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Old 12-14-2011, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Automatic Car Wash for 2012 Forester

Hi,

I noticed that several forum members advised strongly against taking Forester to an automatic car wash.
Is that still the case with the 2012 Foresters or paint quality increased over time?

And what about touch less automatic car wash, is there a problem with that type of automatic Car Wash?

Thanks for your response!
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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no.

None of us detail-y guys are going to recommend a drive through carwash.. the one case could see is if you have just spent a weekend detailing your car and enjoyed it soo much you wanted to do it all over again.

Detailers have been known to argue for pages in threads over who makes the best grit guards for the bottom of your wash bucket.. or how many wipes of a microfiber towel before it is no good.. or whether clockwise circles polish better than perpendicular rows..

That huge whirling brush that touches every car is the thing of nightmares, plus there is the water that most likely recycled, and then you have to sit helpless and screaming inside and watch it happen to your car.. :shivers:

So in short; No, auto carwashes are not recommended, and it has nothing to do with Subaru paint.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Touchless is the only thing I will use. Especially here in the winter when I can't really wash my car for months on end.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nothing wrong with the touchless automatic car washes, unless you want your car clean.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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From what I've been told the problem with the touchless washes is that they use a fairly strong blend of chemicals in the bath solution to counteract the fact that nothing but water/solution is touching the vehicle. On a new vehicle this is obviously not as large of an issue but I've seen vehicles here in Seattle that have gone through Costcos touchless wash and came out with damage. In full disclosure I work at the detail shop that repaired the damage and the cars were not new but its certainly something to consider!

For my money I would use the highest quality/longest lasting paint sealant I could find and use that every time I had a chance to wash my car in the winter. I recommend Chemical Guys Jetseal 109 for this purpose - its expensive but the stuff is AMAZING!
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sure you can take your Forester through the auto wash. I wouldn't take any vehicle through an auto wash for all kinds of reasons though.

Chips can become larger, rubber seals can be compromised, moisture can get into unintended places, harsh chemicals used in touchless process can accelerate aging of rubber and plastics. Not to mention the fact that touchless car washes don't wash the dirt off the car.

Rinsing with manual pressure wash is much better as you can direct the spray away from seals.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok, it seems that I misunderstood.
Automatic car wash fear doesn't have anything to do with paint quality of Forester vehicles, it is a rule of thumb for "detail-y guys" and apply across the board.
I feel better, my impression after reading couple of threads was that quality of Forester paint is very low.

Thanks for clarification...
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For those tempted to use a car wash with the flailing brushes, one of the risks is getting either the rear wiper or the rooftop antenna ripped off.
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Another reason not mentioned is that if you wax your car, going to a touchless car wash is going to strip the wax off the car in one wash. Most of the car washes use a strong detergent (like a dawn dish liquid) to try and break down any grease and road residue on the vehicle paint, since they are not actually wiping down the car. This strong soap strips the wax off the paint and if you don't get their wax option of a "super wash" your paint is basically unprotected. And don't get me started on their spray on waxes ...
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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AWDFT brought up a good point. Up north we dont have the luxury of washing the Forester in the driveway, detailing it and waxing it during the winter months. So I would rather take it through a touchless car wash and remove all the salt and chemicals than nothing. Or I could just build my own indoor car wash, but who has the money for that anyways.
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I'll admit on occasion I've taken mine through an automatic car wash, mainly after my shoulder surgery. I have the hood protector, front underspoiler, sports grille and rear spoiler that were all installed by myself and haven't had any issues with the car wash breaking something. I know its not always the best but when you're in a pinch (or only have 1 arm) and want your car looking clean I don't see anything wrong with going through one.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I've seen some places convert the Automatic Car Washes to Hand Wash Stations. So instead of the machinery they have people inside washing the car while it rolls through using scrubbing mitts.

I've used the one in Hemet, CA a couple times after I've detail the car myself and the swirls did not return after going through and kept the shine. Now looking for a new location in Vista due to my recent move.
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:33 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mule View Post
AWDFT brought up a good point. Up north we dont have the luxury of washing the Forester in the driveway, detailing it and waxing it during the winter months.
lol, up north eh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumachn View Post
I've seen some places convert the Automatic Car Washes to Hand Wash Stations. So instead of the machinery they have people inside washing the car while it rolls through using scrubbing mitts.
Hmm, I would still be concerned about the 'scrubbing mitts' and their operators..

Why not go to a hand spray carwash? Most are clean, warm, and even have a whole wall of smelly air fresheners you can buy..
Drive in, Spray out the brush (or use your own mitt if you're the detailed type), Soap, Rinse, Wax, ohh Spotless rinse-yes please..
Usually takes 5 minutes and costs around $5.. Drive away with a clean car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkoppee View Post
I know its not always the best but when you're in a pinch (or only have 1 arm).
Bring a friend?
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I hand washed my car the other day and used some drying clothes from autozone and it left swirl marks in the paint. awesome.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I like to get the salt off of my car in the winter and I will drive it thru a spray car wash (no brushes or other crap hanging down). I did this for years with a 1997 Monte Carlo and never had any issues with paint. The same with other cars. I had to replace the rear window spray nozzle on my 2007 Subaru Impreza Wagon that I think a "brushless" car wash ripped off the car. Actually I had to buy another one and put it on because it was missing.
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