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Just wondering what you all think about drive-thru car washes. I mean the kind with rollers and brushes and what not. My previous cars have all been used and not that pretty to begin with so I never worried about it, but my '07 3 is so nice and shiny, I'd hate to screw it up. Are those machines safe for the paint and finish? Also what about the radio antenna that doesn't retract-- is that likely to be damaged?
 

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Any car wash that has rollers and brushes can scratch your paint, since the 3's paint scratches so easily I would avoid that type of carwash if you want the finish to stay looking good. Touchless car washes are better, but I believe some types filter and re-use the water which would mean a chance of tiny grit particles being blasted at your car with the high pressure water.

Definitely remove the antenna with either type, just hold it at the end nearest the car and unscrew it beforehand.

Hand washing is the best way to go, but the time and effort involved isn't for everyone.
 

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[quote author=pan2 link=topic=66463.msg1140032#msg1140032 date=1168318915]
...drive-thru car washes. I mean the kind with rollers and brushes and what not.[/quote]

:nono:

Avoid them like the plague, unless you want the swirls & scratches that come along with them. Also, be careful with the touchless washes as they use harsh chemicals to do the cleaning since there's nothing touching the paint. Those chemicals will remove any wax that's on your car. The best wash is obviously a hand wash, but if you don't have access to a hose, check out http://www.autogeek.net/dp-rinseless-four-in-one.html. It makes washing your car a breeze and you don't need a hose.
 

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Oh thats a great product. Just scrub the grit into your car. I just use Mike's car washes during the winter (also getting the underbody wash). They do a great job, IMO. I do it at least once a week to keep the dirt, salt, and other grime off of there. I then put it in my garage, and hand wax it with some NXT, several times during the winter to protect it. When it warms up I can clay bar, lightly hand buff, and the other things I like to do to it when its warm.
 

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[quote author=SportWagN link=topic=66463.msg1181543#msg1181543 date=1170369400]
Oh thats a great product. Just scrub the grit into your car. [/quote]

Do you have any experience with the product or similar products? There's a reason why a lot of the good professional detailers are using new products like this instead of getting the hose out. Obviously, if you're car is really dirty, it's better to do a hand wash where you can use a hose to rinse some of the dirt off first. Do a little research and then come back and tell me how bad it is! I'll get ya started: http://www.autogeekonline.net/ , http://autopia.org/

And here's my car after I washed it with the product you're saying will "just scrub the grit into your car paint": http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/show-n-shine/3359-another-dp-4-1-rinseless-wash-review.html

At least educate yourself on what your criticizing before posting next time!

[quote author=SportWagN link=topic=66463.msg1181543#msg1181543 date=1170369400]
I just use Mike's car washes during the winter (also getting the underbody wash). They do a great job, IMO. I do it at least once a week to keep the dirt, salt, and other grime off of there. I then put it in my garage, and hand wax it with some NXT, several times during the winter to protect it. When it warms up I can clay bar, lightly hand buff, and the other things I like to do to it when its warm. [/quote]

You think Mike's does a great job? Lets think about this. There are brushes inside the tunnel that "wash" hundreds of cars before you take your car through. Those brushes build up with dirt. When you go through there, those brushes drag across your paint on the top side of the car while on the side, the dirty spinning brushes whip against the paint . You honestly think that's good for the paint??? Also, each car, truck, & SUV is a different shape and size. Those brushes don't reach all areas of your car and even in the places they do reach don't always get all of the dirt off of the paint. Also, if you run your car through Mike's or any other car wash like that on a regular basis the paint is going to become filled with light to moderate scratches and swirls. And don't tell me your car doesn't have any swirls or scratches from going through Mike's. If you really believe that, then you're not looking too close. Lastly, you don't know what kind of chemicals they are using to "wash" your car. They very well could remove the wax/sealant on the paint. That's great that you wax after going through Mike's, but not everybody wants to wax their car after each car wash, especially on a weekly basis. Plus, like I said, you're car isn't 100% clean so you're probably rubbing dirt into your paint as you're waxing.

But hey, it's your car and if that's what you like, go for it! I'll take my car with the 4-in-1 wash over your car with the swirl-o-matic wash anyday.
 

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A simple answer is "no" don't use machine washes.

And I also wouldn't have somebody else "hand" wash my car either. The car wash guy at my work will sometimes use paper towels to dry cars... Plus you don't know if the hand car wash people dropped their towell, etc

NXT is good soap. I use a chenille wash mitt about 4 times until it's junk and I throw it away. A high quality sheepskin lasts me maybe 8 washes. Funny I find people thinking chenille mitts last forever and their cars get all swirled from them scrubbing with the mitt.

Rinse the car with extra water if possible before washing.

Use TWO buckets, one for rinsing the mitt thoroughly, the other with soapy water.

Dry with a big super plush boutique cotton towell. (Pay good money at like a bed bath beyond, no walmart towels or detailing 100% cotton terry towels since those actually leave micro scratches)

I also don't like any of the drying gimmicks, and I'd only consider a plush microfiber towell. (Even waffle weave doesn't feel plush enough)

I will use the california water blade on windows though, and maybe on cars that already have swirls.
 

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Fairly educated on the detailing thing. I would put my skills to anyone that uses their car as a daily driver in an area comparible to mine (weather). Yep, I use Mike's. They are large enough, that they maintain their washes/brushes well. Perfect, no....but not much is. Would I have a garage queen that I use for summer rides only go through it. Probably not. Because it will ruin it? NO, because its not a daily driver, its not going to get much more than dust on it. Why would I be that anal with a daily driver Mazda 3?? Swirling on my cars is minimal ( not even anything your normal person would notice). Each spring I remove anything that might resemble swirling with a full day detailing. I do wax frequently, but washing frequently with the amount of snow, salt, and grime build up per week, is necessary! Hand washing is not an option with the temps around here lately, and without a rinse first, I will not use that method. If you enjoy doing it that way, I completely understand. Its a car nut thing. I think I am anal myself, but try to choose wisely where to exert the effort. When I was younger, it didnt matter, but as I get older I have learned to work smarter rather than harder. Will I get more than 90% of people when I resell my cars. Definitely! Do I think that all things being even(except your method of car care compared to mine) that you would get more for your car than mine. Nope. But like I said, its your car, and you should enjoy maintaining how you prefer. :cheers:
 

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im in delaware, so enough salt on the roads here now, fortunately I dont commute to work in the 3, since I have a work truck, but i wouldnt feel comfortable just washing a car without at least rinsing it first.....

I just take to a local car wash, and hose it down....i might try this dp rinseless stuff after I hose the excess crap off....not a terrible price on it though.... :)
 

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I always prefer hand-washing my car, or taking it to one of those do-it-yourself places, but in the dead of winter in Minnesota, my options are limited. I signed up for the $20/month unlimited express washes at Mister, and it's a pretty good deal. It's one of those drive-thru washes, but your car goes on a conveyor and gets pulled through. There's a couple guys at the beginning with hoses to wash off the grit, then you go through the machine (cloth wash, not brushes), and at the end there are a bunch of guys that will do a towel dry. The whole thing is heated, so when you come out your car won't turn into a giant ice block.
 

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I wash my car religiously during the spring/summer/fall by hand. Like twice a week.

But its nearly impossible to wash your car during the winter where I live due to snow and everything, so drive thru places are my only alternative. It may not be the best thing for my clearcoat, but its MUCH better than leaving salt and dirt and grime on there for 4 months.
 

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[quote author=mshu7 link=topic=66463.msg1181577#msg1181577 date=1170370366]
[quote author=SportWagN link=topic=66463.msg1181543#msg1181543 date=1170369400]
Oh thats a great product. Just scrub the grit into your car. [/quote]

Do you have any experience with the product or similar products? There's a reason why a lot of the good professional detailers are using new products like this instead of getting the hose out. Obviously, if you're car is really dirty, it's better to do a hand wash where you can use a hose to rinse some of the dirt off first. Do a little research and then come back and tell me how bad it is! I'll get ya started: http://www.autogeekonline.net/ , http://autopia.org/

And here's my car after I washed it with the product you're saying will "just scrub the grit into your car paint": http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/show-n-shine/3359-another-dp-4-1-rinseless-wash-review.html

At least educate yourself on what your criticizing before posting next time!

+1

I use Optimum rinseless wash and it works great never had an issue. I even use it on very dirty areas like under the side skirts etc... when you do that you just have to make sure that the cloth is very wet and you rise out your microfiber cloth well n scrub it well in the water.. a better solution would be to leave those areas till the last but i go top to bottom one area at a time and never had any issues.. you just have to scrub the cloth together well in the wash solution the cloth may seem dirty and stained but other than that no scratches etc. Fantastic thing.
 
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