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  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Dec 11 2011
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    85112
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY

    Automatic Car Wash - Are any OK?

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    Greetings-

    It is not practical for me to wash my car living in Brooklyn so I'm trying to figure out the best solution to keep my Black A6 clean. It is parked outside, so it tends to get dirty rather quickly - especially this time of year with the pollen. There is a hand wash right near me that does a fantastic job - just a bit pricey to do it regularly.

    Are any 'automatic' car washes safe? There are a ton in my area - many of them are brushless. From looking inside the washer it appears some have what appears to be massive towels that wash the car. Will these types of washes ruin the finish on the car?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Four Rings helix139's Avatar
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    Apr 21 2010
    AZ Member #
    57944
    Location
    Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by sschwar2 View Post
    Greetings-

    It is not practical for me to wash my car living in Brooklyn so I'm trying to figure out the best solution to keep my Black A6 clean. It is parked outside, so it tends to get dirty rather quickly - especially this time of year with the pollen. There is a hand wash right near me that does a fantastic job - just a bit pricey to do it regularly.

    Are any 'automatic' car washes safe? There are a ton in my area - many of them are brushless. From looking inside the washer it appears some have what appears to be massive towels that wash the car. Will these types of washes ruin the finish on the car?

    Thanks!
    Any car wash that has those massive "towels" is not safe. They will leave swirls and marring on your clearcoat, especially with a black car. The touch-free auto washes are better as long as they don't recycle their water. However, I would even avoid these. Since they don't touch your car, they get it clean by using harsh and acidic detergents. The problem is those detergents will strip any waxes or sealants you've applied and will dull your finish if used often.

    IMO, hand washing is the only way to go, especially with a black car. Use a quality car shampoo and good washing technique combined with a good sealant every couple of months and your clearcoat will be clear and swirl-free for years.
    2011 S4 Premium Plus 6MT, Sepang Blue Pearl, Black Silk Nappa, Sport Diff, B&O, B8.5 MMI 3G+ Nav, Ti Pkg
    APR Stage 2+ Stock/93/100/Valet, Eurocode Alu Kreuz, Eurocode USS Sways + End Links, Eurocode Meisterwerk SSK, Roc Euro Intake, Apikol Rear Diff Mount, Fast Intentions Exhaust, Escort 9500xi, Laser Interceptor, P3 Vent Gauge, VCDS

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Four Rings VroomVroom's Avatar
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    Jan 03 2007
    AZ Member #
    14579
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA

    ^ ^ That. Across the board, but especially with a black car. Avoid those places like the plague.
    -Jerry
    '13 Q5 Premium plus 3.0T. Glacier White/Black; MMI Nav plus, S line, B&O, Sport interior.
    - H&R Sport springs, Solo Performance exhaust tips, Various VCDS tidbits.
    (Formerly) '12 Q5, 3.2, '08 A4 Avant 3.2, '06 A4 Avant 3.2.

  4. #4
    Established Member Two Rings Dad A3's Avatar
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    Dec 24 2011
    AZ Member #
    85680
    My Garage
    2012 Audi A3, 2006 Audi A3, 2008 Taureg, 86 VFR 750
    Location
    NJ

    This came from NE Regional tri-state forum
    http://www.birdiesautospa.com/
    Check it out.

  5. #5
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Dec 11 2011
    AZ Member #
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    Location
    Brooklyn, NY

    Looks like a good deal but a bit far from Brooklyn. The hand-wash place down the block from me is about $38 - which adds up quick with tip. Thanks for your feedback - staying away from auto washers :)

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Four Rings VroomVroom's Avatar
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    Jan 03 2007
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    SF Bay Area, CA

    Optimum No Rinse (or similar) might be the perfect solution for you - assuming the vehicle didn't just cruise past an erupting volcano or sit under a maple tree for a few summer days. Two buckets, a fair number of MF towels, a coupla' trips back in the house for fresh water (i.e. do the wheels, wells, and tires first) and you can complete a safe and thorough wash in surprisingly little time. I've done on-street washes like this numerous times. Finish with a coat or two of a good sealant, and subsequent efforts will be even easier. Good luck...
    -Jerry
    '13 Q5 Premium plus 3.0T. Glacier White/Black; MMI Nav plus, S line, B&O, Sport interior.
    - H&R Sport springs, Solo Performance exhaust tips, Various VCDS tidbits.
    (Formerly) '12 Q5, 3.2, '08 A4 Avant 3.2, '06 A4 Avant 3.2.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Four Rings Liquid Smoke's Avatar
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    Dec 01 2011
    AZ Member #
    84653
    Location
    NYC

    you can see if there's any self wash areas and just use them for their washing bay, water hose, etc. and just bring your own sponges, towels, cleaning products.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Three Rings CHEROHALA's Avatar
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    Aug 24 2005
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    2002 s6, 2013 Touareg TDI
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    Items for Sale

    There is a hand car wash on Bay19th and Bath Ave. 25bucks

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Four Rings hoppy6698's Avatar
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    Sep 10 2009
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    Kansas City

    I recommend a waterless wash/detail, something like this if you can't actually use water and buckets:
    http://www.chemicalguys.com/Waterles.../wac_707ru.htm

    I have used that for touch ups during the week. Cut it with distilled water and use liberally to lift dirt up. Don't reuse MF towels repeatedly if they actually get dirty, then you're just scrubbing it back on the paint. If you can get a great detail once, with a durable sealant (like Collinite), then something like this will help maintain very easily.
    "A man who won´t die for something is not fit to live." - MLK Jr.

    {2009 A4 2.0T quattro, Meteor Gray/Black, Prestige, tiptronic}

    Current: APR Stage I, Plate LEDs, Huper Optik 45%, H11 Fogs, Intercooler pipe, H&R RSB, Bilstein B12 Pro-kit, VMR 708s

  10. #10
    Established Member Two Rings -yz-'s Avatar
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    Sep 29 2010
    AZ Member #
    65026
    Location
    Washington, DC

    What about the Auto Washes that just mist and spray water on the car without the brushes? I've got about 5" of pollen on my hood already, a day after detail.

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings VroomVroom's Avatar
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    Jan 03 2007
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    SF Bay Area, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by -yz- View Post
    What about the Auto Washes that just mist and spray water on the car without the brushes? I've got about 5" of pollen on my hood already, a day after detail.
    At the risk of being immodest, I'll quote myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    Optimum No Rinse (or similar) might be the perfect solution for you - assuming the vehicle didn't just cruise past an erupting volcano or sit under a maple tree for a few summer days. Two buckets, a fair number of MF towels, a coupla' trips back in the house for fresh water (i.e. do the wheels, wells, and tires first) and you can complete a safe and thorough wash in surprisingly little time. I've done on-street washes like this numerous times. Finish with a coat or two of a good sealant, and subsequent efforts will be even easier. Good luck...
    If you genuinely care about your car's finish, this is the only alternative to a good foam/two-bucket wash. It's easy, effective, and when done properly is perfectly safe.
    -Jerry
    '13 Q5 Premium plus 3.0T. Glacier White/Black; MMI Nav plus, S line, B&O, Sport interior.
    - H&R Sport springs, Solo Performance exhaust tips, Various VCDS tidbits.
    (Formerly) '12 Q5, 3.2, '08 A4 Avant 3.2, '06 A4 Avant 3.2.

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Four Rings helix139's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 21 2010
    AZ Member #
    57944
    Location
    Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by -yz- View Post
    What about the Auto Washes that just mist and spray water on the car without the brushes? I've got about 5" of pollen on my hood already, a day after detail.
    See my first post in this thread
    2011 S4 Premium Plus 6MT, Sepang Blue Pearl, Black Silk Nappa, Sport Diff, B&O, B8.5 MMI 3G+ Nav, Ti Pkg
    APR Stage 2+ Stock/93/100/Valet, Eurocode Alu Kreuz, Eurocode USS Sways + End Links, Eurocode Meisterwerk SSK, Roc Euro Intake, Apikol Rear Diff Mount, Fast Intentions Exhaust, Escort 9500xi, Laser Interceptor, P3 Vent Gauge, VCDS



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