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Cadillac XTS Forum Discussion, Car washes in Current Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Ok, guys, what's the skinny about car washes? Do you or don't. Or, hire a kid with a bucket?...
  1. #1
    Lizbill is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Car washes

    Ok, guys, what's the skinny about car washes? Do you or don't. Or, hire a kid with a bucket?

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    EldoRedo's Avatar
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    Re: Car washes

    I think the answer depends on how pristine you want to keep your finish. If you don't care all that much, then "brushless" car washes would be for you. If you care MORE -- then never hire a kid with a bucket -- unless he's a detail shop summer intern. Hand-washing a car is the best approach -- but it's not a job to be left in inexperienced hands -- a kid with a dirty sponge can do more damage to your paint than a car wash. Use just water and a soft cloth that you turn regularly -- or if you must use soap, use cheap shampoo.

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    Re: Car washes

    I would not use a cheap shampoo. Buy a good car wash soap (doesn't have to be expensive) . You should not just use water and a soft cloth. You need soap as lubrication to prevent scratches.
    RockvilleXTS and RockvilleXTS like this.

  5. #4
    TimTown is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Car washes

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizbill View Post
    Ok, guys, what's the skinny about car washes? Do you or don't. Or, hire a kid with a bucket?
    Sorry, but I just don't understand this paranoia from comments people have made on this topic. I can't believe GM would produce a flagship automobile with a finish that couldn't hold up through a brush less car wash. If you are going to use the car for touring, as I am, you won't have the opportunity to clean your car other than with a commercial car wash, chosen with common sense in mind. Yes, some poorly managed car washes can use dripping wet rags to wipe your dash and console and you will probably have problems. You can also experience problems with drivers who ram your car wheels against the guiding rails, but good wash joints have instructed their drivers how to position low profile tire wheels in guide rails. There are plenty of other opportunities to screw up your car, like driving it on a salted-sandy road, across desert roads or on a dirt road with crap flying all over. I seal all of my car finishes with a polymer urethane sealant ("Ultracoat Wax-protection plus",somewhat expensive from P&S Sales, but exceptionally hard and very easy to put on). I do it every 6-8 months. All of my cars have spectacular finishes. My advice is just use common sense and don't torment yourself.

  6. #5
    RockvilleXTS is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Car washes

    I had my last car, white diamond '08 STS for 4.5 years before I traded it last Dec. for the XTS. I had hand washed the car, including cleaning the leather, almost weekly the entire time (including winter, which isn't fun!). Never went through a car wash. All dealerships marveled at the finish when I shopped last year (including BMW! LOL). It also was garaged at home and work. I was asked a couple of times what wax I used. I only had it detailed once in the first 6 months, so in essence, none (by the end). I used Mother's car washing soap that has some sort of wax in it. Looked like new! Dealership sold it in a week after I traded it. Following the same course with my black diamond XTS, hoping for the same results!

  7. #6
    kipsts is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Car washes

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizbill View Post
    Ok, guys, what's the skinny about car washes? Do you or don't. Or, hire a kid with a bucket?
    Most of the time I hand wash SilverFox (Platinum XTS) but if I have taken a road trip and it is loaded with bugs etc I will take it through a brushless car wash (I drive it through) and it is hand dried. Never had any issues following the brushless car wash.

  8. #7
    SUPER LAC DEVILLE's Avatar
    SUPER LAC DEVILLE is online now Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizbill View Post
    Ok, guys, what's the skinny about car washes? Do you or don't. Or, hire a kid with a bucket?
    I work at a car wash and in Detailing so here's what I can tell u

    Car washes are essentially the worse place to take a vehicle for one reason in particular

    Those spinning and waving wraps whip and beat the dirt, grime off And into your paint job/clear coat

    It's absolutely NOT what your paint needs to go thru

    Car Washes make a huge amount of money off those drive thrus but its exactly the opposite of what your trying to do, although your car comes out "looking" clean... The truth is your paint job jus took a beating... Enough of these in a year and your gonna pay for PR's or a New Paint Job after so many years bc you've spent years of your money stripping the paint and clear coat from your vehicle

    That's why most Car Washes sell services such as Paint Renewal (PR) or Buff Waxing for the not so destroyed paint jobs... Another huge money maker

    The bottom line is, if u don't care about your paint and jus want a 2min car wash to make your car "look" clean, then Auto Car Washes are ideal... But keep in mind your paying to have your car beat up

    BUT, if your real intent is to REMOVE dirt and contaminants from your paint/clear coat, then nothing short of a decent car soap and water and New Microfiber Towels will achieve this process

    But that's not the end, the real finish is always gonna be a hand or buff wax to remove the contaminants from your clear coat

    The industry typical is usually a wax once a week, to keep your vehicle decently "clean" and shinny

    BUT, the problem is there isn't a Wax on the planet that will Actually remain with your vehicle that long...

    I don't care what any product or business states or suggests, it's physically impossible for a product to beat the harsh elements of this planet... And I don't care where u live... Wax doesn't last a week

    In reality, keeping your vehicle in show room condition is a LOT OF HARD WORK

    This actually requires a Hand Wash and hand or buff wax every two or three days...

    Once a Week is OK, but any dirt and contaminants left to Marinate on your vehicle will cause your clear coat to deteriorate and your paint to fade...

    Sorry for such a long response but simply saying Car Washes are no good doesn't really convey why they aren't.

    Some people don't care or don't understand what happens to their vehicle in those machine car washes... But I have no issue telling you what those businesses won't tell u or hope u don't know

    Hope this info helps and good luck




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    SUPER LAC DEVILLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockvilleXTS View Post
    I had my last car, white diamond '08 STS for 4.5 years before I traded it last Dec. for the XTS. I had hand washed the car, including cleaning the leather, almost weekly the entire time (including winter, which isn't fun!). Never went through a car wash. All dealerships marveled at the finish when I shopped last year (including BMW! LOL). It also was garaged at home and work. I was asked a couple of times what wax I used. I only had it detailed once in the first 6 months, so in essence, none (by the end). I used Mother's car washing soap that has some sort of wax in it. Looked like new! Dealership sold it in a week after I traded it. Following the same course with my black diamond XTS, hoping for the same results!
    Absolutely Decent Paint "Maintenance" !!! Good Job!!!


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    SUPER LAC DEVILLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r34220 View Post
    I would not use a cheap shampoo. Buy a good car wash soap (doesn't have to be expensive) . You should not just use water and a soft cloth. You need soap as lubrication to prevent scratches.
    EXACTLY!!!


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  11. #10
    SUPER LAC DEVILLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EldoRedo View Post
    I think the answer depends on how pristine you want to keep your finish. If you don't care all that much, then "brushless" car washes would be for you. If you care MORE -- then never hire a kid with a bucket -- unless he's a detail shop summer intern. Hand-washing a car is the best approach -- but it's not a job to be left in inexperienced hands -- a kid with a dirty sponge can do more damage to your paint than a car wash. Use just water and a soft cloth that you turn regularly -- or if you must use soap, use cheap shampoo.
    Definitely agree with a lot of what you said here!!!


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  12. #11
    amunderdog is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Car washes

    I think I remember that Car washes recycle there water and have to have there sediment tanks pumped.
    Even with well maintained equipment what your vehicle is being (pressure sprayed) washed with is not what you think it is.

  13. #12
    SUPER LAC DEVILLE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amunderdog
    I think I remember that Car washes recycle there water and have to have there sediment tanks pumped.
    Even with well maintained equipment what your vehicle is being (pressure sprayed) washed with is not what you think it is.
    That is true for a lot of car washes... It's another way they make money

    They essentially pressure spray your vehicle with the equivalent of sewage water...

    You don't smell it bc they use chlorine concentrates that kill or mask the smell of airborne bacteria

    If they didn't use reclaimed water the bill would eat their profits to death

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizbill
    Ok, guys, what's the skinny about car washes? Do you or don't. Or, hire a kid with a bucket?
    None of my cars, I mean NONE of them EVER go through a brush or "soft cloth" car wash. This is especially true if you have a dark car, especially black, which is very unforgiving with showing fine scratches and imperfections. White doesn't show the scratches as easily, but they are still there. The only thing I might compromise is the winter time if my car has a ton of road salt on it, I will go through a touch less car wash just to get some of the salt off it, but when doing that I fully recognize at the car isn't really clean so I will not dry it. The touch less just gets the big stuff off until the weather and my own time allows me to do a proper hand wash in my garage (or pay someone to do it).

    As for how often to wax, it really depends on what elements that your car is exposed to (i.e. tree sap, bird droppings, etc), but i think every few days or even once a week is excessive, especially if you are hand waxing using a quality product (not the spray on wax at the car wash that you get by paying an extra $1.00).

    Prior to my current CTS I would do a polish and wax every couple of months, but would hand wash at least every week, or sooner. Every one of my cars always had beautiful finish and I would often get comments from people thinking the car was new, even though it was several years old.

    Now my CTS is the first black car I have owned, specifically it is Black Diamond Tricoat. I still hand wash my car at least once a week, often times more. I will hand wax with a premium product (I use Meguiar's Show Car Glaze and NXT Gen wax) about once a month, but I will touch up weekly with Meguiar's Quik Spray Wax.

    Do not use sponges. Use quality mitt with a long nap to trap the dirt while washing. I also only microfiber towels.

    You will always get fine scratches. It's inevitable with a car that is a daily driver that is exposed to the elements, but keeping the car clean and always waxed helps minimize it and keeps the cars looking great for much longer.

    You get what you put into it. If you want to keep that showroom look you're going to have to work at it. I work hard to keep my car looking great and consequently people are always doing double takes when they see it. I can't tell you the compliments I get on it on a weekly basis.

  15. #14
    MikeM2013XTS is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    I noticed some scratch patterns after a couple of runs through an automatic car wash. I was mainly concerned about road salts from the winter. Also noticed some hazing from a birdshit incident that I cleaned promptly. This occurred after I had applied high quality Meguiar's wax/sealant. Bitched to dealer and they advised to opt for their Simoniz application. While not happy that I had to pay for protection that the paint did not provide. I've owned four STS's and never experienced the scratching in the paint for the other cars. I wonder if the new "environmentally responsible" paints are not as durable? Makes me want to run over a tree hugger.

  16. #15
    kipsts is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Car washes

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM2013XTS View Post
    I noticed some scratch patterns after a couple of runs through an automatic car wash. I was mainly concerned about road salts from the winter. Also noticed some hazing from a birdshit incident that I cleaned promptly. This occurred after I had applied high quality Meguiar's wax/sealant. Bitched to dealer and they advised to opt for their Simoniz application. While not happy that I had to pay for protection that the paint did not provide. I've owned four STS's and never experienced the scratching in the paint for the other cars. I wonder if the new "environmentally responsible" paints are not as durable? Makes me want to run over a tree hugger.
    If you do MikeM2013XTS try and keep the blood and guts off your car, it might damage the paint.

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