #14
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I use Groit's products. The have great wax, leather conditioner, and car wash soap. Their wax will still bead up water six months after application.
+1
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      08-08-2014, 09:47 AM   #15
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Good advice, folks. It's interesting that no one suggested CQuartz or Opticoat as options (even if pricey options. . .). I'm considering getting one or the other done, but I infer from this thread that maybe it's not worth it and I should just wax?
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      08-08-2014, 04:22 PM   #16
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It seemed you have a garage but could not get the hose to reach without extensions.

IMHO, your best bet is get a couple of good layers of prime paste wax on. Then as mentioned above, and I call them "sacrifice barriers" use a quality spray on wax. I use Griots, after many years of McGuires, but any of the quality spray on waxes will do. Build some layers on top your main wax. These will take the rain, dirt and whatever when you have to wash or wipe car off after for ex: a rainy day. Just walk around, quickly spray with Speed Shine or your product, and wipe car down with a nice quality LARGE rain towel. Now car is clean after the rain, and not allowed to dry with road film and you added another sacrifice barrier as you dry the car.

If you can't wash easily, use one of the Spray on Washes. It lubricates and with several good...I mean quality mircofibers, you can dry the car and remove some serious road film. It will get to that point on a bad day after a rainy morning but might will dry by evening drive time. Again if its a heavy film, hit it with Spray on Wash product, and gently wipe it down. Really reduces the need for washing each week. If its just wet and I get home, again, I hit with the speed shine product and wipe'er down for the evening. Folks used to have to feed and brush a good horse when they got in... I might as well do it for 322 of them.

Something else I personally do...and will get flamed for it LOL..but I have 2 quality dusters that keep very clean--washed and vacuumed. After being out on any day, and especially a hot day, I lightly dust car off, thus not allowing the "dusties" to settle into the hot wax, which cools over night, and trapping the peskies. This keeps the surface smooth without that.."[I][I]hey I clayed and waxed last Saturday and now it feels rough again" speech.

Spraying the "barrier" shine product again, also takes off what I call the "air bumps"...those little bumps that settle on the surface here and I can't even see--but can feel them. The Griots speed shine washes them away, and I have added another sacrifice barrier. Sorry for long post...thot this might help. I can't wash each week either...but the car is smooth, and clean all the time.

Last edited by zkeeper; 08-08-2014 at 04:27 PM..
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      08-08-2014, 04:44 PM   #17
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That's all good advice. Keep in mind too there's a difference between concours clean and everyday maintenance. In 30 mins once a week you can eliminate most anything that will cause permanent damage ie bird shit, salt, brake dust. Your car won't be perfect but with a basic regimen you can get it back to perfect pretty easily with a couple of hours once a season.
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      08-08-2014, 05:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zkeeper View Post
It seemed you have a garage but could not get the hose to reach without extensions.

IMHO, your best bet is get a couple of good layers of prime paste wax on. Then as mentioned above, and I call them "sacrifice barriers" use a quality spray on wax. I use Griots, after many years of McGuires, but any of the quality spray on waxes will do. Build some layers on top your main wax. These will take the rain, dirt and whatever when you have to wash or wipe car off after for ex: a rainy day. Just walk around, quickly spray with Speed Shine or your product, and wipe car down with a nice quality LARGE rain towel. Now car is clean after the rain, and not allowed to dry with road film and you added another sacrifice barrier as you dry the car.

If you can't wash easily, use one of the Spray on Washes. It lubricates and with several good...I mean quality mircofibers, you can dry the car and remove some serious road film. It will get to that point on a bad day after a rainy morning but might will dry by evening drive time. Again if its a heavy film, hit it with Spray on Wash product, and gently wipe it down. Really reduces the need for washing each week. If its just wet and I get home, again, I hit with the speed shine product and wipe'er down for the evening. Folks used to have to feed and brush a good horse when they got in... I might as well do it for 322 of them.

Something else I personally do...and will get flamed for it LOL..but I have 2 quality dusters that keep very clean--washed and vacuumed. After being out on any day, and especially a hot day, I lightly dust car off, thus not allowing the "dusties" to settle into the hot wax, which cools over night, and trapping the peskies. This keeps the surface smooth without that.."[I][I]hey I clayed and waxed last Saturday and now it feels rough again" speech.

Spraying the "barrier" shine product again, also takes off what I call the "air bumps"...those little bumps that settle on the surface here and I can't even see--but can feel them. The Griots speed shine washes them away, and I have added another sacrifice barrier. Sorry for long post...thot this might help. I can't wash each week either...but the car is smooth, and clean all the time.
Great post! Thank you for including so much detail.

Living in San Diego, there really isn't much rain, particularly in the summer, and I don't often have issues with bug splatters and tree sap. What I do have to deal with is lots of pollen, bee goop, and bird splatters. There is no escape from trees and bushes at my work parking lot, so after a few days, the car is already covered with lots of these contaminants. And they are somewhat hard to remove. They often remain even after a fairly thorough car wash. I need something quick and safe to deal with this problem. For daily removal of this stuff, would you recommend Speed Shine or Spray-On Wash (or something else)? And what kind of cloth should I use to wipe it down with? Just a standard microfiber cloth from the auto parts store?

I would have thought there was a good layer of wax on the car from the factory, but from your first paragraph, it sounds like this may not be the case. How much wax is on the car when it's brand new?
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      08-08-2014, 06:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danimal View Post
Great post! Thank you for including so much detail.

Living in San Diego, there really isn't much rain, particularly in the summer, and I don't often have issues with bug splatters and tree sap. What I do have to deal with is lots of pollen, bee goop, and bird splatters. There is no escape from trees and bushes at my work parking lot, so after a few days, the car is already covered with lots of these contaminants. And they are somewhat hard to remove. They often remain even after a fairly thorough car wash. I need something quick and safe to deal with this problem. For daily removal of this stuff, would you recommend Speed Shine or Spray-On Wash (or something else)? And what kind of cloth should I use to wipe it down with? Just a standard microfiber cloth from the auto parts store?

I would have thought there was a good layer of wax on the car from the factory, but from your first paragraph, it sounds like this may not be the case. How much wax is on the car when it's brand new?
The amount of wax from when the car is new is almost none. Some of the dealers will detail the car before delivery but most won't. I waxed my M235i within the fist couple of weeks after getting it. I also put leather conditioner on the seats. I am also a fan of Groit's products and use them pretty much exclusively. The speed shine works great to get off bird dropping and other problems if you get to them the same day. I also use Groit microfiber cleaning towels. They are much softer than the auto part store towels.
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      08-08-2014, 08:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
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+1
+2 and you can pick up the stuff on the M car day in September http://www.bmwpugetsound.com/events/...iots-garage-2/
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      08-08-2014, 08:46 PM   #21
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+2 and you can pick up the stuff on the M car day in September http://www.bmwpugetsound.com/events/...iots-garage-2/
Yes, and they usually discount their products for the club on that day.
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      08-10-2014, 02:54 PM   #22
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Above are both correct on wax from factory. The car is usually washed and maybe "spray-waxed" by dealer for quickest and cheapest delivery. It may shine when we pick them up, but it's not done to last.

Clay the car, and get 2-3 layers of paste on it before too much longer. As you are under the conditions you mentioned in SanD, you need the extra protection from bird acid & trees. Those can ruin top coat quickly. Carry at least some very soft old cotton cloth with a permanent small spray bottle in the boot, to remove such things even before heading home. Yes, the Speed Shine we have mentioned works great--but then so does a small spray bottle of water and just a drop or two of quality car wash added as a surfactant.

Personally, I just won't let that stuff sit on the paint over night. Not being anal at all...I just hate seeing a decent car finish ruined.

BTW--there is a difference in microfibers. Generally the auto stores are OK, but often shrink up at edges due to washing & are not as soft as better brands. BUT they usually beat old bath towels--especially the poly blends. BUT getting debris off the paint by any cloth is preferable to leaving those things on the paint.
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