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amf6

Are Car Washes Safe?

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I have a new black LS 430 and took it to a newly refurbished, brushless commercial car wash with top of the line equipment. However, I now see swirls in the paint, presumably from the cloth rags the car moves through to clean it. Some friends have told me that all commercial car washes are bad for the car's finish and I should stick to hand washes. Any thoughts?

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thats why i dont go there at all. i always wash it manually. since you washed it there i recommend a full wax on your car to get rid of all the scratches and squirls etc

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Ditto VMF,

You can go thru a spray booth if you want, or a stationary one where the spray revolves around you - but that's it!

Hand Wash - but NEVER in a CIRCULAR MOTION......

See the Detailing Forum - SW03ES is a guru.

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I agree. I took my Lexus through one of the local automatic washes and it peeled off a couple of my pinstripes. :angry: Luckily- they did not come all the way off, so luckily, with a few minutes I was able to put them back on and so far they have stayed- even after I have washed it by hand since then. :)

I take my other cars through there with no problems, but they are lighter colored cars. I would NEVER take a NEW and/or dark colored (especially black) car through one. When I took my old 1995 Concorde through there- sometimes the lower part of the front frame would rub on something- like a metal to metal sound. :o and it also pulled off a piece of loose trim that I had to re-glue. :rolleyes: . I did take my Buick through there a while back and it must not have been lined up properly, as it was bumping through there for about 5 seconds. I vowed at that time- I would never take the Lexus through there, because I never had- until I decided to a couple of weeks ago- when it ripped the pinstripes loose.

I would recommend washing it by hand.

Also- like VMF said- I would give the car a good waxing.

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i had a 93 concorde 3.5 white color. paint was so strong that i never had to do wax and always washed it in the auto car wash and it was still shining.

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# 1 the darker the color the more easily you are going to notice paint blemishes

# 2 Automatic Brushless washes use such high preassure that they will strip parts of your car off (pinstripes. molding, even paint (I have had more than one rock chip double or triple in size in one of these things.)

# 3 Brushless washes will scratch finishes if there is enough grit on your car

# 4 Touch washes will of course also damage paint

# 5 Many cars have a glaze put on as a final coat after painting/clearing. On any paint job that needs a hand touchup with a wheel to decrease orange peel or other unavoidable blemishes, this will leave very light swirl like marks that need to be filled with a glaze. A glaze can be washed off a car with exuberant high solvant washes (read car wash)

# 6 You can also really :censored: up paint with hand washing. Those detailers that get big bucks to wash J. Lenno's cars are a world apart from us and hold on to many trade secrets.

# 7 Some people notice these things more than others

# 8 Some manufacturers use better softer/harder/brittle/resilient paint. German folks use thick coats of Glasurit paint and clear which is hard to apply nice, but a hardcore paint. I haven't found what lexus uses yet but from the way the factory finishes are glass smooth it is probably a lower solid clear, that is easier to spray. Ford uses Dupont (I believe) It is hard to spray smooth (just look at a ford finish) but is very resilient. I would like to know what cadilac uses because it the colors always look sweet, and shiney to me even though close up the paint jobs don't look that great.

Ramble--Ramble--Ramble :P

basher_boy

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Couple holes in your logic

First of all everything you said about automatic washes is true.

However, the "technique" and trade secrets you speak of with hand washing are simple. Use a high quality mitt that wont scratch. Use lots of water, use good quality 100% terry towels or Microfiber to dry. Touch the car as little as possible. Its not hard at all to achieve a great looking finish it just takes patience and a little knowhow. Check out all the detailing tutorials at www.lexuscarcare.com

And proper polishing wont require a glaze afterwards. A glaze hides imperfections. If you're polishing correctly and using the proper products, the paint will look perfect when you're done. A glaze is just oil, and in 2-3 carwashes (even by hand) the glaze will be gone. Its "Automotive Makeup".

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I would like to know what cadilac uses because it the colors always look sweet, and shiney to me even though close up the paint jobs don't look that great.

I know. That White Diamond(or something like that) color they use is gorgeous; however, a Caddy is the last car I would buy :P .

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And proper polishing wont require a glaze afterwards. A glaze hides imperfections. If you're polishing correctly and using the proper products, the paint will look perfect when you're done. A glaze is just oil, and in 2-3 carwashes (even by hand) the glaze will be gone. Its "Automotive Makeup".

SW03ES:

Don't you apply the glazing during the second stage? :)

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That all depends on the terminology you're using lol. Not all polishes are glazes. A glaze does nothing perminant to the paint. If you polish correctly than you shouldnt have any micro-marring left behind to cover with a pure glaze.

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SW03ES, I knew after I posted that I would draw your ire. I just don't want people to think that by hand washing their car they will never scratch it, or damage the paint. Honestly every time you wash a car you will damage the finish to some extent no matter who you are. The key is to minimize the damage through technique and experience. Little things like making sure your buckets are 100% clean, using soft water that is poured on rather than sprayed, using natural lambs wool wash mitts, not using harsh detergents, using drying towels made of a high pile 100% cotton (no polyester stitching), 100% clean towels with no fabric softener (best if hung to dry), start from the cleanest part of the car to the dirtiest, take into account the age of the paint, the type of paint (clear, urethane, lacquer) etc. etc. etc.

In the real world keeping a daily driver clean and pretty to the point that some people would like would be more than a full time job, so it is important for people to realize that they will have to decide on some compromises.

I don't care how perfect a finish on a car you put in front of me there are always imperfections. People look at my car and can not believe that it is a 13 year old car, but I think how can you not-just take a look at it.

Finally alot of people do use glaze to hide imperfections, from car dealers, to auto body shops. You are correct in saying when done "correctly" polishing will leave no imperfections. In this day and age I rarely see anyone do the best job they can do. Usually a "good enough" job is all that is needed, and all that is done.

Things that some people take for granted, as easy and with out challenge are for others a complete mystery. You are defiantly a master of car finishes and care, and you got that way after years of collecting knowledge and experience. I would certainly defer to you for this information. It is not that others can not learn from you, but they must know that it is not as simple as getting a power washer, a bucket and a rag to go clean a nice shiny black car with road salt all over it.

There is also a chasm between reading how to do something on a msg board, or in a book, or being told how to do something, and actually doing it.

ramble--ramble--ramble:P

basher_boy

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Oh sure, no car is 100% perfect, but I still disagree with the statement that every time you wash your car you're damaging it in some way thats just not the case if you're careful and methodical. I know people with black cars that are so good at washing them they never have to polish out any microswirling or marring. *I* am not that good, and I do get micromarring that has to be removed. Removing it isn't a big deal though if you have the right equipment and knowledge.

If detailing were second nature then people wouldn't make a living doing it. I firmly believe though that anyone who wants to devote the time to it and learn how to take care of their car properly can keep it to a point where to the average person sees it as flawless (my family was just discussing how I care for cars over Christmas , and my dad was boasting to my Uncle about how my car has no marks on it whatsoever, I know the imperfections are there, but they're well hidden in a good glossy finish) so much happens to a daily driver though that its impossible to avoid wear.

Armed with the right information as a starting point I think people can achieve great results.

And I'm hardly a master at car care, I'm still learning ;)

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Basher Boy, you hit the nail on the head. Most people, even those who detail cars, couldn't care less. That is why I always clean my own cars. My neighbors think I'm nuts the time I spend cleaning my vehicles. Mine look great, their's look like crap!

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