I wouldn't use them on a regular basis, but I did use one three times during the winter to get the salt off when it was too cold to hand wash the car. I don't see anything wrong with the paint from the no-touch wash. The free wash at the dealer when I had the oil changed, however, left a nice streak of scratches down the middle of the hood. I didn't realize they were going to wash the car because they don't offer free washes. They won't ever wash it again.
My dealer hand washes the cars for free anytime and any contact with my black car will leave swirls. I just buff out the swirls every 6 months when I can't stand it anymore and wax with Klasse All-In-One and that does a good job of masking the swirls in between the buffings. It takes 20-30 minutes to wax the car so it's no biggy.
Touchless car washes are like power washers pointed at your car. I used power washers to strip the paint off my fence once. It's amazing what water at high pressure can do. Now take a dirty car and use that pressure washer to force the dirt against the paint a high speed. Almost like sandblasting except the grit is already on your car. It doesn't sound pretty. I always mist my car before washing it to lubricate the dirt so it's not dry dirt against the paint.
The brushless carwash near my house doesnt use high powered water. It allmost looks like a waterfall. They soak the car very well, plus they use only meguiers car wash stuuf too. They soak the car with the soap, and let it set for 3 or 4 minutes then they rinse it with the "waterfall" thing. Its similar to taking the nossle off the hose pipe and you get a sheeting action. I've only used it about 5 times, since it only takes me 45 minutes to handwash mine I'll usually do it myself unless:
1 its too cold
2 I need a clean car but no time to wash
The dealer washes by hand anytime, and will wax it at service a b etc.
And dont get me started with the brush car washes that spin those big brushes around, can you say scratched!
Drives: 2000 BMW Z3 2.3 Roadster (hardtop current ly attached)
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on silver/gold colored cars, the auto washes are pretty safe... BLACk is a no-no. I use one to get grime off, but that is it...
and at the dealer they will wash it whenever I stop by, for whatever reason... the guy in charge of their clean-up crew went to HS with me and we worked a summer gig at a dealership our senior summer... now I have a new Bimmer and he washes it for me. I must be doing something right.
at the end of the day, I'm just a jackass with a keyboard.
Ive been taking my brilliant silver coupe to those do-it-yourself bays for washes, as I really dont have the patience for sitting down in my driveway to do it by hand. What do you guys think of those places? For some reason I just cannot get my car that clean at the place. I spray it with a soap/water mix, then i spray it with straight water, then spray with wax, then spray with water again.. still, as soon as i pull out of the bay and am in direct sunlight i can see streaks of dirt which easily comes off to the touch but apparantly the water didnt move (maybe it put it there?)
Sometimes I use the "foaming brush" but I am wary of it causing scratches, when I do use it i spray the brush down with the hose first to get rid of any dirt in there.
Time is an illusion.. lunchtime doubly