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Car wash - is this that bad?

How often do you all wash your car? When you do, what type of wash do you use? I have been using a soft touch closed cell foam car wash. It cleans great, but o had a couple of people tell me they’re bad to use.

During the summer, I hand wash, but as the temps drop, I use an automatic wash

Has anyone used a foam bristles car wash without any ill effects?

You’ll find that everyone has different preferences.

Weather permitting, I use a soft bristled car wash brush that I flush out well after every use. Keeping the brush clean is an important part of protecting the car’s finish.

I use Maguire’s car wash with lots and lots of eater. Soap only interferes with the bond between the dirt and the surface; water is what washes it away. Lots of water is also essential to protecting the car’s surface.

I never go through an automatic car wash, but when the temperature is too cold to use my home gear, but just above freezing, I use the hand wand. I never use the brush… Lord only knows what prior users have left in those brushes.

I keep my car as clean as possible all year around, and well waxed. To me that’s also critical to keeping the car finish in good shape… and it carries over to winter. The car stays cleaner, does so easier, and snow and ice slide off more easily.

What you use is not as important as keeping the car clean and waxed. Any brand name product will work, as long as you add elbow grease.

My car was 12 years old last June, has never been repainted. And I live in NH, where the climate is tough on a finish. Here’s photos of the results.

Can you please elaborate?

what is it about your area that is bad for a car’s finish?

Is it the amount of rain, road salt, etc. . . . am I missing something?

Looks amazing!

Salt and sand six to nine months of the year, often being stuck behind and having to follow salt & sand trucks on the highway as they spread their joy in a wide swath across the lanes, salt spray from trucks lifting it into a cloud on the highway, these are the biggies. Having to brush the snow and ice from the finish before driving doesn’t help either. In NH the law requires that snow and ice be removed from the roof, hood, etc. so that it doesn’t blow into another car on the highway. Every year a few windshields get smashed on the highway from ice flying off an uncleared vehicle.

We’re expecting a snowstorm this weekend. Yesterday I had to go around a state truck that was “prepping” the highway with a pretreatment. No way to get by it without getting sprayed.

Sincere thanks. I figure since I can’t afford to replace it, I might as well keep it shiny! :grin:

Aha . . . thank you for the clarification

It sounds like many of the problems you’re describing are “man-made” and not due to mother nature itself

To be clear, I’m talking about the “salt and sand” which you mentioned

I use car washes all the time. Was speaking to the owner of a car wash that offered both brush and brushless. He told me the chemicals used in the brushless are harsher than the brushed.
The old nylon bristle washes of the 60s could damage the old enamel finishes, but I have had no problems with modern brushes on modern clearcoat finishes. My vehicles sleep outside in Florida’s salt air and hot sun.

That’s true. But as much as I hate the sand and salt, it saves lives. It’s probably even saved mine. And keeping a good wax job on the car combined with keeping it as clean as possible does help greatly in mitigating the damage.

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Have you noticed any swirls in the paint?

@Jman136 This is a perfect situation for Google . Just put ’ Do car wash brushes damage paint ’ in your search engine and you will find so many articles you should be able to make a decision that way. Several are by detail specialists .

I use a touch-free automatic car wash. I don’t disagree with the comment above that the chemicals are harsh, but I haven’t seen any ill effects so far in the eight or nine years that I keep each car. One thing that I don’t do is to towel-dry the car because I don’t think the car is really as clean as it looks, even though I frequently see others doing that.

Absolutely none.
But I’ve been treating the car this way, all by hand, since it was brand new. I have a buffer, but have never had to use it on this vehicle. I bought the buffer to do repair work on an old pickup I had years ago.

I go to the one that doesn’t bend my front license plate.

Guessing 38 oil changes, and 6 washes and 3 waxes over 14 years and 190k miles, on we go, ps @the_same_mountainbike what are the ribbons for, and do you water the flowerboxes? :wink:

None, and I my car they hood, front and rear bumper covers , and right rear quarter panel have all been refinished, no marks at all. The reason I mentioned refinished is according tho my body shop guy is they have to cure the finish at a lower temperature, around 140 degrees vs factory at, I think he said 160, resulting in a slightly softer finish.

Flashback to 1968, car repainted, 3 months later took it through a car wash, fine brush marks on the entire car. Finishes and car washes have come a long way since then.

I don’t know about the chemicals, that’s just what the car wash owner told me. I use both. If the car has a heavy load of mud I go brushless to avoid the mud/sand/salt mixture from scratching the paint.

How often do you all wash your car?

There is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on the individual.

Up until 30 years ago, I used to wash and wax my cars religiously Then life got busy with things that were more important to me. Since then I wash my car or my wife’s car at most once every five years, and I’ve never regretted it.

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During the spring and summer and early fall. Every Friday after work by hand if I have time, especially if there’s Cars & Coffee the next morning. During the late fall and winter, I’ll take it to a full service car wash every other week or after a snow where they salt the roads… It gets waxed/sealed 3-4 times a year, and clayed at every other waxing

When I wash by hand I typically use a hybrid of the one-bucket method, I have three wash mitts and two buckets. I use on wash mitt exclusively of the lower half of the car, one for the top half of the car, and an extra that I used on the wheels after I’ve used the wheel brush initially. However I do have two buckets (clean water, and another with the car wash in it. As for car soap, I’m a big fan of CG Glossworkz and CG Citrus Wash & Gloss, I’ve also tried Adam’s car soap, and found that to be excellent as well. I usually use a cordless leaf blower to dry the car, and I use a spray wax/detailer afterwards to fortify the existing wax/sealant and for added gloss. Lucas Slick mist is my go-to, but I’ve had good results with Meguairs Ultimate and Griot’s Speed shine.I recently picked up a gallon of CG’ V7 detailer, but haven’t used it yet.

Otherwise I use a local full-service carwash when it’s cold or if I’m pressed for time.

I’m of the opinion that you need friction for an effective car wash, I’ve never used a touchless wash that resulted in a wash that I would deem acceptable. They always leave a film, and since they concentration of chemicals is higher, they often strip off wax/sealant.

If you mean one of those self-serve deals where you put $5 in quarters in for 8 minutes of wash time? I wouldn’t use those. The felt-like belts that the wash tunnel uses at the full service car wash I use has, will leave micro-scratches after repeated use, but some light polishing will take car of that, even a spray deatailer will cover them up. It’s not a big deal IMHO.

Nice catch! The ribbons are because I got tired of hitting my head on the bird feeders when I mow the lawn.
The flowers are plastic. Since they’re pretend flowers, I pretend to water them!

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