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E90 M3 (Sedan) | E92 M3 (Coupe) | E93 M3 (Convertible) (2008-2013) {Engine: S65 - Max Hp: 414 hp (420 hp Euro) at 8,300 rpm / 295 lb/ft at 3,900 rpm}


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Old Fri, Aug-05-2016, 07:28:46 AM   #1
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Default Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

So, this might go on record as one of the stupidest questions asked around here, but I would rather be safe than sorry ha.

I usually alternate between washing a car myself, or taking it to get done through one of those quick automatic places you find at gas stations and whatnot.

However this being a 2011 E92, I want to preserve this car as much as possible and as long as possible, and I want to know if I should stick to doing it all myself, washing and waxing, or if it's "ok" to take it to get done by either some wash crew, or the automatic places.

My concerns are, those automatic machines that wash your car, is there any risk of getting my car scratched up by those flappy things that slap around your car? I know one drawback is that they flat out won't do as thorough a job, which depending on how dirty it is, might not be toooo much of an issue if I am in a hurry, but my main concern is, am I damaging my car in the process?

Second question, do the car wash places that have a crew that details your car, can they be trusted to do a good job? I have only been to one of these places once with a different car, and while they seemed to do a decent job, it also wasn't as nice of a car and I wasn't as picky at the time.

Third, if waxing the car is something I should aboslutely do myself, then can anyone give me tips, and recommend me the best wax to get? And if I am waxing myself, should I also wax the carbon fiber hood?

Again, sorry if any of these questions are ridiculous.
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Old Fri, Aug-05-2016, 02:16:05 PM   #2
EnVe46
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

Ive used automatic for other vehicles but wont for my M3 unless its a dire need and no other choice. I used to detail cars so I take pride in doing it myself and you're right on the potential of light scratches from the auto washes. Sure those places that have a crew doing it may do alright, but they always put too much tire shine on, never get windows perfect which is a pet peeve of mine and they suck at vacuuming. My opinion is do it yourself as much as possible, use microfiber wash mit and do it by hand. Chemical guys has a nice one I just bought from amazon as well as some other goodies from them. To be honest, any wax will "do the job", carnauba wax is a good daily wax for "inexperienced" detailers since its easy to apply and remove and does a decent job protecting it. You can get higher end stuff if you want, Zymol is good stuff thats found off the shelf. I just switched to Chemical Guys since they're stuff is highly rated and was suggested by a reliable person.
As far as waxing goes, dont go in circles!!! This promotes swirls. Instead wax in the direction the panel was painted, so the hood roof trunk is front to back as well as the sides. Depending on the condition of your paint, you may need to do steps prior to waxing. Every change of season if your car is a daily, I like to clay bar, polish, seal and wax the car. Clay bar will remove any contaminants and leave your paint smooth as butter. Invest in a nice orbital buffer if you can, it makes waxing and polishing a breeze. When it comes to removal, go in circles acting like a buffing motion and use multiple quality microfiber towels. Then what I like to do last is put the car in the sun and let it get warm. This will dry up any wax you may have missed and you'll be able to see it. I also have a weird theory by heating the wax up a bit youll be able to polish a little more. Whether thats the case or not I just like to do it. When you're 100% done, look down the side of the car in multiple angles as well as the top and look for any missed wax residue. Use a clean, fresh microfiber for final wipe down. One thing to note, I like to sometimes use car painters tape to cover any black trim that may get wax on it, thatll prevent any white marks on the trim.

This may seem drawn out but its what I have done since I was 12 and did this for 3 yrs in college as well as mobile detailing. Its extremely easy with a basic wash, wax. Start from top down. I also clean the wheels first, this way while you're cleaning the wheels, water spots wont dry and form on the rest of the car. Good luck!
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Old Fri, Aug-05-2016, 10:27:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

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Originally Posted by EnVe46 View Post
Ive used automatic for other vehicles but wont for my M3 unless its a dire need and no other choice. I used to detail cars so I take pride in doing it myself and you're right on the potential of light scratches from the auto washes. Sure those places that have a crew doing it may do alright, but they always put too much tire shine on, never get windows perfect which is a pet peeve of mine and they suck at vacuuming. My opinion is do it yourself as much as possible, use microfiber wash mit and do it by hand. Chemical guys has a nice one I just bought from amazon as well as some other goodies from them. To be honest, any wax will "do the job", carnauba wax is a good daily wax for "inexperienced" detailers since its easy to apply and remove and does a decent job protecting it. You can get higher end stuff if you want, Zymol is good stuff thats found off the shelf. I just switched to Chemical Guys since they're stuff is highly rated and was suggested by a reliable person.
As far as waxing goes, dont go in circles!!! This promotes swirls. Instead wax in the direction the panel was painted, so the hood roof trunk is front to back as well as the sides. Depending on the condition of your paint, you may need to do steps prior to waxing. Every change of season if your car is a daily, I like to clay bar, polish, seal and wax the car. Clay bar will remove any contaminants and leave your paint smooth as butter. Invest in a nice orbital buffer if you can, it makes waxing and polishing a breeze. When it comes to removal, go in circles acting like a buffing motion and use multiple quality microfiber towels. Then what I like to do last is put the car in the sun and let it get warm. This will dry up any wax you may have missed and you'll be able to see it. I also have a weird theory by heating the wax up a bit youll be able to polish a little more. Whether thats the case or not I just like to do it. When you're 100% done, look down the side of the car in multiple angles as well as the top and look for any missed wax residue. Use a clean, fresh microfiber for final wipe down. One thing to note, I like to sometimes use car painters tape to cover any black trim that may get wax on it, thatll prevent any white marks on the trim.

This may seem drawn out but its what I have done since I was 12 and did this for 3 yrs in college as well as mobile detailing. Its extremely easy with a basic wash, wax. Start from top down. I also clean the wheels first, this way while you're cleaning the wheels, water spots wont dry and form on the rest of the car. Good luck!
wow, all of this is extremely helpful, thanks a lot for the input!!

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Old Sat, Aug-06-2016, 12:24:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

Yes sir, good luck and post some pics!


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Old Mon, Aug-08-2016, 09:58:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

In Germany it's illegal to wash your car on your driveway so most people go through car washes. I've not played with this much in the US, but stay away from touchless ones. I'd prefer one where the car moves through, rather than a stationary gas-station one. Lastly, once you've found one you like, ask how often they wash the slapper things and other internals, and then show up when they've been freshly washed.
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Old Mon, Aug-08-2016, 11:31:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

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In Germany it's illegal to wash your car on your driveway so most people go through car washes. I've not played with this much in the US, but stay away from touchless ones. I'd prefer one where the car moves through, rather than a stationary gas-station one. Lastly, once you've found one you like, ask how often they wash the slapper things and other internals, and then show up when they've been freshly washed.
I hear in some parts of California, the rule is in affect as well. Due to the droughts they have there, it's all about water conservation.

I think it's absolutely ridiculous not being able to wash your own car on your own property though. I'm extremely detail oriented so don't trust any machines, I enjoy doing it myself, and I also pay for water that I use here in Illinois.
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Old Tue, Aug-09-2016, 04:45:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

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Originally Posted by Voss View Post
I hear in some parts of California, the rule is in affect as well. Due to the droughts they have there, it's all about water conservation.

I think it's absolutely ridiculous not being able to wash your own car on your own property though. I'm extremely detail oriented so don't trust any machines, I enjoy doing it myself, and I also pay for water that I use here in Illinois.
Yea, that's a good idea, I do live in California and need to look into it.

We are aaaalways in a drought.
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Old Thu, Aug-11-2016, 06:55:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voss View Post
I hear in some parts of California, the rule is in affect as well. Due to the droughts they have there, it's all about water conservation.

I think it's absolutely ridiculous not being able to wash your own car on your own property though. I'm extremely detail oriented so don't trust any machines, I enjoy doing it myself, and I also pay for water that I use here in Illinois.
I wash my car whenever i want at home using a pressure washer. I pay to use my water, although I don't waste it
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Old Sun, Aug-14-2016, 05:38:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

I do mine myself, I will take mine to a touchless wash in the winter. The thing you have to realize, the soap the touchless use is so strong, it strips the wax off, so keep that in mind.
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Old Sun, Aug-14-2016, 06:09:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes

taking ur car to a car wash that uses those filthy abrasive brushes is a HUGE mistake. you'll come out with millions of swirl marks with one pass. The touchless ones are better but don't really clean your car. neither one does a good job anyhow.

1) Two bucket system with two wash mitts (one for the top half, one for the bottom half of the car)
2)dry with leaf blower
3)eliminate water spots with meguiars quick detailer and a clean microfiber towel.

anything outside of this is doing it wrong.
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Discussing Car Wash/Wax Question: DIY vs Car Washes in the E90 M3 (Sedan) | E92 M3 (Coupe) | E93 M3 (Convertible) (2008-2013) Forum - {Engine: S65 - Max Hp: 414 hp (420 hp Euro) at 8,300 rpm / 295 lb/ft at 3,900 rpm} at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)