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Was just debating this on my way to work this morning. Car is getting filthy and it's too cold for the hose. Considering a touch less car wash followed by a nice micro fiber wipe down when i get home and in the garage.
I've actually developed a pretty good system of washing in my garage at home. I can do the whole car with about 3-4 gallons of water and don't feel I'm compromising by wiping dirt around. The trick I have found is to not let it get super bad firstly and keep it from drying if possible when it does get bad. Not sure where you are but here in Michigan the roads get nasty in a hurry. We haven't had too many days yet where road salt has been used but even when it's just wet the grime gets bad. I have a 2 gallon pump style herbacide sprayer I use for most of the wash. I wet the whole car down evenly with soapy car wash water which takes about 1 gallon. I let it work while I scrub the wheels and tires with a plastic wood shop style hand broom. I have an empty 5 gal bucket with about 1 gallon of soapy water. I rinse my brush and microfibers in this tub. Sediment sinks to the bottom. Once I'm done with the wheels I pump up the sprayer very high pressure and fan the dirt down the sides of the car. The wash I use is a dual soap and wax which I only like because it tends to dry easier and require less rinsing. I go back over everything with a wet soapy microfiber and try to sheet the water down the car. I then use a synthetic shammy and dry from the top down. I use 5 or 6 microfibers as to not cross contaminate the water and different parts of the car. If I drop one on the ground, it's done. It goes in the dirty bin. I wait until I dirty about 50 of them before I make a laundry load from them. They last pretty well. I get the multicolored 50 packs on Amazon for $20. I'm a little OCD so I try to use green for glass, blue and white for body, yellow for wheels, orange for other dirty stuff...keep your delicates separate ya know?
After it's mostly dry I mist with detail spray or wax and hit it with a new microfiber. I have done a full carnuba paste but wasn't impressed considering the effort difference. I'll stick with spray wax at least until I get out the meguiars and compound the car with the wheel in the spring.
Not at all. I?ve done automatic washes before on previous cars and I just don?t like them. There?s enough hand washes out here I don?t need to worry. I spend around $20 on a hand wash and tip when I do decide to go. But no more automatic washes for me. I even stopped doing them on my mustang years ago
According to Meguiar's, Blue Coral, and Mothers, the best 'first treatment' is to wash the surface with lots & lots of cool water, to remove most of the dirt (actually extremely fine bits of rock). Don't think I'd ever do a car wash to my GT's finish, not even 'touchless'!
I will never use a automatic car wash again. Since I've had my car ceramic coated I have never gone back, the guy that ceramic coated my car takes care of it for me. He uses a touchless wash then blows it off an then uses a detailer which adds another layer of protection to the ceramic coating.
Used to use car washes (brushless) but stopped. I found my local place would make my wipers clatter on the windshield and not wipe smoothly. Later I learned that most car washes use stronger soaps in order to remove dirt and grime, which will also strip off waxes and sealants.
Now I hand wash. Most car wash soaps are pH balanced to not strip away waxes.