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Old 01-04-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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Stupid Question- OK to go through car wash in winter?

As the title says.. I'm kind of ignorant and have gotten different answers from different people. I stopped going to the carwash when it got cold but my black car looks AWFUL. I heard a drive in car wash gets water under the car and it might freeze or just be bad for the car. Others have said its perfectly safe.

Its way too cold to stand outside and wipe my car down myself with my little rag... plus last time I did that, all it did was make white smudges all over..

I think the car wash is open near me, their sign lights up- I just don't want to drive over there and have them look at me like I'm crazy because it's common sense not to wash a car in freezing temperature.... so is it?
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:24 PM   #2
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And driving in snow and sleet doesn't get water under the car that will later freeze? I've never heard it wasn't safe to wash a car in Winter. Knock yourself out.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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As long as you go to one that doesn't whip your car with brushes or rags, it is fine. The road sand is very abrasive to the finish, so you really want it to be washed off (gently, not with super high pressure) rather than wiped against the paint. If the salt is not thoroughly rinsed off, you will get the white streaks as it dries.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTScott View Post
As long as you go to one that doesn't whip your car with brushes or rags, it is fine. The road sand is very abrasive to the finish, so you really want it to be washed off (gently, not with super high pressure) rather than wiped against the paint. If the salt is not thoroughly rinsed off, you will get the white streaks as it dries.

this. no touch is fine.

you should open all doors and wipe the seals dry with a clean rag before
parking overnight below freezing... or it may be hard to get back in the next day after a wash
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:31 PM   #5
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Thanks =) =) Didn't think about it needing no touch, I'll look for that!
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:34 PM   #6
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no touch? wiirenet, i must be noobier than you... what does no touch mean?

Last edited by Yarold n Kumar; 01-05-2010 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:34 PM   #7
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no touch? wiirenet, i must be noobier than you... what does no touch mean?
Some drive through car washes are called "Touchless Car Washes". They do not whack your car with brushes or rags, but instead just use water jets. They don't do the greatest job of completely cleaning a sand and salt covered car, but at least they don't scratch the finish like the others do.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wiirenet View Post
As the title says.. I'm kind of ignorant and have gotten different answers from different people. I stopped going to the carwash when it got cold but my black car looks AWFUL. I heard a drive in car wash gets water under the car and it might freeze or just be bad for the car. Others have said its perfectly safe.

Its way too cold to stand outside and wipe my car down myself with my little rag... plus last time I did that, all it did was make white smudges all over..

I think the car wash is open near me, their sign lights up- I just don't want to drive over there and have them look at me like I'm crazy because it's common sense not to wash a car in freezing temperature.... so is it?
Winter is basically the only time I run my sedan through a carwash.
Only one local wash has a rail low enough to accomdate my lowered sedan when on the short winter rubber. This place does a nice job inside and out if requested. Worth the bucks to keep it tidy through the winter when too cold to DIY in the driveway. And the bottom-blaster is priceless to get rid of the salt, sand and frozen treats.
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:12 AM   #9
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It's OK to wash your car in winter, just wipe down the seals and doorways after the wash, as said. Also when temperatures are freezing (below 0C), if possible, drive around a little while after the carwash with the heater on. This will make sure less moisture stays in the car once you park it. Also, use lock oil for doors and rear hatch after the wash, as water can get in there too.

As for no touch, I wouldn't recommend it. From personal experience, it just doesn't do the job in winter conditions. A thorough rinse after the actual wash should be enough to loosen the dirt up so it won't damage the paintwork too much. Guess you'll have to see if no touch is enough for your car.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:06 PM   #10
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I run my car through a car wash with cloth brushes regularly. No problems.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:11 PM   #11
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I run my car through a car wash with cloth brushes regularly. No problems.
Obviously it will be less noticable on a white car versus a black one!

Touchless is the way to go, it won't get your car competely clean but it will remove a lot of the dirt. Plus, it'll just get dirty again pretty quick so run it through every once and a while to remove all that nasty road salt you northerns have to deal with!

BTW, it's a very good question!

Cheers! M2
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:30 PM   #12
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I'm a fan of the "do it yourself" places that have the spray gun. Like the touchless, you don't rub scratches into the paint, and you can get a thorough rinse int he fender wells and lower parts of the car where road crap builds up. It won't get your car REALLY shiny and clean, but it will get the salt/dirt off your car. When I lived in cold-weather areas, I washed it at a place like that, then did a hand-wash with dish gloves and a rag from home to get the car really clean, then rinsed it again. If the car wash isn't busy, noone ever seemed to mind, and I didn't take long in that cold weather!
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:38 PM   #13
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I'm a fan of the "do it yourself" places that have the spray gun. Like the touchless, you don't rub scratches into the paint, and you can get a thorough rinse int he fender wells and lower parts of the car where road crap builds up. It won't get your car REALLY shiny and clean, but it will get the salt/dirt off your car. When I lived in cold-weather areas, I washed it at a place like that, then did a hand-wash with dish gloves and a rag from home to get the car really clean, then rinsed it again. If the car wash isn't busy, noone ever seemed to mind, and I didn't take long in that cold weather!
When it's cold, we tend to work faster....at least I do.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:45 PM   #14
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i just make sure i wash it on a sunny day IN THE DAY so the doors don't freeze shut.

i washed mine yesterday at a powerwash self-serve place....no problems at all, really
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:54 AM   #15
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those are some really good tips. i know last week, here in alabama we had single digit temps, and for the first time ever, my car doors actually froze shut! it was bizzare considering i live in flipping alabama, but i just parked it with the drivers side facing the sun and let it thaw for bout an hr and that did the job.

on thing i hate about winters here is the ice that forms on the cars at night when temps drop, and then melts during the day when it warms up, leaving water spots all over my beautiful silver car:( drives me crazy....
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Last edited by waitntodwnsize; 01-16-2010 at 12:55 AM. Reason: spelling... whoops
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:48 AM   #16
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All the northern states need to get with the times. Up here they just use treated sand, and all that does is keeps it from clumping together. No salt or chemicals. It's pretty awesome. :)

Quote:
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you should open all doors and wipe the seals dry with a clean rag before parking overnight below freezing... or it may be hard to get back in the next day after a wash
I find that if you apply Armor All to the seals every once in a while, you don't have to worry about the doors freezing shut. Ever.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:46 PM   #17
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I appreciate all the replies everyone, thanks!
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