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DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
2/6/24 3:00 p.m.

I took my MINI through the local brush car wash for the sixteen years I had it. The paint wasn't showroom fresh,but getting all the crap off occasionally was more important to me. My truck is on it's fifth winter and doesn't get washed regularly. It also spends it's entire life outdoors and it's not rusting yet. Garaging a vehicle will allow any salt a better opportunity to work as the effectiveness of the salt decreases dramatically as the temperature drops below freezing. Colder is better as far as keeping the rust away.

APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/6/24 4:46 p.m.

When this picture was taken the Super Duty had around 280k miles on it and had been run through brush type car washes it's entire life.  During the first 200k or so miles of it's life it plowed snow every winter in Upstate NY and was washed often washed multiple times a week during the winter.

RichardNZ GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/6/24 5:10 p.m.

Something related but different - our Air Force operated P3K Orions until recently, due to low level overwater SAR they installed automatic washers in one of the taxiways way back in the 70's. Can't find a photo or a Tube of You's but link is to a Facebook page. I imagine that it's not uncommon...


Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/6/24 6:50 p.m.

I think it probably has less to do with the brushes and more to do with the car that went through before.  My BIL went through one and it destroyed the paint on his hood, and the only thing we could guess is that the last person who went through maybe had just come from "muddin his truck nutz"

There is one here that I like.  The brushes spin really gently and they have what looks to be strips of that "sham-wow" material.  I've been through it a few times and no damage, although the undercarriage wash ripped off a chunk of rusty rocker panel.  Seriously high pressure.

My only problem with a brushless wash is that it really does very little.  It will rinse of loose stuff, but it's just a rinse with suds.

I miss Los Angeles.  All the car washes there were like a mix of auto and hand wash.  Your car went through a soap spray, then actual people went over the whole thing with wash mitts, then it rinsed, blow dry, and a final wipe down and interior cleaning.  It was like 5 minutes of perfection.

theruleslawyer New Reader
2/6/24 11:37 p.m.

I wish touchless washes worked better. The ones I've been through don't do a ton to take off dried on stuff like salt film. Better than nothing, but brushes work far better.

Jerry PowerDork
2/7/24 8:36 a.m.

I've used a local brushless on the Crosstrek, better than nothing with salt grime in Ohio on a white vehicle.  If it isn't 10F I don't mind using a wand and just blasting the grime though.

I tried the Abarth in a new car wash by my house, it didn't clear the little track they used to pull it through. :D

car39 Dork
2/7/24 10:48 a.m.

It's a function of the maintenance done by the car wash operator.  The mitters (that's what the brushes are called) should be cleaned on a regular basis, probably weekly.  You can hit them with a pressure washer to blast off the crud.  Does anyone actually do it?  I know I didn't when I had a car wash.  It's a messy damn job, especially in the colder months.  I took my 6 month old Maverick thru a car wash last fall because it was a mess, and I wasn't home.  You can see all the small scratches in it in the correct light, and that's with a reputable ceramic wax coating.  It's the nature of the beast.


APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/7/24 11:57 a.m.
theruleslawyer said:

I wish touchless washes worked better. The ones I've been through don't do a ton to take off dried on stuff like salt film. Better than nothing, but brushes work far better.

Yeah, the few touchless I've used were also washless.

Coniglio Rampante
Coniglio Rampante Reader
2/7/24 3:46 p.m.
alfadriver said:

But I did it pretty often on my Miata, and it was a touch system.  The rust I got wasn't from that, it was from the top drains being plugged up and holding water in the rockers. 


  And I should have done that on my Miata- it would have save a ton of "restoration" work.

Just a tip regarding that specific situation that may help others:  go to a music store (or order online) a trombone cleaner.  They fit right into those drain holes and are long enough to reach all the way out of the bottom holes.  And they're less than $10, just get one with plastic or vinyl coating so it won't scrape or damage the drains.

The guy at the music shop told me he sold a lot of them to Miata and other convertible owners.

My Miata is long gone and I never owned a trombone.  But I still have the cleaner in my garage.  Maybe I'll Craigslist it with a "no lowball offers/I know what I got!"wink

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/7/24 4:10 p.m.

I haven't seen an automated car wash that could stand up to a human washing  a car with a mitt or brush.  

gixxeropa GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/7/24 4:45 p.m.

Even the touch wages never came close to getting all the tree gunk off my truck, always missed about 30% of it it seemed like

Peabody MegaDork
2/7/24 5:17 p.m.
NOHOME said:

Living in Ontario Canada, I never understood washing a car in winter. Whatever you got removed will be back on before you make it off the car wash lot.  The roads themselves are salty from December to May, so the undercarriage is going to be covered by salty  puddles all the time.

I washed both my cars yesterday. One in a coin op, the other in a touchless drive through.

There is no salt on our roads, no snow in the forecast as far as I can see, and there has been more rain than anything here.

I know it's been a mild winter, but ordinarily London gets about double the snow Brantford does and we get less than them. Not all of Ontario gets a lot of snow.

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