How do I wash my car in 20 degree weather? - 5Series.net - Forums


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Old 12-18-2008, 07:41 PM   #1
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So I come back home from school yesterday and clearly, my dad has been driving my car to and from work in the icy weather Chicago's been having lately, and all this road salt is caked to the side of the car. Ok, fine, he bought it, it's his, but when I'm home and the car's dirty, it's my fault, so I'm trying to get this fixed.

I know nothing about paint care, but I'm guessing hosing it off with freezing cold water in freezing cold weather would only invite ice to form and that doesn't sound too good either. Most car washes are closed when it's close to or below freezing, but I still haven't physically gone and checked to see if that's true or not in my area.Still, I'm pretty sure the BMW sales rep who sold us the car said that the dealerships complimentary car washes ended when it was below freezing.

So now comes the hard part for me, since I feel like the answer's straightforward, but I'm still not getting it. How do I take care of this road salt? It has to be off the car, I know that, but what's the proper way of doing it? Hosing off with cold water, bucket of warm water and hand wash it, or are car washes supposed to be opened during this kind of weather?
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:50 PM   #2
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I use a Foam Cannon and spray the car down and let the soap work it's way into the dirt and salt. I then spray it down really good and do the Foam Cannon again, to loosen up any particles I missed on round 1. I then have 2 buckets and a new set of mitts. One bucket is just water. The other is soapy water. I wash one section at a time with the mitts and clean them off in the water bucket, before submerging in the soapy bucket again. I then wash section by section until the car is clean. This is the best way to prevent swirls and scratches, especially since it's not only salt that's caked on your car, but dirt and road grime too.

And yes, I even do this in the winter when it's freezing in NY too. It sucks, but it's the only way. If you take it to a carwash, you're going to end up with scratches. It's inevitable in the winter.
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:19 PM   #3
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Find a nice hand car wash place. There is one about 15 minutes away for $20. They clean the inside too. If you want wax, its $40. I'm sure Chicago has some good hand car wash places.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigxdoof' post='748453' date='Dec 18 2008, 09:19 PM
Find a nice hand car wash place. There is one about 15 minutes away for $20. They clean the inside too. If you want wax, its $40. I'm sure Chicago has some good hand car wash places.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C's Bimmer' post='748442' date='Dec 19 2008, 04:50 AM
I use a Foam Cannon and spray the car down and let the soap work it's way into the dirt and salt. I then spray it down really good and do the Foam Cannon again, to loosen up any particles I missed on round 1. I then have 2 buckets and a new set of mitts. One bucket is just water. The other is soapy water. I wash one section at a time with the mitts and clean them off in the water bucket, before submerging in the soapy bucket again. I then wash section by section until the car is clean. This is the best way to prevent swirls and scratches, especially since it's not only salt that's caked on your car, but dirt and road grime too.

And yes, I even do this in the winter when it's freezing in NY too. It sucks, but it's the only way. If you take it to a carwash, you're going to end up with scratches. It's inevitable in the winter.
Wow!! Someone else that is as "anal" as me!! Good man!!
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:21 PM   #6
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C is absolutely right!
And it's not even anal what he said. Just get familiar with www.autopia.org!
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:15 PM   #7
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It warmer here on LI. You always get above freezing within a day or two. Chicago probably stays below freezing longer, I go to the car wash when it's freezing, you want to get the salt off of the suspension too. Even C's Bimmer is not anal enough to do that by hand-or is he?
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:53 AM   #8
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I hope you spent a little extra at the dealership and bought the under coating and rust proofing options!!!

As others have said, it its a quality car wash place (meaning $$) they are usually open during the winter months, look to spend $30-$50 or so. However most good gas station touch free car washes are still open during the winter time, they usually have garage doors thats close when inside and although they dont do a tip top job they'll get most of the contaminants off the car, which is what your really looking for during the winter months.


I usually dont drive my car in the snow or when its nasty, but occationally in Denver Ill get caught in a storm or something and I usually follow it up in the next day or two with one of those coin operated places and spray the car down.

Again, the key is just to not let those ice slicer chemicals and what not sit on the paint on your car. You dont have to worry about the paint after a wash and the water just freezes...it wont hurt the finish.

Finally do a good wax job twice a year, once right before winter and once before summer.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westcoast M5' post='748484' date='Dec 19 2008, 01:38 AM
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:35 AM   #10
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i have hot water run to my garage and run a hose from it and use that.
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