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Cosmetic Maintenance: Washing, Waxing, Detailing, Bodywork, Protection Anything related to keeping your Camaro clean and in good cosmetic condition.

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:35 PM   #1
smarbrit
 
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Can Touchless Car Washes Scratch Car

My car was hit with hail damage in August. My insurance company provided a body shop to complete the repairs. When I went to pick up my car I noticed it was scratched to hell. Like swirl marks all over the car. I pointed this out to the body shop and they tried to tell me that car washes will scratch the paint. I told them not likely as I paid for the extra protection and confirmed this with the dealer. They took the car back and buffed out some of the scratches so some panels look new again, but not everything. This irritates me everytime I see the car in the sun.

Is this true? I got the car in July and the damage happened in August, repairs completed in early September. There has been nothing on the car like snow brushes or anything.

My car was keyed a week ago and I want the repair completed, I just want to ensure I have some ammo for the insurance company to say I am not going back to the other body shop if they try to make this recommendation.

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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Touchless carwashes dont scratch paint, and especially don't create swirl patterns. Both can occur with brush car washes though. Touchless car washes can be strong enough to loosen paint though.

My car is over 3 years old now (Picked up June 1, 2009) and it still has no swirl marks (Silver). Not sure about yellow. There is a possibility you can put swirl marks in it when you hand wash it.

Were the marks there before you took it to them? I would guess not. They just need to buff out the imperfections. Use someone else. Sounds like some shoddy work.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:00 PM   #3
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I'd have to see a picture of the touchless car wash in question. There is ALWAYS a chance of inducing damage during a wash.

Were the marks left by the body shop left to look like they were buffer marks or marks from a bad wash? The buffer marks would look like machine trails, almost like holograms. The bad wash marks would look like a typical swirl mark or spider web mark.

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Old 10-18-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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I haven't used a touched car wash in over 15 years as I know they can scratch. I've been using the same car wash for the last 5 years with no issues. I have not hand washed my car for this very reason. The car was in mint condition, other than the hail damage, when it went in. I KNOW there were no scratches on it as I check all the time.

I won't take it back to them. As the car is at the dealer today for snow tires, I've asked their body shop to take a look at the keyed area and provide a quote. When this repair is done, I will ask them to buff the rest of the car.

I just found it odd this guy would try to say something like this to me. I may be a woman, but I have always loved cars and do know a thing or two about them.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
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My guess is someone dried the car with dirty/crappy towels. This is a common way scratches get introduced. I had a dealer wash my 2010 to be nice. (The thought was good.) They used a dirty towel to dry and left a massive swirl mark on my trunk lid. I told them to polish it out and to please not wash it again.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smarbrit View Post
I haven't used a touched car wash in over 15 years as I know they can scratch. I've been using the same car wash for the last 5 years with no issues. I have not hand washed my car for this very reason. The car was in mint condition, other than the hail damage, when it went in. I KNOW there were no scratches on it as I check all the time.

I won't take it back to them. As the car is at the dealer today for snow tires, I've asked their body shop to take a look at the keyed area and provide a quote. When this repair is done, I will ask them to buff the rest of the car.

I just found it odd this guy would try to say something like this to me. I may be a woman, but I have always loved cars and do know a thing or two about them.
I wouldn't, they'll probably make the problem worse.

Do it yourself, and you can do it right

Or pay a proper professional to do it!
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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There are a lot of things that can go wrong real quick without a proper wash technique. Having Two Buckets with Grit Guards in the bottom of each one, one for rinse, one for wash, a pH neutral Car Shampoo, two wash pads...one for the upper 2/3 and one for the lower 1/3,using something like Detail Spray for a Drying Agent, with a Great White Drying Towel. The absolute safest method of drying would be using forced, filtered air, like a Master Blaster. The less you touch the car, the less likely you are to induce damage. After all, we are all human.

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Old 10-18-2012, 04:02 PM   #8
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I can grab a photo of the car wash I use (its an Esso station). These are definite swirl marks - wax on/wax off... I agree, likely a dirty cloth. I watched another camaro and charger go through it a week ago, I don't believe this is the cause.

If I cause damage to my car, that's one thing, but someone else...not cool. My boyfriend can't figure out the turn radius and has hit 2 curbs (he drives a Tundra so its not rocket science) - both times with me in the car, I was livid with him.

Maybe next summer I'll start looking at hand washing myself, with winter coming, it will be quick trips through the car wash on nice days.

I've never had to deal with a body shop until this year so this is a new experience for me.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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No. A touch less car wash can not scratch paint.

*In life, there are no nandroids*
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CamaroDreams07 View Post
No. A touch less car wash can not scratch paint.

*In life, there are no nandroids*
Correct. The touchless process itself will not scratch a car... the false sense of 'clean' it gives people is generally where it becomes a problem. People think a touchless cleans the car completely, when in reality there is a film on the finish. Wiping the paint after a touchless without extreme care generally will lead to swirls.

The other issue, and something I've tested pretty extensively on my own, is the types of detergents used. For a 'soap' to clean effectively without any mechanical agitation means its most likely highly acidic or highly alkaline, neither being ideal for your cars finish.

It will strip, or at the very least degrade, the wax/sealant protection on the paint.

Its also rather harsh on trim, like the rubber gasketing around windows.

IMO (take it for what its worth) a touchless is really only a good thing for 'pre-washing' (run it thru the touchless, go home and perform another full 2 bucket hand wash) when you have a pretty substantial buildup of gunk.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for your regular washes.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:37 PM   #11
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Only if it is black. Black will scratch if you look at it.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #12
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Technically it could.

They spray pretty hard and rock chips sprayed off could extract revenge. Still unlikely.


They're good for the winter but it leaves a film of dirt that it won't remove.
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