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Old 10-16-2006
herman herman is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 5
Default Car Washes

I appreciate everyone's help regarding my earlier questions about waxing. I just did my final waxing for the year, before we head into winter. With winter arriving soon, I can't wash my car myself, I'm going to have to use a car wash. Do car washes damage your paint or strip the wax that I've applied? I'll only be using the touchless car washes.
Old 10-17-2006
Mama's Boy Mama's Boy is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 526
Default Re: Car Washes

IMO, it depends on the carwash. Many are required to recycle the water, so even though you select what should be a clear spray, or even the shampoo option, you are also getting remnants from earlier cars washings. Not nec. too bad in and of itself, but when you consider the possibility that some places may not maintain the filters properly, or the pressure from the nozzles, and that there is dirt particles flying out at that speed, it is quite possible that some marring can occur, even if you wash/wipe carefully.
Also, sometimes the soap used in touchless washes can be a bit harsh. Since there is not "physical" contact to remove the dirt (as you would have with a regular bucket wash) the soap has to be stronger to try and remove the dirt chemically. This may well shorten the lifespan of your wax.

If possible, find a "pay by the minute" place and do a proper bucket wash. It may cost a bit more, but IMHO, you can do a better job that way.
A person who is aliterate is no better off than one who is illiterate.
Old 10-17-2006
Forrest T.'s Avatar
Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 3,446
Default Re: Car Washes

The facilities I have seen all use a screen type filter. While these catch particulates, they don't do anything for chemicals that are used on the road, and then dissolve in the recycled water of the car wash.

I wrote an article for a trade magazine last year that listed the chemicals commonly used:

a) Sodium Chloride (rock salt) NaCl is the most commonly used due to its low cost. NaCl is not very effective at low temperatures, so other, more aggressive chemicals are used.
b) Calcium Chloride CaCl2 works at lower temperatures, but costs more than NaCl.
c) Magnesium Chloride MgCl2 is the most aggressive of the snow melters, operating at the lowest temperatures, and also the most expensive. It also is very damaging, particularly on automotive glass surfaces. It can etch glass surfaces within several hours. Frequent use of the windshield washers can dilute MgCl2, preventing it from etching the glass. If the glass is etched, use a proper glass polish from a variety of sources, or a quality chrome polish, to remove the damage.
d) Brine (salt water) solutions are also sprayed on the roadways in some areas before snowfall, to prevent the snow from adhering to the roadway. If following a sprayer truck, be sure to flush all areas of your vehicle, particularly the undercarriage, to remove all traces of the solution.

Personally, I'd rather my car not receive a salt water bath.
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