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Old 07-09-2013, 03:13 AM   #1
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Default Taking C5 to a Car Wash

How many owners here use commercial car washes to clean your cars. I'm asking because I'm a new owner, and already have had a few bad experiences. At purchase, my car came with new paint for all horizontal surfaces, to cover up some moderate road pitting. I let the paint cure for over a month before taking it to a car wash. After the wash, the car was covered in swirl marks, where there was none before. I complained to the manager, and was told that it normal for a black car. The paintjob supposedly has a lifetime warranty from the dealer I bought from, but I bet they will call this abuse, and not cover it. The next car wash I tried (different one) looked a little better, no new swirls, but after I got home and was cleaning my wheel/tires, I noticed my two driver side wheels had severe rim rash from rolling in the tire guide chain. I imagin most owners do their own washing and polishing, but arthritis prevents me from doing all but the very easiest tasks. Does anyone have other ideas about cleaning? Off-Line Wash, or Portable detail service, or keep looking for ONE decent car wash that does quality work. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Sorry for the long post.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:17 AM   #2
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Find a detailer who knows Corvettes (paint/clear) and make sure you can trust him. Sorry about your arthritis keeping you from working on your Vette. That is one of the things that makes this car special. Good luck. Oh and your post is not too long. You had a question and you came to the right place. I'm sure more of the guys will chime in.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:48 AM   #3
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I take mine to the car wash but not the automated. My truck has plenty of character on the paint so I don't worry about the automated car brushes and the tracking devises. However my vette, even though the paint is not perfect, I don't let it near those automated car washes unless it's a brushless wash. The problem is the brushless do not clean too good. I would say however in your situation 3 brushless washes and 1 detail, wash/wax per month would keep you looking good.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:05 AM   #4
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So far, I've been using the so-called Hand Wash places, but I guess if they're using dirty rags to wash with it doesn't help.Next time I'll try the touchless washes, ans use my own Clean towels for drying. If no luck there, I'll be down to detail shops or mobile guys. Thanks for the suggestions. It gets depressing seeing your car scratched up and not knowing how to stop it.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:10 AM   #5
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Most car washes will give you swirls. Automated ones use the same brush over and over, and stones and dirt accumulate on it and causes the swirling. The hand wash ones reuse the same rags and it's the same story.

Find a kid in the neighborhood looking for some pocket change maybe? Show him the way you want it washed (2 buckets, wheels at the end with a separate rag, etc etc). And maybe have someone detail the car once a year. Swirls can usually be mostly removed with the proper equipment/technique.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:00 AM   #6
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I use a car wash several time a week on my DD white c-5. The black c-5, no friggin' way. I used bottled Evian to rinse it off.

PS some of us do wash our own cars..You might want to attempt that, it ain't rocket surgery.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Phanni View Post
I use a car wash several time a week on my DD white c-5. The black c-5, no friggin' way. I used bottled Evian to rinse it off.

PS some of us do wash our own cars..You might want to attempt that, it ain't rocket surgery.
You might want to read his post again

"I imagine most owners do their own washing and polishing, but arthritis prevents me from doing all but the very easiest tasks"
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:15 AM   #8
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haven't been to car wash since about 1971 . gulf gas station used to offer free car wash with a fill up and we used to use this service on our 1969 pontiac gto . i wash wifes 3 cars and sons one car by hand .
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:16 AM   #9
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I'm not a veteran when it comes to ownership of a Vette, but under your circumstances with the arthritis, I might suggest the following. Have a professional detail it including paint correction. Once it's got a good coat of polish and wax....purchase a soap "gun" for your regular wash. Wash off the major grime, soak it good with the soap "gun", rinse well and dry. Perhaps a master blaster dryer will even make the drying easier, it does for me. Using a waterless wash, if your car is garaged all the time, could also be a solution once the paint has been corrected. Hope you find what works for you. If you were in my neck of the woods I'd be happy to wash it for you.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:20 AM   #10
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The touchless car washes around here are pretty good. I would say for you that would be safest on you and your car. There must be plenty in your area. Or a detailing shop or mobile detail as was mentioned.

I won't go to car washes with brushes, I've had a car get pretty scratched up by going through one of those and haven't used one since.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:48 AM   #11
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Are there any young teenage boys (or girls) in your neighborhood? You might consider finding one to wash your car in your driveway on a regular basis. I'm sure many young people would be thrilled to wash a Corvette for a few bucks.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:12 AM   #12
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Please let me tell an arthritis story.

About three years ago the town doctor retired and his daughter gave him an old two cylinder John Deere tractor because he had always dreamed about working the few acres around his home. The tractor broke soon afterward and he was devastated.

The JD dealership didn't want to fix it even considering this town doctor had probably delivered more than half of its present residents, he is held in very high regard by the whole community.

I moved to this area only about ten years ago but knew of this doctor through my church; however, not personally.

One day he phoned and asked me to come look at his tractor - a mutual friend had told him that many years ago I had restored and enjoyed pulling antique JD tractors. It was a mess - his son-in-law helped him tear it apart thinking they would be able to fix it. It was strewn all over a large two car garage but wasn't apart enough to get to the broken parts - they were stymied!

I saw a very emotional tractor owner standing there asking me to help him and of course I couldn't refuse.

It took about a year to finish the work and that doctor and his family are very happy about the resolution of the problem.

Now to the C5 part:

By now my early interest in good cars had been awakened. I built and raced rail jobs at the local quarter mile track every weekend I could get one running as well as drove a chopped and channeled early Ford coupe along with a few others up until the early sixties when I was sent overseas to help with military projects.

Now fifty years later, with time on my hands, I decided that the tractor work had made me feel much better physically. My almost crippling arthritis was not causing me to just take it easy. Thinking I needed another project to keep the joints limber I started to think about having something to drive that was exciting again.

That "something" turned out to be a C5. It's amazing how caring for that car is keeping me limber, even driving it is good physical therapy. It isn't all that smooth with the run flats, one knows he is driving a strong vehicle. The front has to be set up on stands to wash it, the wheels have to be removed to clean the back of the rims and tires as well as wash the wheel wells, etc. One neighbor who sold auto detailing supplies for many years before retiring comes over, sits and shakes his head saying he never saw a car detailed that thoroughly in all his years.

Well I'm not back in the fifties but think I am.

So do what you can with that new to you Corvette, everybody will be glad!
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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I take mine to a local car wash, but never run it through the automated wash. I just use the self service bays and it works very well.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:47 AM   #14
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I would never even consider an automated car wash. I use the power spray car washes quite often, especially in the winter. As to the swirls, there are a plethora of threads on the forum about paint care, washing, polishing and waxing but in a nutshell, you need a good swirl removing compound and a good oscillating buffer like a Porter Cable and you can buff out those swirls. If you have a black car, you're going to need to take care of swirls on something like an annual basis. There's no way to avoid them completely and on black they show up more than on any other color.

Paint problems aside, congratulations on your new vette and welcome to the Forum. I hope you really enjoy the ride!
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:57 AM   #15
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I agree with most of the above. Would never, ever take mine to an automated car wash. Find a mature teen and guide him on how you want it done. Remember, black is not a Vette color, it's a career!!
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:57 AM   #16
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Sorry about your condition! I don't use 'em but what MIGHT work....

What do you guys think of using a hose Foamer as a presoak followed by one of those high pressure self wash places where you do it yourself with a spray hose?

Foam at home to serve as a "pre-wash" and then drive to self serve wash? Assuming of course there's one available reasonably close by.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:02 AM   #17
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No, I would never take a Corvette through a tunnel car wash.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:12 AM   #18
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You've unfortunately chosen the most god awful color for keeping clean. Just wait until spring time next year when the pollen is out in full force - then you'll be really mad at black.

Best part about Millenium Yellow - pollen blends right in.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:20 AM   #19
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The first year I got my car I took it through touch-less washes weekly cause I didn't have a hose. This year I have been 2 bucket washing it weekly. It is without a doubt cleaner now than any car I have had before. But it looked fine with weekly touch-less washes imo.

I can say some touch-less washes do a half *** job, some actually get the car pretty darn clean if its just dusty. I would generally spot clean it immediately with detailer and a micro fiber if there was a spot of road tar or bird poo.

Last edited by Socko; 07-09-2013 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:07 AM   #20
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I have arthritis as well although I still work on and wash my car - it just takes me longer. A good two bucket car wash including wheels and drying takes me about two hours. I keep a rubber gardener's kneeling pad with me so I can get on my knees to wash the lower parts of the car and the wheels. I just expect to be a little wet myself when I'm finished.. I would recommend that you get a serious detail with clay bar and a long lasting polish like Zaino; the car will stay clean longer and be easier to clean when it does get dirty. That said I have an acquaintance where i live. He has two newer Ferraris, both dark grey. He told me that he never washes them. After he takes one out for a drive he goes over the car with a detail spray and cloths; I think he uses Auto Glym. His cars always look immaculate.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:07 AM
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