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Before I screw up my Model 3 in the car wash...

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
1,923
1,903
Houston
I have been using ONRW (the green with wax) in a gallon of distilled (to prevent spotting) water, and microfiber towel drying with a spritz of Opti-Seal. Amazing products. The car comes out as slick and shiny as after a full bore wash followed by vigorous Carnauba waxing.

But now I'm fed up. In California we have a lot of sandy dust. Very quickly there's an accumulation of dust that makes the whole exercise pointless. Sure, on days 1 and 2, given the ONR you can just wipe/dust the car off. Then on day 3, even 4, it quick-rinses off ok. But after that the dust gets stickier, the trees add pollen or whatever trees do for fun, and you want another wash. AAARGH! I tried a car cover and mainly succeeded in micro-scratching the paint. And the water restrictions ...

Anybody come up with a way to better deal with the Deadly Dust Disaster ?

Connect the car body to a powerful ionizer (might help with thieves too)?


View attachment 670019

In that case, I would wash, clay, polish, and DIY ceramic coat. Then you will have a slicker and smoother surface so the dust and other stuff doesn't stick so well. You can repeat every 1-2 years. With the new surface, a California Duster will keep it clean.
 
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MikeyC

Member
Aug 19, 2019
383
546
Florida
Of course just using ONR directly on a very grungy surface is silly. Do a quick rinse pass before the ONR, so there's no grit there to grind into the finish. The ONRW + OptiSeal is like a good wash and waxing with much less elbow grease. The results from a soft cloth car wash will depend on lots of factors and what they use for waxing.

Agreed. I got ONR mostly for dust/pollen situations. Most of my problem is road grit though (from rain) and that really should be rinsed off: at which point ONR becomes just OR. Might as well just wash/dry the car at that point if I have to rinse it off with my hose and 250 PPM hard well water.

Mike
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,101
959
Encino, CA
But now I'm fed up. In California we have a lot of sandy dust. Very quickly there's an accumulation of dust that makes the whole exercise pointless. Sure, on days 1 and 2, given the ONR you can just wipe/dust the car off. Then on day 3, even 4, it quick-rinses off ok. But after that the dust gets stickier, the trees add pollen or whatever trees do for fun, and you want another wash. AAARGH! I tried a car cover and mainly succeeded in micro-scratching the paint. And the water restrictions ...

Anybody come up with a way to better deal with the Deadly Dust Disaster ?

I agree with you that a car cover is not a great solution in that it usually induces scratches.

Unless you can park the car in an enclosed garage or a nearly enclosed car port, there is no way to avoid the dust. All you can do is try different products to protect your paint and/or make it easier to clean the dust.

As TLLMRRJ mentioned, you could apply a ceramic coating, which the dust would have a harder time sticking to and would make it easier to wash off. If you don't want to go the route of a ceramic coating, you could try a ceramic-infused spray sealant instead of the OptiSeal and see if the dust doesn't stick as much or is easier to come off. If you like Optimum products, you could try Opticoat's Hyper Seal. Opticoat is Optimum's professional line and Hyper Seal is their ceramic spray sealant. I once did half my hood in OptiSeal and the other half in Hyper Seal and the HS side did look glossier and had longer-lasting protection. Another ceramic spray sealant to consider is Griot's Garage 3-in-1 Wax.

Other than that, all you can do is more frequent rinseless and/or waterless washes.
 

Zinjan

First Principles
Mar 9, 2020
14
-1
NC
I admit hand washing would be ideal and I did that all my life until I found this car wash. It can do in 3 minutes what it takes me 45 minutes to do and it does as good a job as I can, at least to 95%. Add maybe 5 minutes to that 3 minutes to wipe down places that don't get dry like inside the doors, around the rear hatch, etc. My problem is I live in an area that has love bugs for 5 weeks straight twice a year and if you don't get them off within a couple hours, they etch the paint. So having a reliable and safe car wash is a big plus. Add to that the fact that in the summer, we have thunderstorms almost every day, and I just had to find a non-manual way. I won't even go into all the towns I drive through using their sprinklers mid day to "water down" the streets. It's just too much for this 54 year old to keep up with and have a clean car.

Edit: I have a subscription to the car wash: $30/mo and I can go through there as many times as I like. I've used it on my 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT (black), a Chevy Volt, and a Chevy Bolt. Never had anything but great results with no issues. Worst thing that ever happened is it would sometimes push my passenger side mirror in and I'd have to get out and pop it back forward.

Mike
Ah Florida love bugs! I completely understand why you’re going to a car wash. what are your thoughts on spraying cooking oil on front in order to reduce the bugs adhesion?
 

MikeyC

Member
Aug 19, 2019
383
546
Florida
Ah Florida love bugs! I completely understand why you’re going to a car wash. what are your thoughts on spraying cooking oil on front in order to reduce the bugs adhesion?

I've tried it all: cooking spray, dryer sheets, wax, detailing spray. For a couple years, I used a product called Bug & Tar Shield. You spray it on the bumper and it creates a barrier where you at least don't have to get them off right away: you can go a few days because the bugs never reach the paint. I stopped using it just because it's not that easy to wash off. What works best for me is making sure to apply a good wax prior to lovebug season. Then when you get some on the car, you can spray a little detailing spray on the hits and wipe them off. The detailing spray leaves the surface slick so the next time you do it, it's still easy to wipe them off. If I get an overabundance of hits, I'll wash off the front bumper and then apply detailing spray. Just wiping them off with detailing spray only is good if you only have a dozen or so hits but if the bumper is full of them, just wash them off.

Interesting tidbit: the bugs themselves are not acidic enough to etch the paint. It's when bacteria starts to act on them that causes the pH to drop that starts the etching. I've found you can leave them on for about 24 hours with no ill effect but if you don't get them off within a day, they become so acidic that paint damage starts to happen.

Mike
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,101
959
Encino, CA
Ah Florida love bugs! I completely understand why you’re going to a car wash. what are your thoughts on spraying cooking oil on front in order to reduce the bugs adhesion?

Although some people suggest using cooking oil or even WD-40 to remove bugs, I would avoid putting anything containing oils on your car paint. The reason being that once applied to your paint, cooking oil or WD-40 may be really hard to wash off the paint especially if it is hot and it dries on the paint. It can then actually ATTRACT dirt. It's the same reason why water-based tire dressings are usually recommended over silicone dressings.

Normal, pH neutral car soaps will not remove grease or oils, so to wash cooking oil or WD-40 off your paint, you have to use a car soap that has a high pH. These types of soaps are usually used to strip off waxes and sealants. So if you use cooking oil or WD-40, you have to be prepared to wash the area with a high pH soap and then reapply your wax or sealant.
 
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MikeyC

Member
Aug 19, 2019
383
546
Florida
Although some people suggest using cooking oil or even WD-40 to remove bugs, I would avoid putting anything containing oils on your car paint. The reason being that once applied to your paint, cooking oil or WD-40 may be really hard to wash off the paint especially if it is hot and it dries on the paint. It can then actually ATTRACT dirt. It's the same reason why water-based tire dressings are usually recommended over silicone dressings.

Normal, pH neutral car soaps will not remove grease or oils, so to wash cooking oil or WD-40 off your paint, you have to use a car soap that has a high pH. These types of soaps are usually used to strip off waxes and sealants. So if you use cooking oil or WD-40, you have to be prepared to wash the area with a high pH soap and then reapply your wax or sealant.

^ This... and I've also found that spraying detailing spray is just as good at making them easy to remove. Given that, there's no need to spray something on your car that wasn't designed for that purpose.

Mike
 
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Kat Jacks

Supporting Member
Sep 26, 2020
124
90
Maine
I use ONR with regular tap water. In Maine, the pollen is the problem now. I always hand wash, rinse, dry. Last week, two days after a wash, she had a pollen coating again so I just took the hose and rinsed her off and quickly used the micro cloth with plain water and the dry cloth. The process was quick and she looked great! I keep Red Beauty in the garage as much as possible.
 

techlogik

Member
Mar 22, 2021
237
131
FL
Hate to say this, but on any new car, I would only hand wash, and would pay the $1k to ceramic coat it. Sadly, Tesla needs a ceramic coating after correction by a pro to really make the paint durable enough to run through any automatic system. Wouldn't recommend it still.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,101
959
Encino, CA
Hate to say this, but on any new car, I would only hand wash, and would pay the $1k to ceramic coat it. Sadly, Tesla needs a ceramic coating after correction by a pro to really make the paint durable enough to run through any automatic system. Wouldn't recommend it still.

I agree with you that I would only hand wash and would avoid any automatic car washes. There is too much of a risk of systems that make contact of inducing scratches. Touchless systems tend to use high pH soaps that will strip waxes and sealants and not clean the paint nearly as well.

Ceramic coatings are scratch resistant but not scratch proof. Even with a good ceramic coating, there is still a risk of the car wash inducing scratches. IMO the only way to run a car through a contact commercial car wash without risking any scratches is to have PPF applied to the entire car. But of course that costs $$$.
 
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TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
1,923
1,903
Houston
Ceramic coatings are scratch resistant but not scratch proof. Even with a good ceramic coating, there is still a risk of the car wash inducing scratches. IMO the only way to run a car through a contact commercial car wash without risking any scratches is to have PPF applied to the entire car. But of course that costs $$$.

Agreed. Any detailing pro that is honest will tell you that a ceramic coating does zilch to protect the paint from scratches or rock chips. The less scrupulous ones will tell you otherwise.
 
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Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,544
1,541
Northern california
With dry dust it was coming off nicely with a microfiber towel. Then last night we suddenly got a tiny bit of rain in some parts of the Bay Area (love that microclimating!). When the sun came out, drops puddled on the slick surface, then evaporated leaving nasty watermarks. AAARGH! I guess I'll try rinsing with a jet of tap water and NOA'ing on the freeway at 80 MPH, like those hand dryers, to dry ;-)

OK, black is demanding. But you'll never catch me in a white Tesla. It's like the difference between a tux, and showing up for baccarat in your underwear.
.
 
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Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,544
1,541
Northern california
It's so obvious, so dumb. But it works! Just blast that buggy with a hose jet before the neighbors call the water police, get in and drive Mad Max on the nearest freeway :cool: This car was looking pretty sad with the grey lunar watermarks, but by the time I got to the Safeway, as below, it was all good again. I think I've found the lazy man's solution to the cloying dust problem.

It seems like most of our planet's car finish problems come from the miserable car washes that SO many people like to use. They grind the paint to feces. After a few months all cars look medieval. Don't do it!

I mean this car is a 2018 that's never been garaged. At first I used ONR followed by a 3M carnauba waxing, but quickly switched to spraying on ONR+W in a gallon of distilled water, gently wiping with microfiber cloths, and drying with a waffle-weave towel with just a spritz of OptiSeal. That effortless OptiSeal replaces a labor-intensive carnauba waxing! In spite of some road micro-scratches, I think Nicki's gloss is ... presentable. Those Optimum products are clever and surprisingly economical.

freewaydry_20210614_174523xL.jpg
 
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Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
2,947
1,373
QLD, Australia
Hate to say this, but on any new car, I would only hand wash, and would pay the $1k to ceramic coat it. Sadly, Tesla needs a ceramic coating after correction by a pro to really make the paint durable enough to run through any automatic system. Wouldn't recommend it still.

ceramic coating does not increase durability of the paint.
 

MikeyC

Member
Aug 19, 2019
383
546
Florida
I've taken mine through my carwash twice now. I stop at the vacuums on the way out and the last time I washed it, there was a blue Model Y sitting in the station next to me. Guy walked up to me and said, "Hey, can I ask you a question?" I thought he was going to ask me about the car wash but his question was about spontaneous windshield cracks and asking if I had any of those. I said no but asked him about his experience at the carwash. He said he had taken his Model Y through it about 25 times and never had a problem. His Model Y was blue (my Model 3 is white) so I inspected his paint and didn't see a hint of a swirl mark or spider webs anywhere.

I wonder if people aren't familiar with Tommy Wash carwashes or they just don't have them in their area? The Model 3 is the fourth car I've owned where I've used my carwash exclusively and I've never seen a scratch or swirl mark on any of them. People take Teslas, Ferraris, Lambos, McLarens, and all sorts through there and I've never heard of a problem with the paint. So I'm choosing to treat my Model 3 like a car and not some delicate flower that I can't use like a normal car. I wouldn't take it through a bargain bin Acme carwash but mine certainly works for me. The only thing I worry about is that there are other cars on the conveyor and there's always a chance someone will go brain dead and foul the controls and run into someone in there. But there's no short of brain dead drivers on the road either so I'll take my chances.

Mike
 

MikeyC

Member
Aug 19, 2019
383
546
Florida
Ditto - because it’s just a car.

2.5 years, countless (mostly touchless, but not all) carwashes, zero issues once I figured out how to put the car in neutral for washes with conveyors 🤷‍♂️

Yeah, that was a little tense the first time I did it. I finally figured out that the best way to do it is to put the car in roll mode first but still use neutral. Then at the end of the line, the belts push you out of the wash anyway and you have to apply the brake slightly to get it back in D: it's just easier doing that in roll mode because the car will keep rolling when it goes in D rather than come to a stop (if you have it in Hold mode). The reason you can't use roll mode all the way through is that in roll mode, once the car comes to a complete stop (on the belt), it applies the brakes. It'll only roll while you are still moving.

Mike
 

Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,544
1,541
Northern california
Re: distilled water, @TLLMRRJ, very good point. The detail devil is that I use tap water for the initial fast rinse, to get any abrasive dust/sand off. Then using distilled water for the ONR+W phase pushes residual tap water down the sides and dilutes whatever minerals are in there. The results are very good, so at $1 for the gallon, it's ok.

I don't know of any Tommy or Billy Bob washes around here. Maybe they're really genteel. And hand-washing can be damaging too if you do it dumb.

With ONR+W the surface stays slick between washes, and spraying the solution on, or using a Big Sponge gently with a bucket, isn't a lot of "treating it like a flower". It's easy and very fast.

Drying could take more drag. Unlike straight ONR, ONR+W presents a bit of stiction because of the wax, but the OptiSeal (amazingly) makes it so slippery the towel glides like an air-hockey puck. And the result is niiiice.

What I'm saying is that with the right materials, it's not much harder than driving down to the proper car wash. It's a tiny bit of exercise that we all need. And you don't have to worry about getting cheated, or shot, or rear-ended or road-raged, or getting COVID o_O On that last point, it's not so much the surfaces, but for the interior having someone huffing and panting in the car isn't great. Mother, please, I'd rather do it myself!

But of course, to each his own.
.
 

MikeyC

Member
Aug 19, 2019
383
546
Florida
If you enjoy doing it and you lead a sedentary lifestyle where you feel the exercise is good for you, go for it. I'm the opposite. I'm 54 and still "go" like I'm 25. And it's catching up to me. My back, knees, and shoulders are paying the price for all the yard work and maintenance that goes with being the only adult here to take care of this old house and 1.5 acres. After mixing my normal desk job with all my other responsibilities, I've walked, bent, lifted, climbed, and crawled several miles each day and the last thing I need is another 40 minutes of "exercise" out in the 96 degree heat. I'll sit in my car for 2 minutes to get it clean and if I feel up to it, I'll stop at the vacuums and dry off a few places the dryer can't get to like under the trunk lid, between/under doors, etc. for another 5 minutes.

I go out once a week for groceries, parts at the hardware store, and other things anyway and the carwash is right next to that so it's not like I'm even making a special trip for it. And even if I did make a special trip, I get to drive my car again and listen to the audio system in comfort rather than standing and bending in 96 degree heat overusing my sore shoulder that I pulled replacing my water heater.

Not sure how I'd get COVID sitting in my car and never coming in contact with another human. Plus I've already had COVID: got it caring for my 88 year old friend despite always wearing a mask and taking all the extra precautions I could. Knew it was high risk but I weighed the risks and figured I had a greater chance of surviving COVID if I got it than he did without my help. It is what it is.

Mike
 
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