{n/a} Car Washes ... how do you keep your clean?

Daleandee

Final Approach
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Dale Andee
Just curious as to the tricks others may use to keep their vehicle(s) clean. Mine are a few years old so I generally wash them by hand as needed. But in considering a new vehicle in the future (if and when the insanity of pricing corrects itself a little) learning some easy ways to keep it clean would be good to know.

Other family members belong to carwash clubs that get 30-50 bucks a month, per car, for unlimited washings (limited to once a day). That's not a bad option but that money would be better spent on airplane fuel.

Other folks I know use a pressure washer, or a pressure device attached to a garden hose, etc.

Any quick tips & ways to get a great wash with less effort?

PS: There is the Tom Sawyer method but no takers around here ... :D
 
When money was flowing it was full service car wash whenever but that was $30 a pop...then would do interior every once in a while and that same car wash has a $12 drive through exterior only with quick wipe down which is great. Now that I am further away from that car wash and have more time a bucket of soapy water, good spray nozzle, and this brush below are the ticket.

There are a lot of gimmicks out there but keep it simple. I have found that a pressure washer alone does not do a great job and you still need a good scrub first. I have had and seen decals and even paint peeled off with pressure washers.

https://www.amazon.com/Carrand-93062-Deluxe-Brush-Extension/dp/B00HFL4CK6/ref=sr_1_5?crid=25EOO2FMDSLYC&keywords=car+wash+brush&qid=1684864844&sprefix=car+wash+brush,aps,264&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/Bon-Aire-Original-Ultimate-Aluminum-Nozzle/dp/B0001L0DFA/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2MZCZAA97DBFR&keywords=fire+hose+garden+nozzle&qid=1684865237&sprefix=fire+hose+garden+nozzle,aps,225&sr=8-5
 
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I wash mine a couple times a year through the Quick Quack. I'm lazy. But I also think you can overwash your car. Several times a month is overkill and will probably damage the paint.
 
But I also think you can overwash your car.

If you are running it through the gas station plastic bristle cheap washes beating the crap outta the finish I would agree but a soft touch drive tough or hand wash regularly on newer cars are not an issue IMO.
 
I generally hand wash about once per month or so. However, if I do something that gets the car filthy (or it rains mud) I'll run it through the car wash. I will run it through a car wash with undercarriage spray immediately after a snow storm has passed and I've been driving out in it in order to get the road salt off ASAP. I only use BRUSHLESS car washes, as I don't trust that any car wash brush doesn't have imbedded sand/grit that will scratch the clear coat all to hell when "cleaning" it. The brushless washes don't likely do as great a job at dirt/grime removal, but I mainly just want it to knock off the major stuff. All vehicles get a hand-wash with Dawn regular dish soap once per year, then synthetic wax applied. I will generally do a polish prior to wax every few years to really remove any imperfections or swirl marks. Rain-X the glass twice per year. Wax the wheels once per year.
 
Soft touch automated car wash. Before I got a monthly membership, the car simply didn't get washed often enough. I think that probably is worse for it than the car wash. Now I run it through whenever it looks dirty, which works out to once a week or so in the summer, more often in winter and slushy rain spitting road slime season. I have yet to see any scratches, swirls, or the other horrors the six hour hand wash with $2K worth of product bros carry on about.
 
Free washes for as long as I own the car from the dealer, with a wax at home before and after winter. There are some swirls in my 17 year old car but the vast majority of scratches are wear n tear. I’m not showing the cars at a museum so I’m not going to sweat a little automatic bristles. Polishing compound exists for when something goes wrong.
 
One of the downsides of buying a nice car.
A couple years ago I went from a beater 14 or 15 year old Silverado to a new Audi. I had long ago stopped washing that truck. Now I feel like I need to keep the car nice as long as possible. It's a chore.
For a while I got a membership at one of those wash tunnels that include DIY vacuum. Decided that was not doing in favors to my paint. I ended up getting the front covered in protection film and the whole car ceramic coated. That was Sept 2021. I keep the car in the garage and only hand wash it. The ceramic coating is still fairly hydrophobic. It makes it almost possible to pressure wash alone, touch free...but not quite. I hit it with a foam cannon and let that work a few minutes, then do a quick contact wash, then pressure rinse....the biggest pain is drying so it doesn't spot.... haven't been able to justify splurging for one of those deionized rinse water rigs.....yet.
Sometimes I miss the old Silverado but it sure is nice to have a nice clean car too....
 
Sometimes when I get service at the dealer they wash the truck. That's the only time mine ever gets washed.
 
I haven’t had time to hand wash in years, so my second choice method is a self-serve car wash, wand only to avoid scratching the finish.
 
If you are running it through the gas station plastic bristle cheap washes beating the crap outta the finish I would agree but a soft touch drive tough or hand wash regularly on newer cars are not an issue IMO.

Road and Track did a test in the 70s. And found that even the plastic bristle car washes did less paint wear than hand washing. The major reason is the constant flow of clean water.
 
Just went from an 03 Taurus to a 19 Honda. I’ve never owned a car newer than 15 years so it’s definitely a treat for me. I just wash the car myself and use a shop vac and interior cleaner.
 
Wax makes all the difference. If you keep your car waxed the water and dirt doesn’t stick to it and you need to wash it far less. Look at spray on waxes as they are super simple and quick to apply. With the newer chemicals and technologies waxing doesn’t take hours of buffing and polishing like it used to.
 
Wax makes all the difference. If you keep your car waxed the water and dirt doesn’t stick to it and you need to wash it far less. Look at spray on waxes as they are super simple and quick to apply. With the newer chemicals and technologies waxing doesn’t take hours of buffing and polishing like it used to.
Are those able to go onto the black plastic parts and rubber gaskets without looking crappy? One of the classic difficulties of hand waxing was not getting the gray swirls on the non-painted components.
 
Are those able to go onto the black plastic parts and rubber gaskets without looking crappy? One of the classic difficulties of hand waxing was not getting the gray swirls on the non-painted components.
Most of the new synthetic waxes and the spray wax/detailer sprays wipe on/off very easily from all surfaces.
 
Suggestions for products?

I've used some of the more boutique stuff a few times (Chemical Bros, Zaino) and they're fine, but honestly I usually just go with Mequiar's Ultimate Liquid Wax. Available at Wally World or your local auto parts store and cheaper. Goes on/off easier than paste wax or old school carnauba waxes. I use a DA polisher to make quick work of putting it on, and it pretty much keeps swirl marks from being a thing. I do recommend doing a wash with Dawn (regular blue Dawn) soap and a clay bar the first time as it really cleans up the paint prior to waxing. I don't generally use the clay bar again on a car unless I'm going to use polish or something more aggressive to restore the clear coat. I use their Ultimate Detailer or Ultimate Quik Wax spray after a normal car wash if I want to make it shine and remove water spots.
 
We have a heavy duty heated pressure washer for 20 years now. I use it for everything around the home including the RV. My wife uses it as much as I do on things outside around our home. She says it is a good workout for her and it is. One thing she does not use for is to wash her car. She goes to the car wash pretty regular and is birthday and xmas gifts I give her each year.
My pickup truck has a gas tank in the bed and the car wash won't let me go through with it anymore, so I wash it myself about every couple weeks. It is a company truck so sometimes I wash it at work with the exact same model pressure washer that we use on our work trucks.

Our pressure washer at home sits outside under a awning year round. It is always plugged in and the water is always on to it. It feeds a hose reel that is mounted right inside the garage door. In the winter I pour 4 gallons of anti freeze in it and circulate it to protect from freezing. Takes just a couple minutes to pump the anti freeze out into a 5 gal jug to use it during the winter and pour the anti freeze back into it when done during the winter. It stays outside at home because I don't have room in my small garage and it has a exhaust flue that can't be used inside when it is burning diesel fuel to make heat.
I have washed stuff like RV, race car trailers, car trailers , engine blocks, trans cases and much more. It will turn water to steam and is great for grease and oil removal without chemicals or solvents.
 
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