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Old 01-02-2009, 01:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Winter Road Salt & Grime Vs. Auto Car Wash?!

So as many of you know I just bought my E46 in September and it came pretty new (37,017 miles & flawless condition). It has been snowing and icing here in New York almost every other day since the middle of December.

Usually, I park my E46 in the lot and we drive my gfriend's '08 Accord when the roads are sloppy with dirt and salt. But her parents are in town and staying with us for the holidays and she's driving them around. So I've had to drive my own car almost every day for the last week and a half and around here after 25 minutes of driving my E46 is literally covered bumper to bumper, roof to rim, in a white film of road salt, brown sticky snow and grime.

Last month the Gas Station near my home opened a $2.99 Express Drive Thru Auto Car Wash/Dry. It takes about 2 minutes whiles I sit in the car and drive thru it and although I know the big mop things that slap against your car so hard that your mirrors fold in and cheap pink soap will probably damage my car in the long term, but I'm just glad to see my car come out shiny clean and fresh before I drive it back home.

I've been doing this everyday I drive my car out and tonight I drove home and washed it again but this time I wondered if the road salt and grime is really worse than the soap/chemicals they use in the Auto Wash?

I usually ALWAYS hand wash my E46 but its also been between 13 and 24 degrees daily since Christmas so that is out of the question.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Road salt & grime are far more corrosive than any detergant.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, I think it's better to keep it clean. Maybe between full washes, you can just give it a good rinse. Salt is an ionic compound; it'll rinse off very quickly, leaving just the tougher sandy crap.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Try to find a brushless wash.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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big mop things that slap against your car so hard that your mirrors fold in and cheap pink soap will probably damage my car in the long term, but I'm just glad to see my car come out shiny clean and fresh
You dont want to make this a habit, thats for sure........Proper car care isnt all that difficult, or there wouldnt be so many of us doing it. If you've got a couple weekends to learn, you can self teach your self along with a little guidance/instruction from detailing forums and/or detailers.
For starters, many folks in your position rely on a a product called NRWS (No Rinse Wash & Shine) its made by Optimum. You simply use a bucket (or two) of water and a few capfuls along with a sheepskin for washing. MOST will take their car to the hi pressure $.25 car wash and blast off the salt and Winter crud before doing this. I could post some pics if anyone is interested......
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i would refrain from using any automatic car wash that uses brushes. All it is doing is scrubbing those salts on your car into your paint and creates bad swirl marks.

when its too cold outside to scrub it myself at home, i just go to a self service bay and spray it down. it may not come out as "clean" looking as it might when you go through the one that scrubs your car; but its not going to create swirls and the road salt isn't sitting on my paint
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dude I'm from cali definatly not a cold weather person but I washed dannys e36 in a t shirt and jeans so just man up and wash it yourself I never go to thoughs car washs the only time someone else washs our cars is when my mom takes them to get detailed when I don't have time. So grow a pair and wash your car.
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Everyday? Are you fucking joking? They better have a damn good reclamation system for their waste water, otherwise that's a tremendous amount of fresh water being wasted and contaminated.
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