I haven't gone there with my new car yet, argh...dread. But, I don't want my car to be dirty all winter and the outside hoses on my property have been turned off for the winter (so the lines don't freeze).
I tried washing with a bucket which seemed to work pretty well but I'm sure all the salt from the last snow storm is still on the undercarriage. I will inevitably have to go to the only carwash located in my area...and it sucks. Why can't they just build one by me that has the do-it-yourself stuff?
Anyway, my advice is do what you have to do. Some of us don't have many choices and yes, those car washes will probably at least make some minor swirl marks on your paint.
Pros of Vancouver: mild temperature
Con: Not tropical
It's now sometimes cold enough to snow. It'll snow a tiny bit, but by midday, it's crept up warm enough to melt, so the car is wet, then it freezes overnight and the car is covered in ice.
This melt and freeze thing is what makes potholes and breaks stuff...
Snow that turns into water will find it's way into every pit, pore, nook and cranny in the wax, then when it freezes to ice, it expands, breaking it.
If that's all you've got available, but I think touchless is your best bet. There's a place I found that is touchless, sprays your under carriage as you move into the bay, then this big contraption moves around your car while you sit still. I should open one myself!
Does a decent job, especially if you live in an area that needs to salt the roads in the winter. I wouldn't use the foaming brush in a self service bay because they usually end up on the ground and full of dirty. It just ends up scratching the finish.
I know that drive thru car washes are "bad", but what is more damaging to paint....
1) 4 Tons of Salt caked on you car?
2) Going to a drive thru C.W.?
I'm with the rest of you on the whole winter driving thing. Way too cold to do it yourself. Ever hear the saying "your dammed if you do and dammed if you don't"?
And another thing, for you guys with intakes. Is it even possible to go through a car wash and have that water shoot up at the bottom of your car? I know there is a splash guard to protect the intakes (AEM or whatever), but car washes seem much more harsh.
I hand wash my car everytime. One problem you might get with drive throught car wash is your rotor may get damage overtime. You do not want rotor and break pad to get cool down with cold water. Just my 2 cents.
Ok, I need some help. I'm disgusted at looking at my car now since the last time I washed/ polished/ and wax was in Oct. After about 4 (was it 3?) major snow storms, I want to wash my car at one of those DIY Carwashes. There is one in Gillete, NJ near Sterling practically on the border. Anyways, I don't know if they have a dryer machines thingy, those HUGE BLOWERS, I think i'll bring towells....How much quaters do they charge, do they have a time limit?, if so, what is it?
I HATE SALT!!!! WHY CAN'T WE ALL PLOW SNOW WITHOUT THAT CRAP
Then again why do I have to live in New Jersey and go to NYC every weekend....*sighs* poop
I couldn't sleep at night if I just left my car dirty so I use the drive through all the time. It's cheap, quick and doesn't make your hands cold doing it (at least in PA it doesn't). Besides, if I can take a 50K SUV through a car wash, I'd be stupid in thinking that a 20K vehicle couldn't go through.
Oh yea, as for damaging the paint. My theory is you get more (much more) damage driving on the highway every day then you ever would by going through a car wash. But then again, that is just MY theory. I just hand washed, and froze my @zz off, yesterday and saw that my front end is loaded with rock chips. I know for a fact that they didn't come from a car wash.
I use carwash all the time. Just make sure you spray down the brush realy good if you use it. I never use automatic. But realy the only way to scratch your car is if their are rocks in the brush. So spray them out.