Would you rather (car wash/detail)

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2m2037
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Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by 2m2037 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:58 pm

Would you rather:

1. Pay $25/month for an unlimited subscription to a exterior machine car wash + hand dry (we currently subscribe to this)
Considerations -
We have a black car and after a year of going through this, we can see swirl marks at certain angles in the light. From far it looks gorgeous and new.
Convenience. Bird [droppings --admin LadyGeek] on the car? Drive through. Tree sap on the windshield? Drive through. The location of the car wash is on the way to work for me so it only takes 5 minutes of my time sitting on the conveyor belt. Sometimes, if it's rainy during the week, I drive through everyday.
Drying a full sized sedan sucks. Plus we don't have a garage so if I wash the car myself, it's done early morning/late afternoon.

OR

2. Pay for a full, all-inclusive car wash, polish, wax, interior vacuum etc. estimate this would cost around $200-$250
Considerations -
Hopefully this will get rid of the swirl marks.
If the car is properly waxed, it doesn't need to be washed as often.
The interior is kept relatively clean. Something that I hate trying to clean is the grime off the interior of the windows, front/rear windscreen so hopefully this will be taken care of as well.

OR

3. Pay $15 each time for a hand car wash and dry.

Open to suggestions other than the above too. A dirty car is not an option. :sharebeer

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vinvedi
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by vinvedi » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:37 pm

Option A- Continue with 1 and add 2 yearly
Option B- Get 2 done yearly and opt for 3 monthly
Option C- Do 2 more often and then some self-cleaning in between
Option D - Sell black car and buy a more neutral metallic tone that hides dirt, and continue with 1
Option E - Dump the car ownership for Uber and/or Lyft
Option F - Bike to work if possible

Ndop
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Ndop » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:20 pm

When properly washed and waxed, a black car is simply stunning. But it takes a lot of maintenance.

A typical friction wash will damage the paint, causing the swirls. Touchless wash is better, but it doesn't clean as well and can still damage the paint because they usually use dirty recycled water. The two bucket hand wash method is best but expensive. A poorly done hand wash can do a lot of damage to the paint.

When I had a nice car, I would occasionally pay $$$ for a proper hand wash and wax. In between those expensive detailing jobs, for a light wash I would take the car to a coin operated car wash, spray off any visible dirt with high pressure water, and then rinse with the spot free low pressure water option. I would not use soap, because soap would strip off the wax. But all of this took up a lot of my time and money. I've been much happier ever since I sold the car, got a Prius, and never wash my car anymore.

OP, I recommend paying for a nice detailing job, then see how far you get after that with touchless car washes. I think a $15 hand wash is too cheap, and they will probably damage your paint.

Dottie57
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:36 pm

I've been seeing some beautiful black cars with chrome trim lately. Guess black willnot be the color of my next car.

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Alexa9
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:44 pm

Never buy a black car haha. I wash my silver or white vehicle once a month myself, polish once a year.
If I had a black car, I would get the unlimited washes. They do look so nice when clean but need to wash several times a week. If you travel on dirt roads it is not worth it.

minimalistmarc
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by minimalistmarc » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:52 pm

I have a black car and never wash it.

deikel
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by deikel » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:52 pm

First world problem...only in America....

If you are so into cars, than I would suggest to take the time and actually do it yourself - otherwise what was the point of having such a car. Showing off in da hood ?

Depending on where you reside a home pressure washer might be the tool for regular, but mild cleans, followed with occasional deep clean - full package. Some neighborhood kids might do that for little money if you provide the materials.
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tim1999
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by tim1999 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:57 pm

Automatic machine carwash = guaranteed swirl marks/scratches, pretty much, and that is why I refuse to use them. For me it's hand wash it myself or nothing.

lightheir
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by lightheir » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:00 pm

Unfortunately, as mentioned ,the automatic car wash causes the swirl marks.

Can't beat the convenience though - if I were you, I'd probably just live with the swirl marks and enjoy the fact that you have easy access to a car wash so your car never gets particularly dirty.

I wash my own car about every 4-5 weeks, mainly because it's faster for me than driving the 15 mins each way to a car wash.

Swirls can be removed with correct use of a auto polisher (careful) or orbital buffer (more expensive but safer on the finish), or you can pay a detailing shop $100-$500+ dollars to do it for you.

JBTX
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by JBTX » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:26 pm

Probably go through basic car wash once ever 2-3'months when it is so dirty if you touch it that you have to wash your hands. Pretty much never wax it. Haven't waxed car in many years. I really question if Wax does any good and possibly wears down the paint faster. Waxed them frquently when younger and towards the end of life the paint was always oxidized and coming off. Now never do that and dont have any issues. However having garage has made a huge difference.

inbox788
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by inbox788 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:07 am

Wash your own car? :shock:

You can use soap and water if that's accessible and allowed or search out or ask about waterless products.

Washing isn't the only issue. Depending on what soaps you use (i.e. avoid dishwashing soap and car wash soaps that strip off wax), it might matter more how often you wax. What is your goal for time, effort and cost? Pick one or two to optimize.

Do you want your car clean? $
Do you want a nice shine? $$
Do you want a deep shine? $$$
Do you want a mirror like shine? $$$$

Not so dirty car is fine with me, so I hose off once in a while. I try to wash quarterly and wax once a year. Sometimes more, other times less.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:04 am

Silver cars are awesome at hiding the fact that they're dirty. :D

With all the crap you're getting on your car......do you park in a garage? If not, there's the solution. Build a garage.

I have the discounted book of car wash coupons in my Wrangler. I think it was last washed in May or June and looks fine (parked in a garage). It's white. Wife's maroon Crosstrek is mostly left outside and always looks like crap.

It's a matter of time and/or money. I used to show cars and also would spend entire weekends, every weekend either showing or cleaning the car. Then autocross, track and kids came and now I almost never wash any of the cars.
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runner3081
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by runner3081 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:12 am

I agree with the silver comment, we get my wife's car washed no more than 1-2 times per year, almost always looks clean.

The best way would be to do this yourself. For about $175, one-time, you can buy a Porter Cable 7424xp unit, a clay bar, a polish, car wash and sealant.

Wash it as often as you want and then every 6-months, use the clay bar, polish and sealant (can also use paint correction for swirls) and it will look like a new car.

I understand your need for a clean car. I was the guy who washed his car every week, rain or shine, by hand. However, about 5-years ago after getting frustrated with a rain the day after a wash, I said "screw it" and don't worry about it anymore. Sold the polisher and now take my car through the wash once every 2 years or so.

Life is so much more relaxing now, I don't even think about it or waste money on "presenting" a clean car. I wasn't exactly sure who I was trying to impress with a clean car, haha.

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Raymond
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Raymond » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 am

JBTX wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:26 pm
Probably go through basic car wash once ever 2-3'months when it is so dirty if you touch it that you have to wash your hands. Pretty much never wax it. Haven't waxed car in many years. I really question if Wax does any good and possibly wears down the paint faster. Waxed them frquently when younger and towards the end of life the paint was always oxidized and coming off. Now never do that and dont have any issues. However having garage has made a huge difference.
(emphasis added)

You solved your own problem - unless you were applying acid to your cars with a rotary buffer (different from a gentler random orbital polisher) when you were younger, I can't see how waxing your car would damage it - think of wax as sunscreen for the paint.

Just like skin, paint ages more rapidly with ultraviolet (UV) exposure - now that you're garaging your current car, the paint looks a lot better even without waxing.

If you want to, you might consider at least a spray wax (easier to apply, no buffing afterwards, but not as durable as paste wax) for some extra protection.

---

OP,

Exchange your black car for a silver one? :P

If the swirls really bother you, and you don't want to do it yourself, I would go with vinvedi's option B - get the detail job done once a year, and the hand car wash every month.

However, that $15 seems pretty low for a hand car wash - are they using clean microfiber towels to wash and dry?

If you see them using old T-shirts or bath towels along with Dawn soap, run far, far away.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

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Kenkat
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Kenkat » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:18 am

Clear coat paint now largely serves as the protective layer, eliminating the old days of using a rubbing compound to remove oxidation and wax to then protect the paint. However, what wax still does well is removing surface grime, tar, etc. that washing does not remove, so in that respect, the occasional wax application will improve the overall appearance. If you really want it to shine, you can use a clay bar on it prior to waxing. This will give results similar to a good detail.

JBTX
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by JBTX » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:47 pm

Raymond wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 am
JBTX wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:26 pm
Probably go through basic car wash once ever 2-3'months when it is so dirty if you touch it that you have to wash your hands. Pretty much never wax it. Haven't waxed car in many years. I really question if Wax does any good and possibly wears down the paint faster. Waxed them frquently when younger and towards the end of life the paint was always oxidized and coming off. Now never do that and dont have any issues. However having garage has made a huge difference.
(emphasis added)

You solved your own problem - unless you were applying acid to your cars with a rotary buffer (different from a gentler random orbital polisher) when you were younger, I can't see how waxing your car would damage it - think of wax as sunscreen for the paint.

Just like skin, paint ages more rapidly with ultraviolet (UV) exposure - now that you're garaging your current car, the paint looks a lot better even without waxing.

If you want to, you might consider at least a spray wax (easier to apply, no buffing afterwards, but not as durable as paste wax) for some extra protection.

---

OP,

Exchange your black car for a silver one? :P

If the swirls really bother you, and you don't want to do it yourself, I would go with vinvedi's option B - get the detail job done once a year, and the hand car wash every month.

However, that $15 seems pretty low for a hand car wash - are they using clean microfiber towels to wash and dry?

If you see them using old T-shirts or bath towels along with Dawn soap, run far, far away.

I figured as much. With our cars now if you simply wash them they look very good. The benefit of having your car lined with a layer of filth inside and out is when you do wash it seems like you have a new car. :mrgreen:

kjvmartin
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:40 pm

I live in a salted roads state and feel it necessary to get the salt off fairly often in the winter. Good cleaning of the wheel wells and undercarriage is helpful - my dad used to run a detailing business. Perhaps it's not necessary, but it's ingrained in my behavior.

In the summer, or when the roads are pretty good, I wash our 2 cars 1x a month each for $20 a month. There's a detailing place nearby (hires mostly felons) that does a pretty good job for $60/car and I do that once a year and that includes the exterior wash as well. Does not include a wax job.

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midareff
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by midareff » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:48 pm

My choice is hand wash and dry. It's been that way since 1998 and I have a supplier who has consistently done a great job including door and trunk wells. My ride is garaged and never sees daily sun or rain unless we are out so it is not needed frequently, and it's been $20 for a long time, and worth it. I'm pretty fanatical about it.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by jabberwockOG » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:40 pm

Automated car washes will scratch and significantly damage your paint job over time.

I hand wash our cars every 3-4 weeks on average. Our cars are garaged and stay clean for a long time in our gentle climate and relatively clean air small town environment.

To wash I use an inexpensive commercial grade spray foamer (filled with Turlewax car wash concentrate sold at Costco) and wash and dry with clean microfiber towels. I put on a high quality wax twice a year and clay bar every 2-3 years.

capsaicinguy
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by capsaicinguy » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:24 pm

I used to detail cars on the side. I would recommend you use any touchless carwash for normal everyday washing unless you can do it yourself, I like the meguires gold class car wash if you do. Get it detailed every couple years and right before you sell it. The automatic carwashes put tons of swirls in the clear coat, even touchless. A good detail IMO for exterior needs to be wash, CLAYBAR all surfaces including the glass, buff out, and paint sealant (not wax for the first coat after the buff) minimum. Black looks like hell until it is freshly detailed but it is the easiest to see the difference a true detail can do, so I always liked doing black. White/silver hides a lot IMO. Just my .02.

munemaker
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by munemaker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:06 pm

Raymond wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 am


If you see them using old ...bath towels ..., run far, far away.
I have been hand washing my car for years with an occasional paste wax and once a year clay wipe.

I always use car wash soap (never Dawn or any dish washing detergent), but I do dry it with old bath towels. I never noticed an issue. What's the problem with drying using old bath towels?

runner3081
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by runner3081 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:09 pm

munemaker wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:06 pm
Raymond wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 am


If you see them using old ...bath towels ..., run far, far away.
I have been hand washing my car for years with an occasional paste wax and once a year clay wipe.

I always use car wash soap (never Dawn or any dish washing detergent), but I do dry it with old bath towels. I never noticed an issue. What's the problem with drying using old bath towels?
The issue is the dirt/rocks and everything else that old towels can pick up. You can ruin your clear coat with dirty rags/towels - just like sandpaper.

munemaker
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by munemaker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:26 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:09 pm
munemaker wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:06 pm
Raymond wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 am


If you see them using old ...bath towels ..., run far, far away.
I have been hand washing my car for years with an occasional paste wax and once a year clay wipe.

I always use car wash soap (never Dawn or any dish washing detergent), but I do dry it with old bath towels. I never noticed an issue. What's the problem with drying using old bath towels?
The issue is the dirt/rocks and everything else that old towels can pick up. You can ruin your clear coat with dirty rags/towels - just like sandpaper.
I totally get that. The old towels I use are clean. I launder them after every use.

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Raymond
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by Raymond » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:01 am

munemaker wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:06 pm
Raymond wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:10 am

If you see them using old ...bath towels ..., run far, far away.
I have been hand washing my car for years with an occasional paste wax and once a year clay wipe.

I always use car wash soap (never Dawn or any dish washing detergent), but I do dry it with old bath towels. I never noticed an issue. What's the problem with drying using old bath towels?
The problem with many bath towels is the polyester thread either used to stitch them together, or part of the cloth blend.

These can leave small scratches on the paint, which build up over time, and are particularly noticeable on black finishes (like the OP's car).

If you're using clean 100% cotton towels (including the stitching) you should be fine.

As an aside, this is why I never get my car washed at those fundraising washes for organizations (kids' sports teams, schools, churches, etc.)

It's the perfect storm for potentially getting your paint scratched - cheap towels which are often not clean (especially after the first few cars), thrown on the ground/parking lot to pick up rocks and debris, dish washing soap to strip off the wax, etc.

If I want to support the organization, I'll make a donation, but they are *not* touching my car :P

(I know, these are all first world problems. If a person has an older car, or just doesn't want to spend time washing or waxing, that's cool, it's your car.)
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

mouses
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by mouses » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:24 am

When the spirit moves me, that is when I notice the dust is thick enough to write in, I pay $5 to use one of these drive-in things that has high pressure hoses and soap. They have a vacuum thing with long hoses on site that costs maybe $1 or$2, I forget.

When I was younger and more agile, I'd just fill a bucket with soapy water and a sponge and wash the car in my driveway and hose the car off afterwards.

The dealer who does mechanical work on the car throws in a free wash that they do. I have to throw myself in front of the car door to keep them from using that perfumed waxy stuff in the interior.

jdb
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by jdb » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:47 pm

Years ago I had an epiphany. In the time spent driving to a car wash and waiting for the car wash to be finished I could pull out a hose in driveway and wash two cars. Plus a lot cheaper even when invest in good car soap and wash towels. Haven't been to a car wash since then.

takeshi
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by takeshi » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:17 am

It's the opposite for me. It takes me much longer to wash a car than it takes to run it through a hand wash place but I always hit them first thing in the morning or at another point where they're not busy.

For the OP: hand wash as needed, full detail as needed once or twice a year. That said, we don't have any black card and I don't use machine washes or high pressure washers on our convertibles.

thangngo
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by thangngo » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:56 am

imperio wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:58 pm
Would you rather:

1. Pay $25/month for an unlimited subscription to a exterior machine car wash + hand dry (we currently subscribe to this)
Considerations -
We have a black car and after a year of going through this, we can see swirl marks at certain angles in the light. From far it looks gorgeous and new.
Convenience. Bird [droppings --admin LadyGeek] on the car? Drive through. Tree sap on the windshield? Drive through. The location of the car wash is on the way to work for me so it only takes 5 minutes of my time sitting on the conveyor belt. Sometimes, if it's rainy during the week, I drive through everyday.
Drying a full sized sedan sucks. Plus we don't have a garage so if I wash the car myself, it's done early morning/late afternoon.

OR

2. Pay for a full, all-inclusive car wash, polish, wax, interior vacuum etc. estimate this would cost around $200-$250
Considerations -
Hopefully this will get rid of the swirl marks.
If the car is properly waxed, it doesn't need to be washed as often.
The interior is kept relatively clean. Something that I hate trying to clean is the grime off the interior of the windows, front/rear windscreen so hopefully this will be taken care of as well.

OR

3. Pay $15 each time for a hand car wash and dry.

Open to suggestions other than the above too. A dirty car is not an option. :sharebeer
Ummm.. I would rather wash it myself. Nothing beats a personal touch.

dollarsaver
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by dollarsaver » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:43 am

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:12 am
I agree with the silver comment, we get my wife's car washed no more than 1-2 times per year, almost always looks clean.

The best way would be to do this yourself. For about $175, one-time, you can buy a Porter Cable 7424xp unit, a clay bar, a polish, car wash and sealant.

Wash it as often as you want and then every 6-months, use the clay bar, polish and sealant (can also use paint correction for swirls) and it will look like a new car.

I understand your need for a clean car. I was the guy who washed his car every week, rain or shine, by hand. However, about 5-years ago after getting frustrated with a rain the day after a wash, I said "screw it" and don't worry about it anymore. Sold the polisher and now take my car through the wash once every 2 years or so.

Life is so much more relaxing now, I don't even think about it or waste money on "presenting" a clean car. I wasn't exactly sure who I was trying to impress with a clean car, haha.
+1 Just used Jetseal on a new car finish. Did not need a clay bar yet. The Jetseal 16oz was about $28 and will last for a year or so. Looks great. Easy on and off.

lightheir
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by lightheir » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:04 am

takeshi wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:17 am
It's the opposite for me. It takes me much longer to wash a car than it takes to run it through a hand wash place but I always hit them first thing in the morning or at another point where they're not busy.

For the OP: hand wash as needed, full detail as needed once or twice a year. That said, we don't have any black card and I don't use machine washes or high pressure washers on our convertibles.
I do the 'rapid' self wash for my cars, which is definitely faster (and gentler) on the car than the automatic brusher setups.

It still takes me a good 15 minutes from start to finish and I'm not doing any detailing for sure, but I usually get a spray on wax as I'm drying so that's a plus. I did buy one of those rubber water blades to more rapidly remove water - they do seem to speed things up with water removal/drying.

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greg24
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by greg24 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:31 am

Why would I pay someone to wash my car?

goldendad
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Re: Would you rather (car wash/detail)

Post by goldendad » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:41 am

I wash my car once a year whether it needs it or not.

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