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Sitting on a park bench..
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those folks out in the 'Woostah" area, there's a new car wash in Westboro on Rte. 9 E, just past the Lexus/Honda dealer and before the Target store.

It's one of those brushless types....I pulled in the other day thinking it was a self serve bay but got scared off as I've never taken my car thru an automatic car wash like Scrub-a-Dub. You basically pull in and the wands go 'round your car, never to touch it.

Question is, has anyone tried this (or others like it)? With winter coming, it may become problematic to wash the car by hand, even w/ my "wellies" and rubber gloves. This may be a good (no damage) solution for an occasional wash? Dunno how much dinero.
 

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heh...lame
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I once drove out to Auburn to go to Ernie's. That is also touchless, just uses water. Although, Ernie's puts you on a track which can I guess possibly damage wheels if you are not lined up correctly. Folks also don't always like *THAT* much water spraying on the car. It sprays like a bat out of hell...seems to me it could still damage paint if the car is really dirty.

It also sprayed a lot of water into the hood scoop which I didn't like.
 

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Sitting on a park bench..
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
pezboy said:
I once drove out to Auburn to go to Ernie's. That is also touchless, just uses water. Although, Ernie's puts you on a track which can I guess possibly damage wheels if you are not lined up correctly. Folks also don't always like *THAT* much water spraying on the car. It sprays like a bat out of hell...seems to me it could still damage paint if the car is really dirty.

It also sprayed a lot of water into the hood scoop which I didn't like.
Yeah, it's the track part that can really do damage at S-a-D.....I've seen that many of them don't allow MINIs 'cause of their low ground clearance (among others). This one in Westboro is sized like a self-serve bay (which is why I pulled into it) and there's no track, so the car remains stationary. 1/2 of the potential damage equation eliminated, the other 1/2 being brushes (which are not here either).
 

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heh...lame
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Ohhh yah...duh. We just went to one of those with the Trooper down in Virginia. It did alright but was really really really high pressure. It was just at the local Texaco or something.
 

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Domestic Motor Pool Chief
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Leary of high pressure

My last act of kindness to my 1985 Fiero GT that I traded in for my MCS last April was to give it a wash at one of the local hand held wand places. Not only did it remove much dirt, it actually blasted off some of the paint. I finished the job very carefully by holding the wand much further away.
 

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drive it like i stole it
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I used the diy car wash once, that brush was the equivelent of 80 grit sandpaper, what a mistake !!!
now its strictly hand wash...special bucket, soap, polish and wax from mini and special mitt.
 

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Privileged & Gifted
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The recycled water at a place I took my Family Van was almost noxious. The kids were gagging. Smelled like a sandbar at lowtide. Nothing like washing your car in a swamp.

Hey Max of the Mad variety. Greetings from Maxamini.
 

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is the best approach
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149 Posts
Touchless? - Almost...

Anywhere in the Northeast, road salt is your #1 enemy. That's why I'm storing the MINI for winters;). Our POS Hyundai will probably melt in another year with only 60K on it...

For my other cars, I've had pretty good luck with Ernie's in Worcester (still not as good as Delta-Sonic in WNY). The problem with the MINI at Ernie's is that the rail hits the left rear suspension - just a little nick on the bottom shock mount. I even made up a cardboard gauge to check - you need the rail to be < 3-3/4" high for my 215/45-16 Azenis, or about 4" for the stock 16's.

In general, I think that touchless washes are well worth it for the Winter only. I've never had any paint damage issues, except the black on diecast aluminum parts (mirror & wiper arms). The robot assembly-line type that follows your car's contour work best - they still don't reach a lot of places, but I think getting the salt & crap out from underneath your car is still the most important thing anyway.

The "rotating arm" type is really wimpy by comparison & does nothing for your undercarriage AFAIK. So, if I was driving the MINI through the winter, I would still take it through Ernie's every time it got full of road salt. Rotating brushes are best reserved for extreme emergencies.
 

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Sitting on a park bench..
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, unfortunately I don't have an older car to drive, gave that to my son.....I may just take it thru this Westboro wash tho' to see how it does....or drive over and watch some others. As you say, only in an emergency, i.e. days of road salt, etc.
 

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likes pork
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I've never had bad luck with the high power spray car washes. Since I live in an apartment and don't have access to a hose, I really have no choice but to use a carwash... even in the summer. IMO, The secret to a healthy exterior is rinsing it off often and getting it detailed twice a year. Any sort of minor damage that a high powered spray wash will do (or even a soft-brush car wash for that matter) should be easily buffed out by a good detailer.
 

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Yo! Ol' Man!
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Having used Ernie's in Wistah a few times I can tell you that if you have only yourself in the car and are low on gas you will go through without scrapping on their track with 16" runflats and stock springs and they do an OK job (undercarriage better than rear end!). I use them in a pinch 'cus my daughter gave me coupons, but they will exchange them for the wash-it-yourself-bay tokens if you are so inclined... :silver:
 
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