Actually a very good question that needs a bit of caution... although their (car wash) web site notes using 10 gal of 'fresh water' per wash it also notes "rest of water is recycled and reused after filtering" so to me the issue is how it is filtered. It would have to be a very fine filtering system otherwise you could end up with fine grit being pressured wash onto your car.
For me (and I am totally type A++) I would never take a car of mine thru any sort of car wash and thus I do my own, but with that said I understand not everyone is that focused or has ability/interest/equipment to wash their own car.
I too am completely unwilling to put a car wash in the hands of someone else, regardless of the equipment. It might be fine, but I don't know. Anyway, a hand wash is a great way to get to know your car, examine the fit and finish, and simply feel good about it. Then again, in the midst of an Ohio winter I might feeling absolutely different 8)
I say, what is more important would be to protect your car first, especially if your car is still new. There many tech like ceramic coating, clear wrap ect... to make it easier for you to remove dirt afterwards. At a minimum i would put a layer or two of sealant on the front third of the car.
I always hand wash all the cars myself, i would rather let the car sit and accumulate a thin layer of dirt instead of using a convenient car wash. If you dont have time you can simply use a pressure washer to soap>sit>rinse your car in the evening. Especially if you protect and seal the car in the beginning the pressure washer will remove most of the debris until you can give it a proper wash later.
LOL i have no real solution to wheels and brake dust, learn to live with these very dusty but great mercedes pad or change to a ceramic mix pad.
There is a lot to be said for both. The paints today and clear coats are made to stand up to car washes. Car washes has undercarriage power wash which will remove dirt and stuff that collects there and can lead to rust and added weight. Washing your self does give you a chance to inspect the car as you are washing it. As for scratches both can possibly produce some scratches. If self wash are you using the two bucket process where the wash cloth/mitten is rinsed each time before washing another section as dirt can build up in the cloth and scratch the car or the water can get so dirty that it remains in the cloth and cause a scratch. The best thing is clay bar the car like twice a year and always use a wax or detail spray after each wash to protect the finish that helps to keep it clean.
I've hand-washed my car from day one. It's nice that this service uses pressure wash-like machines as opposed to the giant brush mops, but to me, that would only be part of the process. Like Wayne said, it's also a time for me to check out the condition of my paint to see if it needs a polish, clay barring, or whatnot. That's something you can only determine by feeling the paint and closely examining. This may quick be a solution if someone was in a hurry and just needed their car to look presentable in a pinch, but I would never rely on this as a main means of taking care of my car and it's paint... especially for a Mercedes... even more especially for and AMG. I've seen people go through car washes and get the works, including waxes that get sprayed all over the "entire" car through automation. The big problem with that is there are some parts that shouldn't be waxed (i.e. plastic and rubber trim). Over time, their rubber and plastics faded and cracked prematurely because of it. IMO, if you really want the best care for the look of your car, either do it yourself or hire a detailing professional
My mercedes benz dealer sold me (forced me) to buy a paint protection with 5 years warranty on micro scratches.
The warranty covers a full paint job if you get some.
When I got my car, I noticed they did not applied the magic product, so I have a few micro scratches already on the black paint.
I'm supposed to get my car back from maintenance Monday, so I've scheduled an appointement with my sales guy for the micro scratches...
We will see what this proctection covers... maybe they will just buff the entire car...
I used to use the diy car wash but then i found that you are supposed to wash a car when it's cool, so i started doing it my self then driving around to dry it off. I got the clay bar and the random orbital polisher for the wax and it's pretty ez. When the car was new i drove 45 minutes to have a film applied to the front but the guy didn't make it into work as his wife was having a baby that day, i wish i had rescheduled b/c the car has collected some small chips. Now and then a brushless car wash probably wouldn't do much damage.
I've always found it therapeutic to wash my cars by hand. Plus, you get so much better results vs. an automatic car wash. And as the above poster said, you literally get a feel for chips and scratches, etc.
Northern Vermont winters and the huge amount of brine put on the roads makes the car wash essential, because of the undercarriage wash. At my local place you can pay for two undercarriage spray cycles as the car goes through. Then in the summer there is the dirt road dust to contend with (why did I ever move here?!? Oh it is beautiful!). Anyway the other interesting tidbit is that the Mercedes dealer in Burlington does not recommend undercoating. They feel that the car is sufficiently protected from rust. Any opinions on that?
The question about undercoating is do not do it. Most reports and studies says no. The cars to day is treated for rust as they are built and many items are not metal subject to rust. Some report that the undercoating can crack and moisture will be behind the undercoating and will cause rust. It also adds weight to the car which will reduce your gas milage.
After all these years, I've a process that I really like, rarely using a commercial car wash and then only at a do-it-yourself no touch facility when faced with heavy layers of dirt or really cold temps. No bucket required and never in direct sunshine...
I rinse the car using a hose, spray it all over with car wash from a spray bottle, lightly spray the car with water to suds up the car wash, then use a brush you'll find on the link below from Griot's Garage to clean the surfaces. Then rinse off the car, run the wipers, open the hood and trunk to drain them off and then use a large terrycloth towel to dry, starting with the windows. The whole process can be don in under 15 minutes.
The Boar's Head Brush is expensive ($75.99) but will not scratch the paint and is very efficient. I simply hang the brush and let it air dry. Here is the link where you'll find it:
One other thing -- have you tried a clay bar treatment from AutoZone or similar store after a good wash to remove grit and grime, tree sap, etc.? I really makes a difference, particularly on dark colors.
I bought recently a pressure washer, and I use it for washing my beloved car. It's more comfortable and easier to wash with water pressure. I know that such gadgets are very expensive, but I found where to buy them at a very accessible price. I bought mine from Best Pressure Washer Under 200. Now, I really enjoy washing my car. Every Saturday I'm doing my job with my pressure washer. It's made of high-quality materials and it's very compact, so I can store it easily in my garage. Anyway, the biggest advantage is the price of it.
I hand wash, only. I don't let the dealership wash my vehicles either as dealing with the hard water spots they leave are more work to remove than my washing effort.
I'm always a bit nervous about using a pressure washer as of course you have to be vigilant as to the spray head distance/angle, even with the appropriate wand adapter attached, so as not to etch the paint.
The other potential negative for a pressure washer is that it may drive water into places it shouldn't be. Case in point, I no longer wash the engine bay but rather hand wipe with a gentle cleaner made for same to keep the myriad electronics & connectors safe.
I'll just stick to soap bucket with strainer, mitt or soft brush, and town water pressure.
All the best and I do applaud that you're taking the initiative, as I notice most people around me rarely even clean their vehicles.
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