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      12-31-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
baege
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Winter Washing

For those of us who live in a region with a climate that necessitates the use of road salt in the winter, every winter we face the issue of the best way to wash the salt off.

The potential methods are:

Soft cloth track car wash
touchless trackless car wash
coin-op spray (do it yourself)

Many take the view that the auto washes whether touchless or not will damage the car's finish. The pro is that they claim do wash the undercarriage of the car (but this point is itself disputed as some argue that in fact they don't have actual jets under the car but rather jets that spray from the side under the car).

I am leaning towards coin-op on warmer days but wonder if me contorting myself to spray the underside of the car will really clean the undercarriage properly.

What are people's views?
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      12-31-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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Coin-op spray for the undercarriage.

DIY exterior in driveway when temp is greater than 38 degrees.
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      12-31-2012, 10:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaZeta View Post
Coin-op spray for the undercarriage.

DIY exterior in driveway when temp is greater than 38 degrees.
The trick w/ the driveway wash is to make sure you do it early enough or otherwise such that the sun will remain on your driveway after you're done. Black ice = bad.

I'd still use a coin-op most of the time, though. If the car wasn't too bad, I'd wash it myself on my driveway w/ buckets of hot/warm water.
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      12-31-2012, 11:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaZeta View Post
Coin-op spray for the undercarriage.

DIY exterior in driveway when temp is greater than 38 degrees.
We won't be getting back above 38 till April up here!
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      12-31-2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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I washed the car last week when it was a chilly 58 degrees. I wore sweat pants, a sweatshirt and wore socks with my Keen sandals. Using warm water from the kitchen sink helped keep my hands warm. Brrr!

Fortunately, for the next week it's supposed to be sunny with temps in the mid 60's so I can go back to wearing shorts and a t-shirt when I wash the car.
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      12-31-2012, 05:15 PM   #6
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It freaked me out the first few times I washed my car at coin-op spray indoor wash in Anchorage during the winter. The warm water that's still in the engine compartment (cause you gotta dry the rest of the car, right?) when you leave steams out for quite awhile. Thought I was having issues.
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      12-31-2012, 05:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike519 View Post
We won't be getting back above 38 till April up here!
I would recommend a similar method then:



Only use the coin-op as a method of rinsing since it is generally recycled water. I also probably wouldn't "dry" the car without rinsing the coin-op water away, probably with another couple of gallons of water that you pre-bottle as a final rinse. Then you could dry.

There are "waterless" car washing products available, but not meant for a daily driver in salt conditions.

Of course, if you properly prepare your car prior to the winter weather, with a good sealant, glaze, coating and wax, then your visible paint should be protected for a few months.
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      12-31-2012, 09:22 PM   #8
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When I lived in the cold Northeast, I would try to find an indoor coin-op. Lacking that, I would take a bucket, fill the bucket on 'wash' and then lather down the car. Never used the brushes in the coin-op. After using a clean terry to wash it, went back to the rinse. Dried it as soon as I could, then drove home, Then used a bucket of clean warm water along with another clean terry to remove any residual ice or road dirt.

I'm convinced washing the underside is mostly placebo, especially on the Z4. Had mine up on stands lately and could not believe the surface corrosion on the diff. Okay, I drive half my commute next to the ocean but always avoid the puddles. Still, no road salt, but there was some built-up sand inside the rear diffuser. Don't think a powerwash would have removed that, but it was harmless anyway as the diffuser is plastic.
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      01-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaZeta View Post
Only use the coin-op as a method of rinsing since it is generally recycled water.
There is some truth to that. I only used it to rinse my car. I never use the brushes and crap they provide. I used to bring my own buckets, car wash/shampoo, etc... It was against the rules, but going at an off hour and being in the cold...no one really seemed to care. Plus there was never an attendant when I went.
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