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Touchless Car Wash Dangerous To Chrome Rims?


Old 05-12-2008, 11:18 PM
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Touchless Car Wash Dangerous To Chrome Rims?

I recently purchased a brand new set of polished chrome rims for the summer. The guy at the wheel shop told me "whatever you do, don't wash your wheels in a car wash. They use chemicals in the detergent that will pit your wheels. Hand wash them only". He spoke from past experience. Now when I have the time I prefer to hand wash my truck anytime I can, however, due to a busy schedule, plus the size of these supercrews, sometimes a hand wash just doesn't fit in. So my usual option is the laser touchless car wash down the street which does a decent job of freshining up the old girl a little bit. However, I have yet to try the touchless with these new wheels. Actually I'm paranoid to try.

I have applied a coat of Megs NXT to them for protection. Will the touchless damage my wheels or will I be OK every now and then?
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:19 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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It really depends on the car wash and the owner. I'm guessing since the guy who sold you your wheels is probably in your area that their using a pretty harsh dilution. I'd stick to that advice anyways, car washes are notorious for stripping waxes etc.
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:58 PM
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car washes strip waxes and thats why i wash my own car like a true american
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:06 AM
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Leave your truck dirty until you get a chance to do it right.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:53 AM
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Wow, I didn't realize how harsh these car washes are. I live up here in the northeast and its impossible to wash a car outside during the winter and I don't have a garage, so we live on going to the car wash regularly. During the summer, and when I got the time, its a different story. I've never had any problems before with this particular car wash but if you guys say so then I'll stay away. I just can't stand driving a dirty truck around..
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:19 AM
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I did some more research and you guys are right. I never doubted you I thought I would share it with you in case your interested..

‘Touch less’ carwash:
Touchless car washes today use Hydrofluoric acid as a first step and then an alkaline to neutralize the acid then high pressure water to wash cars. Hand washing is MUCH preferred, don’t use an automated car wash period, touch less or not, there are a variety of reasons: You should never, under any circumstances use a car wash that requires you to let another person drive your vehicle onto the ramps or into the wash, notice the disclaimer

“No responsibility for damage to customer’s vehicle.”

Local by-laws require car washes to re-claim or recycle water. This means they have two choices.
a) They can collect the water in tanks and pay to truck it away to a recycling centre.
b) They can filter and then recycle the water (dependant on how often the filters are cleaned/changed) will effect how much dirt content there is. Recycled meaning re-use the same water, which may include any road dirt/grit that is not filtered out is used to high-pressure (1,000PSI) wash your vehicle (somewhat similar to sandblasting) the final rinse is usually twice-filtered re-cycled water, this is to give the appearance of a clean surface on the vehicle.
c) To help clean the recycled water they use a chemical like Presidium Orthophosphate (TSP) and have the chemical formula Na3PO4. It is a highly water-soluble ionic salt. Solutions of it dissolved in water have an alkaline pH; this does a great job stripping your wax / sealant. TSP is generally not good for cleaning vehicles because it can corrode metal.

•To remove snow/sand/road dirt and grit without agitation (brushes etc) requires the use of very strong chemical cleaners.
•Probably the most important is that this type of automatic car wash use high-pressure water and strong alkaline detergent to clean vehicles that will strip the wax/polish
•You will also need to renew the vehicles sealant / wax to ensure the paint surface protection on a regular basis to counteract the effects of the harsh detergents.
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