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  1. #1

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    Touchless car wash safe?

    Third thread/question..

    I use to run my vehicles through a touchless car wash in the snowy winters to get the road crap and de-icer off the paint. One day I was reading on the Lexus forums that the chemicals used in these bags could be harmful to the clearcoat. I have pretty much always had black vehicles, so I am asking you guys if this is true. I figure you would know better than some random Lexus owner.

    When I googled it, I found the main concern was the pressure of the sprayers in these potentially causing issues.

    As I mentioned in other threads, I have a black 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. I am really trying to protect the paint as much as possible. My 1990 Jeep is my crawler/toy, just in case some ask why I’m so concerned with a Jeep.

    I also wonder if the chemicals used in these bays would remove or damage any ceramic spray coating I apply. Thank You for any input.

  2. #2
    Hooked For Life Bill D's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Probably depends on the specific car wash location. You couldn`t pay me to run my car through one.
    Treat it like it`s the only one in the world.

  3. #3
    acuRAS82's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    My opinion (which is only that, and I’m not too bright): I doubt touchless washes hurt or damage your clear coat. They can certainly damage your LSP (last step protection). Most probably have strong chemicals that will wear away waxes and sealants. Coatings and some stronger sealants are hurt less by the strong chemicals (good chemical resistance).

    Quite a few members use touchless washes in the winter as it may be more beneficial than letting salt sit on the car for 3 months straight.

    and as far as strength of the sprayers hurting the clear coat, I highly doubt it since people use pressure washers all the time to remove loose debris before hand washing. I do t know at what pressure point that water can physically scratch paint, but I’ve never seen a touchless in the northeast come close to worrying me.

    Hope this helps and sorry if I’ve made any generalizations that don’t match your experiences. Different places have different ways of doing things.
    Likes William_Wallace liked this post

  4. #4

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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Probably depends on the specific car wash location. You couldn`t pay me to run my car through one.
    Yeah, it sounds like some use different types of soap etc. according to some posts on here.

    When I posted in the Jeep forum, the members said they run them through all the time and it shouldn’t “hurt the black paint”.

    Is your reasoning based on the chemicals or,,,?

  5. #5
    Hooked For Life Bill D's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    I personally don`t trust the chemicals nor the materials the attendants use to dry the cars with

    Besides, I actually enjoy washing my car myself with Accumulator`s extreme method. I never wash when I`m in a rush and therefore find washing to be therapeutic
    Treat it like it`s the only one in the world.

  6. #6
    acuRAS82's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    I personally don`t trust the chemicals nor the materials the attendants use to dry the cars with

    Besides, I actually enjoy washing my car myself with Accumulator`s extreme method. I never wash when I`m in a rush and therefore find washing to be therapeutic
    By “touchless”, everything I mentioned was assuming no one physically dries the car, and the only an air dry at best.

  7. #7
    Hooked For Life Bill D's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Around here in my town if you don`t use a coin-op you have to settle for the car wash with attendants with God knows what kind of towels.
    Treat it like it`s the only one in the world.
    Likes acuRAS82 liked this post

  8. #8

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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Best case scenario, strong chemicals weaken your LSP and don’t do much damage to the car. The you have to worry about the maintenance to the machinery, someone getting the chemicals right, and of course, that they don’t dry it with terry towels.

  9. #9
    acuRAS82's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Around here in my town if you don`t use a coin-op you have to settle for the car wash with attendants with God knows what kind of towels.
    Ah yes, we have a few like that over here and I don’t dare go near. They’re all high school students wiping their sweaty brows with these towels (and that’s probably the least of my fears of what is hidden in them). I kind of admire the owners of these for employing kids and for thinking about the luxury of “towel dry”, but like most instances of non-detailers touching cars it only leads to more damage.

  10. #10
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by kapk22 View Post
    Third thread/question..

    I use to run my vehicles through a touchless car wash in the snowy winters to get the road crap and de-icer off the paint. One day I was reading on the Lexus forums that the chemicals used in these bags could be harmful to the clearcoat. I have pretty much always had black vehicles, so I am asking you guys if this is true. I figure you would know better than some random Lexus owner.

    When I googled it, I found the main concern was the pressure of the sprayers in these potentially causing issues.

    As I mentioned in other threads, I have a black 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. I am really trying to protect the paint as much as possible. My 1990 Jeep is my crawler/toy, just in case some ask why I’m so concerned with a Jeep.

    I also wonder if the chemicals used in these bays would remove or damage any ceramic spray coating I apply. Thank You for any input.
    Welcome to the forum, kapk22 --
    I bought a new Lexus IS350 once, and that Lexus Dealer had their own touchless car wash in the back parking lot.. It was free car washes for life so almost everyone who purchased a Lexus from them used it..
    I never heard of anyone having an issue with the car wash soap, water pressure, or anything...

    For sure, any car wash, even the do-it-yourself ones have to use a strong soap solution, so they can get as much crap off the paint in the one pass they are going to get to wash the car...
    Yes, that soap mixture is pretty harsh, I know it will take a toll on whatever LSP, coating, sealant, etc., wax, etc.., anyone applies... The good coatings will last the longest for sure..

    I have my own pressure washer in my business and I pressure wash (2gal/minute gas powered) every vehicle (hundreds) I Detail first, and I have never hurt the paintwork..

    If ANY vehicle with peeling paint goes through any car wash, well probably, when they get to the other end, depending on where the peeling paint is, there may be a lot less of it..
    Whenever anyone says the car wash ruined my paint, you have to ask - what was the condition of your paint before you went into the car wash?

    I know from my own Lexus and all the others I have detailed, Lexus puts a lot of work into their paintwork and it shows.. I believe they used to hand sand them between coats too..

    The prep work you do if you decide to do it, will make a lot of difference in how the vehicle looks and how long the LSP of your choice lasts..

    Black vehicles ! Yes !!! I have had many and have an `09 Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 in that beautiful Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl color.. It still has perfectly clear, flat, glossy paintwork.. Have had lots more... Nothing better... Rolling Mirrors...
    Oh, and I have detailed at least a couple hundred..

    Good luck with your research and projects !
    Dan F

  11. #11
    wannafbody
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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    I actually removed paint one time I was washing at a coin op. I really think crappy GM quality control was the issue in my case.

  12. #12

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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    I ran my shawdow black 2016 mustang through the touchless in the winters and had no effects on my CqUk3.0 coatiing. Got 1.8 months and it was still going strong.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13

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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    I personally don`t trust the chemicals nor the materials the attendants use to dry the cars with

    Besides, I actually enjoy washing my car myself with Accumulator`s extreme method. I never wash when I`m in a rush and therefore find washing to be therapeutic
    I too find it therapeutic. It’s just finding the time. I will be making it though. Thank you

  14. #14

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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by acuRAS82 View Post
    By “touchless”, everything I mentioned was assuming no one physically dries the car, and the only an air dry at best.
    yeah, that’s what I was referring to as well. Just air dryers.

  15. #15

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    Re: Touchless car wash safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stokdgs View Post
    Welcome to the forum, kapk22 --
    I bought a new Lexus IS350 once, and that Lexus Dealer had their own touchless car wash in the back parking lot.. It was free car washes for life so almost everyone who purchased a Lexus from them used it..
    I never heard of anyone having an issue with the car wash soap, water pressure, or anything...

    For sure, any car wash, even the do-it-yourself ones have to use a strong soap solution, so they can get as much crap off the paint in the one pass they are going to get to wash the car...
    Yes, that soap mixture is pretty harsh, I know it will take a toll on whatever LSP, coating, sealant, etc., wax, etc.., anyone applies... The good coatings will last the longest for sure..

    I have my own pressure washer in my business and I pressure wash (2gal/minute gas powered) every vehicle (hundreds) I Detail first, and I have never hurt the paintwork..

    If ANY vehicle with peeling paint goes through any car wash, well probably, when they get to the other end, depending on where the peeling paint is, there may be a lot less of it..
    Whenever anyone says the car wash ruined my paint, you have to ask - what was the condition of your paint before you went into the car wash?

    I know from my own Lexus and all the others I have detailed, Lexus puts a lot of work into their paintwork and it shows.. I believe they used to hand sand them between coats too..

    The prep work you do if you decide to do it, will make a lot of difference in how the vehicle looks and how long the LSP of your choice lasts..

    Black vehicles ! Yes !!! I have had many and have an `09 Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 in that beautiful Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl color.. It still has perfectly clear, flat, glossy paintwork.. Have had lots more... Nothing better... Rolling Mirrors...
    Oh, and I have detailed at least a couple hundred..

    Good luck with your research and projects !
    Dan F
    Wow!! Thank you for the reply.

    I had a new black IS 350 F Sport with 19” black wheels and pearled emblems. It was a gorgeous car and i was just destroying her in the winter over there. I commuted to the valley every couple weeks for work and had to drive over the pass. The cinders and de-icer was wrecking the paint. I even had additional 3m (or another variant of paint protectant coating) on a good amount. I finally caved in and got the f-150. I always figured the chemicals in the touchless washes was better than leaving the chemicals used on the roads to melt the ice. Since I have moved back to southern Oregon, the winters are nothing like over there.
    Likes Stokdgs liked this post

 

 
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