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      01-08-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
nicknaz
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Z4 in automatic touchless car wash?

Hey everyone, who's taken their E89 through an automatic car wash?

I double checked the manual and it doesn't say to avoid touchless or other car washes, and another forum is suggesting the roof seals are fine in such a car wash

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=493043

Anyone have real world experience with this?

I've been so busy with work I haven't had a chance to hand wash myself, and I trust the automatic touchless machines not to damage the paint much more than the random hand wash places here in San Diego.
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      01-08-2013, 02:55 PM   #2
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Dealer did tell me not to go through touchless as the soap they use can be corrosive to the roof seals, I think that would happen if you use it excessively, I've only tried it once just to see if there were indeed any leaks from the water pressure. To my surprise, none at all! the roof and windows are sealed better than my last VW EOS.

I still wouldn't risk excessive touchless wash for the strong soap they use, but I find self-serve coin washes quite good during the winter, where hand wash is just too brave.

random handwash places are sketchy imo. If i'm going to have the car hand washed it would be my own hands.
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      01-08-2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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I did use a high pressure hose to clean my car and every time the roof seal leaked, so whenever doing that part would not aim the hose at it!!!!
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      01-08-2013, 05:14 PM   #4
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I haven't had any leaks from the automatic touchless car washes and I use them fairly regularly.
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      01-08-2013, 05:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raven333 View Post
I did use a high pressure hose to clean my car and every time the roof seal leaked, so whenever doing that part would not aim the hose at it!!!!
Where you spraying the seals "for extended periods of time" or from closer than 12 inches?

Thanks for the heads up about the pressure washer
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      01-08-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerjph View Post
Don't do it. You will get scratches. Trust me.
How do you get scratches from touchless car wash?
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      01-08-2013, 10:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morfinx View Post
How do you get scratches from touchless car wash?
Shit. I misread. Disregard my last post.

Still though I would avoid it unless it is like -10F and you car is covered in bird crap.
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      01-08-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morfinx View Post
I haven't had any leaks from the automatic touchless car washes and I use them fairly regularly.
Ditto
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      01-10-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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Been through one several times this winter. I don't like the soap, but it beats the hell outta me doing it in 35F and rainy weather. Never noticed a leak. As to the soap eating the seal??? if that happens, BMw better step up. That would be absurd.

Pretty soon I'll have my external hot water hose bib plumbed and I'll hand wash from them on out.
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      01-11-2013, 02:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for the reassurance everyone! I took my Z into an automatic touchless car wash this evening and the came out with a dry exterior!

Unfortunately, I also came out with a decent amount of road grime still on the exterior so I'll have to follow up with a hand wash this weekend anyway.
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      01-11-2013, 04:11 AM   #11
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I would never take the Z4 through any automatic car wash, but that's just me. Too many things to go wrong in addition to just generally not doing a good job. I agree that folks that have to drive in winter climates have it tough in that regard, but I would think/hope there would be a reputable enclosed hand-wash place that would wash it for you for a reasonable price.

I live about 1,000 feet from a Laser Wash, and I've been tempted. But to me spending 60-90 minutes gently washing it myself is time well spent.
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      01-11-2013, 04:33 AM   #12
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I too always hand wash mine. Partly because the paintwork is immaculate and partly because you never know what angles some of that high pressure water is at... you're just one jet and one seal away from a very wet interior!
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      01-11-2013, 07:52 AM   #13
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I found this quote in a car magazine and i think it applies to most enthusiasts: "I had a nightmare that I let somebody wash my car!...i woke up in cold sweat screaming"

it was an ad for car wash soap

*i dont think everyone has an ability to do this but i personally prefer it
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      01-11-2013, 10:44 AM   #14
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Hand wash of course is the best since one only uses recommended car wash materials as recommended by BMW.

As for the touch free or other car washes one never knows what effect the cleaning detergents they use has on your many retractable hardtop seals. Keep in mind that seal deterioration will only happen as time moves on.

When I had my Z4 and did not have time to hand wash I used a self service car wash that has the high pressure nozzles and only used the "Rinse" to clean the car dirt off never the soap option.
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      01-11-2013, 04:35 PM   #15
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I hear you guys on hand washing. I try to hand wash whenever possible so I am 100% sure the cleaning is done how I prefer. As I'm sure you all know sometimes other stuff has to get prioritized over cleaning the car by hand.

Interesting speculation on the soap corroding seals. My personal speculation is that is a little bit of marketing hype from soap companies combining with typical OCD enthusiast paranoia. I would love to see tech on how the soap compares with the everyday smog / pollutants our cars are subjected to regularly anyway.

Now that I know the car's roof seals are tight enough for this particular car wash I'm going to stretch out my hand washes by maintaining the car at this touchless place.
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      01-13-2013, 07:49 PM   #16
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I have been using a touchless car wash on mine for almost 3 years this May and I have not had any leaks yet.
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      01-14-2013, 08:44 AM   #17
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I think the main problem with the touchless systems is the soap they use. It will strip wax off your car and if left on the paint for an extended time it will cause spotting that is extremely difficult to remove. Some are worse than others.
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      01-14-2013, 03:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morfinx View Post
I haven't had any leaks from the automatic touchless car washes and I use them fairly regularly.
I havent had any issues either
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