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My experience here in SoCal is that the self serve, touchless or otherwise, are not very good at all. I only use them if one of my cars is extremely dirty, rain is coming soon, and the wife keeps complaining about the dirty cars. The one's around me do about as good a job at washing my car as my 5 year old son. They are only a last resort for me. Doing it myself is the only time I am completely satisfied with the end result.
 

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'06 XR4WD Cosmic Blu
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There is a brand new touchless wash near me. Since washing a car around here (Southern NH) is miserable in the winter, it's worth it to use this wash. It's $12 for "the works" and it seems to do a great job. I try to pick a day when it's not below the freezing point to get it done. I do spend about 15 minutes after the wash wiping down all of the remaining water with an Absorber, which I just throw in my laundry at home.

Once the Spring and the nice weather (over 40F is fine for me) come back, I do washing by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
is it true that touchless car wash doesnt clean thoroughly , especially in the winter time when the car is most likely covered with salt and mud...
 

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echo7 said:
is it true that touchless car wash doesnt clean thoroughly , especially in the winter time when the car is most likely covered with salt and mud...
I would assume that there are more than one model of touchless wash, so any comments that anyone - short of someone in the touchless car wash business - makes are going to be specific to the carwash that they are visiting.

As I said above, the wash that I am using is brand new. It just opened at Christmas time. So, it appears to be very modern and automated. The way this one works is that, after you pay (looks like an ATM machine) and hit "start", the back door of the bay opens and, as you drive in, the undercarriage gets blasted with high pressure wash. I think this is just water.
Then you drive forward and stop. There are two towers (one on either side of the car) that have several sets of nozzles. One the left tower there is a big numeric indicator that tells you how many cycles remain until the entire wash is finished. When you get the "Works" it starts at "7" and counts down. For each cycle, the towers move from the front of the car to the rear, spraying water, wax, ???, and finally high pressure air.

I would say that this is doing an excellent job of cleaning off the salt and road grime. I'm sure that if your car has a pretty good wax job to start with, it will get better results. I checked the wheel wells, brakes, and the undercarriage a couple of days ago when I swapped out my wheels for the winter set and everything looked pretty clean. I am happy with the job done on the body. When I wipe off the excess water my Absorber has been coming away pretty clean.

The real battle is to make sure that if you have been driving on salted roads that you get that washed off as soon as you can. If the temp stays well below freezing, it's not such a big deal. But, as soon as the temp comes back above freezing then the oxidation reactions will start in earnest.

Sometimes, when the temps hover back and forth around freezing and the roads are slushy with that salt/sand/ice mix, I just go to the local pressure wash and spend $1.50 to wash all that crap off. You really can't win. It's almost inevitable that as soon as you go for the nice touchless wash and wax, the roads will be shitty again. I just try to do the best I can and go for the big Spring cleaning when I can.


If there IS someone in the automated car wash business on this forum, it would be great to hear from them ;-)
 

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Touchless car washes don't really clean the car too well and tend to use reclycled salty water.

The only problem with self-serve (coin operated) is with the brush. In particular how dirty it is. I try to clean the brush when using spraying water with the power hose.

Pick your poison...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok for people living in toronto and gta. does anyone tried mr. steam car wash in hiway 7 and mccowan.. 16$ fo exterior car wash..
 

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As was kind of said, most auto washes use "gery" water which is non-potable, filtered, and recycled. It may look clean but it isn't. Personally, I would rather use a touchless than any other. Stay away from ANYTHING with a brush or the cloth "panels".
 

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Touchless car washes don't really clean the car too well and tend to use reclycled salty water.
Frank, I'm just curious how you know this. Are you in the car wash business? Do you actually know how the water system is plumbed? Or, are you just speculating?

I have a friend who just opened a commercial paint shop in Massachusetts and he is telling me that any business that is using water from the local supply must meet REALLY strict guidelines about any water they discharge. He told me that the water being discharged is as clean, or even cleaner, than the water that is going into his business. I don't know how it is in Canada, but things have changed in the States and discharging dirty water just does not fly here anymore. The penalties for discharging pollutants are very high. Sure, there are old, existing businesses that have not come up to spec yet, but new businesses will never get liscensed to start without meeting very strict guidelines.

If your touchless car wash does not do a good job, you should find one that does. I'm having excellent results with mine.
 

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spin156 said:
Frank, I'm just curious how you know this. Are you in the car wash business? Do you actually know how the water system is plumbed? Or, are you just speculating?

I have a friend who just opened a commercial paint shop in Massachusetts and he is telling me that any business that is using water from the local supply must meet REALLY strict guidelines about any water they discharge. He told me that the water being discharged is as clean, or even cleaner, than the water that is going into his business. I don't know how it is in Canada, but things have changed in the States and discharging dirty water just does not fly here anymore. The penalties for discharging pollutants are very high. Sure, there are old, existing businesses that have not come up to spec yet, but new businesses will never get liscensed to start without meeting very strict guidelines.

If your touchless car wash does not do a good job, you should find one that does. I'm having excellent results with mine.

Spin

Where do you go ? I live in Hudson NH....Just went to one last night on 102 Mobil on the run and cant say it did a great job. It was touchless but my lower rear end and rocker panels were still dirty.Most of the crap came off but not that good.

I would say that they are re using the water instead of discharging it.They may be filtering somewhat for washing but anything that gets released out of the carwash is probably filtered through a different system.Just guessing BTW.


John
 

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The only time we go to a self-serve car wash is after the roads have been salted here and I need my undercarriage sprayed. Otherwise, DH would rather eat lead than go to an automatic car-wash place, even in the winter. He's scared to death of having the paint scratched, even by a touchless place. Luckily, around here, there's usually a warm day sprinkled here and there throughout the winter, so that's when he hand-washes. Of course, the past week or so, the warm days have gone poof!...
 

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Matrix1 said:
Spin

Where do you go ? I live in Hudson NH....Just went to one last night on 102 Mobil on the run and cant say it did a great job. It was touchless but my lower rear end and rocker panels were still dirty.Most of the crap came off but not that good.

I would say that they are re using the water instead of discharging it.They may be filtering somewhat for washing but anything that gets released out of the carwash is probably filtered through a different system.Just guessing BTW.


John
I am using the Kamal's Car Wash on Rt.28 in Salem. It's a little north of the Barnes&Noble mini mall and just before Dave's Toy Store (used cars). I have used that one at the 102 Mobil and you're right about it. I think it's important to note that these gas station "add-on" car washes all seem to be completely unattended. At Kamal's there is someone there during normal business hours. So, since Kamal's is just a car wash, they have a vested interest in doing a better job than the competition. But, it is open 24/7. I know that if you're in Hudson you might be 15 minutes away or 40 minutes away, depending on where you live. If you get to Salem, I'd recommend trying it out. If, for nothing else, you'll get to see how it compares. I tried Scrub-A-Dub (a well known and popular Boston area chain of carwashes) in Salem, and the new car wash at the Rt.97 Mobil in Methuen and then Kamal's opened. The other two were very good, but not touchless ;-(


I googled "touchless car wash" to learn more about this subject and some of the things I found out are:

1. They ALL recycle water. The difference between them will be how good a job they do of filtering. Filter cleaning tends to be a pretty dirty job (I've done it on boats), so the better job a car wash does of cleaning their filter systems, the better job you're going to get on your car wash. That woman making donuts at the Mobil "On the Run" store probably want's nothing to do with cleaning the filters at the car wash out back. But, there's a good chance that she's actually the one responsible.
2. They normally will use new, clean water for the final rinse. For obvious reasons.
3. They are environmentally more friendly than washing your car in your driveway. This normally averages 150-180 gallons of water (when not using a shut off nozzle) and an automated car wash only uses 35-50 gallons per car. Car washes trap all of the crap that comes off the cars in their filter systems. Then they must clean up the water before discharging it. When you wash your car at home all of the stuff that comes off the car - dirt, grime, soap, old wax, cleaners, etc - all goes into the sewer untreated and ends up in rivers and streams.

So, please, at least get a nozzle that shuts off when you put it down. And, if you can, use environmentally friendly car care products. I know this puts a "dirty" side on car care, but it is what it is. Did someone say that you can't wash your car in your driveway in Toronto? It's easy to see why that would be so. No matter how you cut it, cleaning your car has a real effect on the environment. I'd guess that a clean car gets better mileage, so that's one good thought you can have.
 

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Frank, I'm just curious how you know this. Are you in the car wash business? Do you actually know how the water system is plumbed? Or, are you just speculating?
A few years back their was a news paper article stating how "acidic" the water was at the carwashes (remember they need to heat the water too, very $$ in the winter), since they recycled it. Hence washing your car at these places was a bad thing.

Hence a few new car washes then advertised "NON RECYCLED WATER". Hence my knowledge on this matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
tommorow will be 1degree here in toronto and its the opportunity for a car wash...
frank,, would you think jet kleen in oconnor uses recycled water?
 

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Isn't that a do it yourself car wash place.

I know that MistaMatrix went their often at one time.

You should come to our meets sometime, since it's in that area...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
hi frank, will try... I also see you guys in matrixowners.. and i think mista is more active in that site...
 
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