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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > Cosmetic Maintenance: Wash, Wax, Detailing, Repairs > Keeping the Car (Relatively) Clean for Super Lazy / Busy People
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      06-18-2012, 12:56 PM   #1
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Keeping the Car (Relatively) Clean for Super Lazy / Busy People

I have a new Imperial Blue car and it shows dirt quite quickly. I am fine with the car looking a little dirty - I am not going to be able to wash it (or have it washed) multiple times a week. I know this probably horrifies some of you, but so be it. I think twice a month - by hand or taking it somewhere quick - is probably about the most that will happen.

I don't mind washing the car myself in the warm months. But we have at least 3-4 months here where it is too cold and there is no way I'm going to hand wash the car. I know some of you are brave and have methods you swear by, etc, but I'm telling you for me it is not going to happen. And I'm not going to spend more than 45 minutes on the car if I do something by hand.

I am also not going to pay a fortune to someone to detail my car all the time. My finances are all tied up in paying for this car!

I know there are endless debates about detailing. I am not obsessive and just want to avoid the absolute worst.

So what is the general consensus on the least terrible of automated car washes for those of us (like me) who are not obsessive about detailing? If I'm not going to hand wash/detail (often), should I get wax from the automated car wash?
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      06-19-2012, 11:05 AM   #2

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Get your car Opti-coated if you're going to use auto car washes. It will protect the paint for years, and keep it shiny with no effort.
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      06-22-2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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Here's my .02

If you want the car to stay good looking you should at least

1) consider paint protection film
2) use a high quality wax/sealant.
a) I recently found a 1-2x/yr apllication stuff that has worked very well on my Elise. "HD nitro seal" is the name...it's expensive, but it lasts rather well. and I'm a huge fan. (first time I've spent much on a "wax/sealant")
3) California car duster can help keep things looking 1/2 decent for longer periods in areas like I live where rain is rare.

Automated vs hand washing is a hard one. I don't believe for one second that automated washes will actually harm your paint (they may blast some things into your paint, but I've never seen it personally.) Having said that, I'm not a fan of hurricane forced water getting blasted @ my car so I generally avoid them.

The self serve car wash is on its way out (sadly) as to me it is the second best option (after hand washing @ home - which is currently outlawed here due to water restrictions). use the double bucket method and you will save yourself from some swirls.

Car care questions? visit autopia.org forums...those guys know their stuff....much better than I.
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      08-30-2012, 11:07 PM   #4
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Many restrictions here on washing cars at home due to water issues. I was thinking of the regular tunnel wash and skip the kids with towels drying at the end and dry it myself. Thoughts?
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      09-21-2012, 10:54 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by nmduke2001 View Post
Many restrictions here on washing cars at home due to water issues. I was thinking of the regular tunnel wash and skip the kids with towels drying at the end and dry it myself. Thoughts?
Unless you go through a brushless system, tunnel car washes are going to scratch your paint.

100's of cars going through, and those brushes are picking up dirt and grime. Unlike the two-bucket hand wash method, which get rid of picked up grime before reapplying soap.

The only way the auto car wash brushes get rid of grime is by rubbing it on your car.
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      09-21-2012, 08:31 PM   #6
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Like Bananachipz said - Opticoat !!! research it. It's a permanent sealant like product that is professionally applied that is like a second clear coat. It won't come off even with multiple washes, etc. Only way to remove it is to polish it off. When it rains the water just beads off and it is much easier to keep it clean. Not cheap but you never have to wax again.

I'm picking our car tomorrow and it's getting an Opticoat treatment the following weekend.
2013 328i Sport Line, Mineral Grey, Black, sport auto,

2014 Carrera S, Agate grey, black int, 7spd manual

2015 BMW M235i, Estoril Blue, blk int, 6spd MT, m perf exhaust, m perf rear diffuser
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      12-07-2012, 07:41 PM   #7
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I would recommend getting a pressure washer and using a wash and wax detergent. It will definitely speed up your car wash experience, plus you can do it as needed.

Look around and you can get some decent pressure washers for slightly over $100.

If you want a more finished look, definitely get a good wax, afterwards you can touch up with quick spay-on waxes.
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