Washed Car via Car Wash? Swirlies?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by theturtle, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. theturtle macrumors 6502a

    Aug 3, 2009
    Hello guys,

    I usually hand wash my car but with all the snow we had recently I thought it would be best if I got a car wash through those drive in car washes.

    While it came out sparkly, under the right light, I saw ALOT of swirls :(

    My question to you guys is, do the annoyance of swirls marks continue to bother you or do they eventually become like phones and you just don't really care about them.

    I was contemplating on getting the car detailed but the 300 my guy is charging is a bit off putting and you have to remove clear coat, which im not a big fan of.

    Oh well. Just wanted to vent. I guess there really is anything to do.

    ANDDD its snowing again. :p
  2. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
  3. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Really the only solution to avoid swirl marks is to not get them in the first place. I know it sucks, but I typically only use touch-less car wash places or do it by hand and only use the pressure washer (no brush). That's for my wife's new Camry... my old Mercedes, well that's another story lol. Its paint has seen better days (it's a 96) so the brush is just fine for it ;)

    Winter sucks, doesn't it? I can't wait until spring so I can give both cars a good once over, wax, and detailing...

    I've had bad luck buffing on my own. May just be me, but every time I've tried the car either looks worse (black cars) or, at best, no better. Seems to be possible, of course - maybe I just don't have the right "hand" for it lol.
  4. theturtle thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 3, 2009
    I was contemplating that. Then I remembered im a lazy (in the sense that you have to dedicate 4-6 hours to do a good job) and a complete dunce when it comes to those types of things. Theres a high (VERY HIGH) probability that I would do more harm than good.
  5. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Then you might have to bite the bullet and pay a professional to do it for you. The one I know details for the local Audi dealer, so I know he's good. For $300 he will do the entire car. If you have the money, I think its worth it.
  6. theturtle thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 3, 2009
    Yeah I know :eek:

    Im in the stage at the moment of whether I want to get it removed or just live with it. Im a type of person that really likes to be thorough and the "unknowns" of polishing and removing clear coats might be the determining factor in me just leaving it be.

    Still, one stupid car wash and i got my first swirls after holding out a year.

    Thats not to say I didn't have rock chips or other little marks hahah :p

    Its just because the swirls are "new" in a sense
  7. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    No detailer removes the clear coat. Clear coat is actual clear paint over the top of the colored paint. Today, all metallic paint is covered with clear coat, and some solid colors are as well, on some but not all cars.

    Buffing a car of course is a mechanical action which uses polishes and some minuscule amount of paint is removed, but you can do this regularly for years and it will be fine.

    Swirls happen and buffing is an art. Some so-called detailers are awful at buffing. Spend the effort to find someone who is actually good at it, who does the luxury cars in your area? Call the service dept of high-end car dealers and ask.

    Doing it yourself is not a good idea. Do not take that advice. It is not easy to do correctly despite the ads for magic chemicals and devices.

    Just do this when needed, not all the time. It will last a long time barring misfortune or accidents.
  8. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Some of the new car washes are either "touchless" which are not as effective for cleaning, but don't leave marks, or they have these large wide cloth looking strips that move back and forth. In all cases avoid the swirling nylon finish ruiners, which I think are on the way out. I prefer to wash the car myself.
  9. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I do touch-free, hand wash or have my dealer do it (it's a Subaru, they'll do it weekly for free if it's above freezing). I'll say this, despite other people's complaints about how "soft" this paint is, I have a hard time seeing swirl marks in the paint and it's 2 1/2 years old, though it IS silver so it may be hiding them. I'm fairly confident the dealer doesn't have a touch-free wash (I can tell by the patterns left in the residual dirt on the rear window).
  10. puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    Never use a non touchless carwash.

    When possible, wash by hand (I realize in winter most people can't do this) using the two bucket method.

    However, even when you do have access to either a car wash bay in your apartment's garage (as I do) or you go to a 24 hour coin operated one late at night when there's nobody there and you can bring all of your buckets and supplies (never ever use the brush they have which aside from being flat out filthy just plain looks like the type of damaging bristles you'd use in a brush to sweep the garage floor) and spend a few hours (as I used to do), in the winter there is usually just too much salt on the car to dare drag any sponge of any kind through, even if you are presoaking with a foam cannon and pre-rinsing...in the winter, I usually go to the touchless auto one (yeah I hate the chemicals in those too compared to my boutique stuff I use at home) right before I am to hand wash it...this way I get the majority (not all, face it - touch carwashes damage your paint and touchless ones don't get the car clean - and as a sidebar this is why dealers always use a damaging touch wash, so the cars can actually be clean for new car delivery time) of the salt off, to the point I can then presoak and prerinse at home before a sponge has to touch the paint. Hand wax every other wash all winter long and that helps make the salt wash off easier.
  11. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    While being fortunate to live in an area that doesn't incur the wrath of snow and salted roads etc, swirls do bother me as well. The only time I had issues with swirls is at a regular car wash. Fortunately, I was able to go for a clay compound job that pretty much brought the paint back to looking like new.

    The above is not something to do often but perhaps every 2-3 years. In between, I wash the car myself and also go to particular car washes that have a good reputation for coat applications (wax etc.). The biggest challenge in my neck of the woods is how to do the wash myself with the least amount of water. (You folks have snow and salt, we have worries about using too much water.)
  12. Shift Option K macrumors regular

    Shift Option K

    Nov 26, 2013
    Being in an area where it doesn't snow and the only salt is found around some bodies of water, I have never use a car wash on my current car and carefully hand wash my car so when there are swirls I get instant OCD. Did you know that there are brushless car washes that only use water? So I used those when I was too lazy to hand wash. Perfect everytime zero swirls.
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Gotta keep that mini van looking hot! :p
  14. Shift Option K macrumors regular

    Shift Option K

    Nov 26, 2013
    Lol... And the BMW I plan to purchase. I wonder how much washing the minivan would need after I get married, have kids, and go take it back from my parents place putting the BMW there instead?
  15. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    OP: You didn't say what color your car is. In my experience, black cars tend to show swirls and other dirt the most, silver the least. Only you can decide whether you care enough to have them removed, which any decent detailer should be able to do.

    I'll resist playing off your forum name by telling you to use Turtle Wax.

    Darn, too late... :)

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