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garry

To wash or to have washed

I use the local car cleaners for both of my cars. With the Porsche they don't use drying blades and I think they do a very good job for £6 per car.

I was in Halfords the other day for some bike bits and the price of car cleaning atufff caught my eye. For the autoglym type product I estimated I'd be spending £50 without trying. Add in the time to actually do the cleaning and I can't see why  do it. I'm not even convinced I'd be able to do a better job either.

So, do you clean your own car, use the local handwash, or perhaps don't bother washing at all?  And what's your thinking.
Mike Amos

Difficult, in Lichfield I used the local tesco Poles etc, at least until the bossman kept trying to get me to sell the car to him for peanuts.  He kept saying that I should have an automatic with my dodgy leg as I "Cannot operate a clutch properly with that leg" and let him sell me a small auto also for peanuts.  When I pointed out that the clutch is operated with the left leg and not the right and he was never going to get the car, he stopped being so polite.
The Poles at Asda in Cheltenham are pretty decent but they still got a bit extra just before Christmas.  They do not fawn over people to get trade, they are just polite and do a good job.  £5 to wash and £10 for a wash/wax.  She does need the paint redone and if anyone considers the Stansby borthers near Lichfield for paintwork, do NOT use them.  It will cost nearly six grand to put right what they did.
Blarno

I wash my car 2 or 3 times a year, tops. I do it myself using whatever I have lying around - usually some Turtle Wax or Autoglym shampoo. I still have the same bottle of AG super resin polish that I bought back in 2001 - this only gets used on the final wash in September before it goes into winter mode. (IE, doesn't get washed at all until March - excluding headlights/tail lights and the rear number plate if the Police pull me over)
Martin

I always wash both cars myself.  I used to use a good local hand wash place occasionally when I had a company car, but the wheels are never completely clean and you will get damaged paintwork no matter how good they are.  The Boxster is completely swirl free after more than 3 years, as is the BMW which has just clicked over 60,000 miles.
Tim

I wash the cars by myself but only very occasionally.

Mrs Tim informed me yesterday that the 320 (technically her car) is the dirtiest in her work car park.

Perhaps tellingly she bought me a Karcher washer for Christmas (romantic, eh?) but the weather has been too cold for me to bother going out and using it so far. I did buy a couple of extra attachments for it last weekend though......
Twelfth Monkey

I've had the same guy do my cars for twenty years or more, done once a month which given low mileage is fine.  Takes him 60-90 minutes, and he does a far better job than I ever could for £25 a time.  Even if I could, it'd take me 2-3 times as long, which gets you into the realm of paper-round earning/cost rates.  No sense in me doing it, I'd rather read, swim or walk the dogs, thanks.

It's machine-polished once a year, which costs more but does seem worth it.  After ten years, the car still looks pretty good.
BeN

I'm lazy. I go to the nearest cleaners.

Wait till Chris M sees this topic...
TreVoR

I wash my own.  I used to spend a fortune on products, but I use very little these days.  I think if I turned up at a local car wash with it in this state, I may get shouted at or charged a premium for the convenience.

IMG_1300 by Mark Lee, on Flickr
Bob Sacamano

I wash my car by hand each time before I use it. I also keep a wet sponge in a plastic ziplock bag so that if I get stuck at lights for any length of time I can nip out and give it a quick once over to keep it shiny. Once I get back home I give it a full wash and valet, wax it, and then lock it in the garage.
garry

Bob Sacamano wrote:
I wash my car by hand each time before I use it. I also keep a wet sponge in a plastic ziplock bag so that if I get stuck at lights for any length of time I can nip out and give it a quick once over to keep it shiny. Once I get back home I give it a full wash and valet, wax it, and then lock it in the garage.


That's a little sloppy - your car could be dirty for hours between traffic jams. I just keep a Polish man in the boot to give the car a quick buff. He can do this at speeds up to 30mph.
simonp

I do it myself, just not very often, as is the Blarno way. We have a Romanian car wash in town, but they always miss bits. I'd probably use them out of laziness if they only did a better job...
Racing Teatray

Although we do have a driveway, an outside tap and a hosepipe (all rarities in central London), I'm afraid I almost never wash either car by hand – they just get taken to the nearest decent handwash place as and when they look like they need a clean. I tried washing them myself a couple of times in the warmer months, particularly the Fiat since it is small and easy to do, but it was always a wet and dirty experience because the driveway needs re-gravelling (or ideally paving), which means it quickly gets pretty when exposed to a lot of water. And since until recently we had a decent handwash place barely a minute away, it never seemed worth the £12 saving (or £10 for the Fiat).

However, that has now closed down (site is being redeveloped). I have finally managed to find another decent one (there are several crap ones) but it's a good 10 mins away by car up towards West Ken, which doesn't sound like much but definitely knocks the convenience factor.

Actually I need to go there tomorrow as the Fiat is now so filthy and streaked with dirty black water marks that it's starting to resemble a small round grey zebra.
Big Blue

Only I wash the Gorilla but not often enough. Some weekends I wash just the wheels. I wash the bike every week if I can as it commutes around London and the E46 gets washed if I've got time of if it is used to go to Sainsbury's where some nice African men wash it.
Racing Teatray

The GC stays much cleaner now that it has a cover. I had to drive out to visit a client in Brentwood mid-week and it was nice, after 10 days of not having used the car, to whip the cover off and be presented with a car that was still squeaky clean.
Martin

The Boxster was like that for a time when Lindsay worked a couple of miles away and cycled into work, it used to sit for a couple of days nice and clean in the garage. It still lives in the garage, but now her office is in a stately home in the middle of nowhere, it gets filthy really quickly.
gonnabuildabuggy

I'll confess that after years of religiously washing and waxing my own cars, I now use the Magic Car Wash Hand wash in MK (H3).

Frankly they do an amazing job, no blades and the attention to detail is quite amazing (e.g. they do all the plastic trims specifically on the outside of the Mini, and spent a few minutes cleaning excess wax off the door shut of the mini, using air to clean water out from behind door mirrors, etc.). Never have they missed a  bit.

For £12 inside and out I couldn't touch what they do and frankly is better than a valet.

Always very friendly too.

I had a shock at how poor a job someone else did when I took it to a hand wash in Devon.
Martin

It was the magic car wash I used to use now and again and I agree that they do a good job and blowing the water away means no streaks after you drive a mile down the road, but they don't get right into the wheels (might be different on simpler wheels) and I had a lot of paint swirling.

Well managed place though, I often used to think about offering the boss a job as he was great at getting the most out of his team, both productivity and quality as he checked every car himself before letting it go.
Bob Sacamano

The hand carwash down the road from us is very good, with attention to detail and a quality check by the boss before you leave. It's £5 a time but they tried to charge £7 for the Qashqai once as they deemed it a large car. We settled on £6. £12 seems rather a lot.
Racing Teatray

Bob Sacamano wrote:
The hand carwash down the road from us is very good, with attention to detail and a quality check by the boss before you leave. It's £5 a time but they tried to charge £7 for the Qashqai once as they deemed it a large car. We settled on £6. £12 seems rather a lot.


It's central London mate, innit?

Just one of the many features of life here that makes a mockery of national tax rates and complaints about rich Londoners...you earn £43k in London (the rate at which the higher rate tax band kicks in) and you will feel like a pauper in central London. Actually scratch that, you probably just won't be able to live in central London period. In other parts of the country, that's a handsome salary...
gonnabuildabuggy

Racing Teatray wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
The hand carwash down the road from us is very good, with attention to detail and a quality check by the boss before you leave. It's £5 a time but they tried to charge £7 for the Qashqai once as they deemed it a large car. We settled on £6. £12 seems rather a lot.


It's central London mate, innit?

Just one of the many features of life here that makes a mockery of national tax rates and complaints about rich Londoners...you earn £43k in London (the rate at which the higher rate tax band kicks in) and you will feel like a pauper in central London. Actually scratch that, you probably just won't be able to live in central London period. In other parts of the country, that's a handsome salary...


That's MK but that's a "Valet" which is outside, inside, all wheels, exterior plastics, etc.

I would take me 2 to 3 hrs to do the work they do (Martin commented on how the foreman got the most out of his team) so I figure I'd rather pay £12 than do it myself.

They are a great example of time and motion, every person has an individual job and you'll end up with 8 to 10 people (or more thinking about it) working on your car at some point during the process.

I've never had a problem with wheels, but ever since owning a S60 with multi-spokes I've tried to buy something with easy to clean wheels.  I can guarantee that I'm more likely to miss a section than they are.

Not noticed any swirling either, though I've never taken a brand new car there so perhaps more obvious on fresh paint.
gooner

If I don't wash it myself I use the automatic car wash at Tesco because I can put it on the fuel card. I'd really wanted to avoid it with the Golf to protect the paint from minor scratches but with the weather being too cold to risk chucking a load of water across the drive, I relented last weekend. Otherwise I've been using Triplewax Liquid Gold recently and it really is quite good with no drying required, just let it dry itself and it leaves no streaks. It's got a couple of nasty stone chips recently so I'll probably get a bottle of colour magic with chip stick to deal with that unless anyone can recommend an alternative.
canadian bacon

TreVoR wrote:
I wash my own.  I used to spend a fortune on products, but I use very little these days.  I think if I turned up at a local car wash with it in this state, I may get shouted at or charged a premium for the convenience.

IMG_1300 by Mark Lee, on Flickr


That looks like any car in downtown Toronto from Nov - April.....

Chris M Wanted a V-10

gooner wrote:
It's got a couple of nasty stone chips recently so I'll probably get a bottle of colour magic with chip stick to deal with that unless anyone can recommend an alternative.

Use proper touch-up paint.... and wear Marigolds or equivalent to hand wash all year round to protect your skin.
The touch-up "chapsticks" just stick coloured wax into the chip and in my experience, on the first wash, it falls out leaving you with the original chip still visible.  Far better to fork out around a tenner for a proper touch-up stick (IIRC Halfords can mix a reasonable match in some of their stores, or try ChipEx who I used for the Captur as Renault don't do touch-ups for many of their colours)
scamper

Took two of our cars recently to two walk in car cleaners a mile apart.  One cost £65, the other £25.  To be fair though, the expensive one would have been £45 normally, but the one car was in a real mess inside which would have the OCD members of this forum choking on their clay cars.

I was hard pressed to tell the difference initially.  On closer inspection the more expensive one was very impressive on the inside at least - the best I've seen; but £20-£40 better I'm not sure. They had also not cleaned the rear parcel shelf.
JohnC

Always wash the cars myself. I see it as a bit of therapy at the weekends when I can get out, get some fresh air, a bit of exercise and have a chat with the neighbours. I wash them weekly at this time of year and fortnightly through the summer. The only exception is January when I am so busy they don't get washed at all.
Grampa

Wash it myself - for a quick wash (which I do anything from twice a week to once in three weeks) I can do it a lot more quickly than it would take me to take anywhere else, plus I can be sure I have nothing like sponges or cloths that will scratch the paint, and for £6 do you get your arches and inside wheels done?

Then about once a month a 'proper' job with polish, tyre sealant etc and a going over with a clay bar maybe once every six months.

The only professional guy I use is a mobile guy once a year to steam clean the front seats - only costs £15.

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