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2Addicts | BMW 2-Series forum Technical Topics Cosmetic Maintenance (Wash/Wax/Detailing/Exterior Restoration & Repairs) How bad are machine washes?

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      08-24-2018, 06:34 PM   #1
mattc1176
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How bad are machine washes?

I typically go to a hand wash place but I can only get there on weekends and it takes a while. There's a machine wash place by me that does a good job and has an unlimited wash plan for $35/month and open late during the week.

I have to park outside and my car seems to be a magnet for bird shit and other tree filth.

All I've ever read is that machine washes are terrible for the paint so I've avoided them, but wondering why?

If I move to the machine wash and go weekly, what is the downside long term?
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      08-24-2018, 06:51 PM   #2
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U gotta be very careful with hand wash and the towels they use.

Touch-less machine washes canít get real dirt off the finish. The harshness of the cleaning agents and recycled water ~

Also waterless eco home washes are a nice alternative.

But if thatís your only choice then donít sweat it.

Just saw in consumer reports an article on commercial automated car washes.
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      08-27-2018, 02:01 AM   #3
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Get it washed and use some spray wax so you simply don't have to go back as much. I think you're OK as most are soft touch. Avoid the ones that use bristle brushes, but I haven't seen one of those in a while. It's also better if there are guys with wands doing a pre-wash rinse spray before it goes on the rack.
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      08-27-2018, 10:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattc1176 View Post
I typically go to a hand wash place but I can only get there on weekends and it takes a while. There's a machine wash place by me that does a good job and has an unlimited wash plan for $35/month and open late during the week.

I have to park outside and my car seems to be a magnet for bird shit and other tree filth.

All I've ever read is that machine washes are terrible for the paint so I've avoided them, but wondering why?

If I move to the machine wash and go weekly, what is the downside long term?
You will get spider web scratches all over the place

Do touchless instead
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      10-21-2018, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pikcachu View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattc1176 View Post
I typically go to a hand wash place but I can only get there on weekends and it takes a while. There's a machine wash place by me that does a good job and has an unlimited wash plan for $35/month and open late during the week.

I have to park outside and my car seems to be a magnet for bird shit and other tree filth.

All I've ever read is that machine washes are terrible for the paint so I've avoided them, but wondering why?

If I move to the machine wash and go weekly, what is the downside long term?
You will get spider web scratches all over the place

Do touchless instead
Even touchless washes use the same water and "recycle" it to save money. They filter is most of the time but ask yourself what it takes to filter out 4 or 5 different chemicals from a water source at once.

The thing to remember is you don't know, what you don't know. If you take it anywhere outside of a professional detailer or your personal environment then there's no telling what's going to come into contact with your car.
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      10-24-2018, 05:01 PM   #6
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if you get your car coated (mckees paint coating, optimum gloss coat) and then sealed on top of that you'll find that your car stays cleaner for much longer and you have a sacrificial layer on top to take any abrasion.
and your car will be easier to clean because things will not be as stuck on
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      11-02-2018, 10:32 AM   #7
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This was less than 3 years of use in a drive thru tunnel membership site. After I stripped all the wax off. Before a 2 Stage correction.
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      11-11-2018, 06:54 PM   #8
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Better to drive it dirty than sand blast it - a quickie 2 bucket wash only takes about an hour, with spray wax to finish. Could probably do it in 30-40 if I rushed it (and skipped the wheels).
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      11-16-2018, 08:02 PM   #9
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Better to drive it dirty than sand blast it - a quickie 2 bucket wash only takes about an hour, with spray wax to finish. Could probably do it in 30-40 if I rushed it (and skipped the wheels).
Agreed. My car stays dirty most of the winter. I'll use ONR if it gets too dirty and just wait until it's warm enough to hand wash myself.
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      11-17-2018, 06:46 AM   #10
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the places with brushes or the machines are bad because:

The dude before you that you didnt see drove his work van through it that had sap, rock, salt, dirt , etc.... stuck to it.

Now all of that is stuck to the brushes and your driving your car through it. Where do you think all that shit goes? it sticks to the brushes and than gets spun around your paint.

Never go to one of these spots if you care about your paint.
If you don't give a shit, go there all the time. 2-3 times a week.
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      11-17-2018, 06:11 PM   #11
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It took me 13 hours to correct that damage. My labor rate is $50/hr. when I'm correcting that much damage. The clear coat was very worn down when I measured it but was still able to save it. It's the same Chrysler 300Cs that's at the top of my business page on FB. Link in my sig.

I am replying with this information to give you an idea of the work that gets done for people who end up spending money to damage their car and then again when they want it to look new again.
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      12-14-2018, 06:50 AM   #12
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My BMW dealer has a free car wash that only BMWs can go through. Usually the cars are pretty clean and all the spinners still look brand new so I don't mind going through it when its too cold to hand wash.
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      12-14-2018, 10:15 AM   #13
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Another caution is you don't know what kind of soap they are using. I've historically had 2-3 layers of polymer sealant on my cars. Last winter I would touchless wash my car at least once a month. By the spring, there was no sealant left. I'm going to give a foamer a try so at least I know what soap and what water are touching my car.
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      08-13-2019, 08:58 PM   #14
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my current setup:

2 clean buckets
2 mesh screens
1 glove with soft side microfiber/ rougher side
1 glove with soft microfiber/ clay coating

Start with tires/ wheels: Sonax and a brush/hose. I also have the brush you connect to a hose which is required for wheels like arc8, ex7, even oem.
Next get the two buckets, one clean water, one with soap.
Rinse car, than soap it up doing one section at a time, starting with the roof.
I use the foam gun you connect to the hose, i put in a healthy amount of
Chemical Guys CARBON FLEX VITALIZE WASH (neon green). Why? Because it's a super slick soap that you can use the clay mitt with, and it will give you at least a month of fantastic water beading.
You could also just use the 2 bucket method if you don't have a foam gun.
Once the car is washed and clayed, rinse and do a quick once over.
With car still wet, get out your favorite nano-sealer/wax not quite ceramic coating detailer spray. You could also use the foam gun to apply if you bought a concentrate version.

Take out your drying towels, and wax on wax off. Last thing, if you are brave is to use a leaf blower to get all the nooks and crannies.

Almost done, clean your mirrors and glass with some sprayway. Can re-apply coating from your wet towels to all the glass and wheels. Tire shine is last.

Go crack a brew, pack it up. It's gonna rain tommorow...
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