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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2012 CT200h - brand new. We can all stipulate that automatic car washes that use the harsh bristle/brush method are evil and do damage to paint jobs. However, there are now newer systems that use sponge/foam-type washing methods and others that have cloth/rag/man-made-fiber type washing methods (I'm not discussing the high powered water methods because I've never tried them. Are these new types truly bad or are some people who swear we should only use hand washes for our Lexus' just being overly fretful? Have modern paint methods improved enough to mitigate any damage - especially with Lexus? One argument in favor of automated car-washes, aside form the environmental one, is that every luxury car dealer I've been in including every Lexus dealership, has an automatic car wash system to prepare their new cars to look good on the lot and to wash cars for their complementary car wash services - and a free car wash comes with every service visit as well. If all automatic car washes were truly detrimental to the paint, then it stands to reason that the high end brands like Lexus would not universally have these on the lot. And when examining this objectively (and from personal experience with a black car I owned in college, I must admit that a sponge, a cloth or any soft scrubber one uses by hand can take the sediment on a car and cause micro-scratches too. Are there any truly unbiased experts on modern paint jobs and modern automatic car washes out there who can shed some light on this?
 

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IMHO - I use an automated car wash in Houston called Gurdy's. It uses the cloth strips. The attendents fold your mirrors in and tape the back window washer. It costs $12 for the ultimate wash ( I think that is what it is called). Does underbody wash, tire wash and tire black, car wash and wax and blow dry. It is absolutely the best car wash I have ever used, except for the one I use on the S2000 :D It has NEVER scratched or harmed any car I have used it on.

At the end there is free vacuum and that and a couple of microfiber towels and your car looks brand new,
 

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I know I'm a little late on this thread but I have been interested in the CT's so I found this site. I would say to stay away from the automated machines. Lexus' have a pretty soft clear coat that will mar quite easily. I have polished many car and my clients never realized how bad they looked until I did a test panel. I wouldn't chance it, a quick and cheap car wash may be nice, but a minimum of $275 to polish out the imperfections can hurt some people.
 

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I've had my Black, 2012 CT for about three months. During that time, the car has been through the dealers brush car wash twice and other than that, I take the car through high pressure touchless washes. The paint finish is covered in spider web's... I think the paint on the car is way too soft. I also own a Black, 2005 LS430. I take it through the same touchless car washes, but it doesn't exhibit the same spider web issues in the paint. My wife drives a 2008 ES350, the color is a very dark blue (can't remember the name of the color offhand). It also doesn't suffer from the spider web issues that my CT does...

Anyone else with a dark color on their CT noticing that the paint isn't holding up very well? All three cars are garaged.

On top of it, I already have six chips out of the paint on the hood of the CT and one chip on the roof. I have the paint protection film installed on the car, but the chips are all above the hood line of the film. I have about 6500 miles on the car. Most of it highway miles. I wish I had the clear film installed on the whole hood and the front portion of the roof. :(
 

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Funny thing in Canada where we used to live last year, there were automatic car washes only (of various sorts). In the USA, seemed to be the same thing.

Here in Australia, it's hand washing everywhere. Twenty years ago, it was all machines.
 

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Most of the auto car wash don't use brushes or cloth strips anymore. They just use jet sprays. I usually go to the ones with "hand wash" which is 2 guys (1 on each side of the car) in rain coats hand wipes the car as it goes thru the tunnel.
 

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I think the paint is softer on newer vehicles in general because of the switch to paints that are more environmentally friendly (no VOCs or something of that nature).

This is kind of why I went with Starfire Pearl because the swirls don't show up as bad as they do on Obsidian, but now I'm kicking myself in the head because it's a three-stage paint that is incredibly hard to match, especially the second pearl layer. It's easy to get too much or too little pearl in the paint mixture. Painting my new body kit is gonna be a pain.
 

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Here in the UK the Lexus Dealers wash the cars by hand.
Same with my dealer.

In fact, my dealer gives free unlimited car washes with the purchase of a new car...So I'm all set anyway.

My previous car would get spiderweb swirls all over the place every time I took it through an automatic wash so I would always be cautious of that anyway.
 

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This thread has been very informative - I think I know car wash options to avoid now. A bit off topic, but can anyone comment on whether it's a good idea to apply another layer of wax or whatever else on a brand new CT200h, and if so, what product you would recommend? I will be getting mine (obsidian) in three weeks, and I am frankly scared of swirl marks on it after a mere few weeks of drive. Please advise, thanks!
 

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Use any brand name polymer product. I prefer Meguiars, but Zaino is very, very good. I have used it in the past. Ice has some benefits but I don't like the way it hazes sometimes and gets hard to remove. Try a couple of them and use the one you like the looks of best. Right now I am using Meguiars Ultimate but NXT is good too.

If you spend much more than that on a product, you are (IMO) wasting money, but it's your money (unless you are running a ponzi scheme). I have used P21s, collinite, zymol, zaino, mothers, and a bunch of others. I don't like to order by mail, I am not organized enough to plan ahead. Frankly, they all work, the key is to just do it.

Most new car finishes are "cured" enough to "wax" right away. With the synthetic polymers on the market right now you can do your whole car in under 20 minutes.
 

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Thanks ezlivin and Joe166 for your comments! Would it be overkill if I apply a layer of Carnuba wax, then synthetic (polymer) wax on top, for the first application on the new paint? I currently have a bottle of Mother's FX Synwax left over from my current car, but that stuff seems a bit weak to me.
 

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Thanks ezlivin and Joe166 for your comments! Would it be overkill if I apply a layer of Carnuba wax, then synthetic (polymer) wax on top, for the first application on the new paint? I currently have a bottle of Mother's FX Synwax left over from my current car, but that stuff seems a bit weak to me.
Sure it's all right, it all depends on whether you like the look or not. It is probably best to use the polymer on top since they have much longer life than most natural waxes, but Mothers FX is my least favorite of the polymers. If you lived in my neighborhood I would look for the 3/4 bottle I have left somewhere in my garage to give it to you.
 

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Thanks for the offer Joe166, but I am in Canada so it'll be a bit inconvenient to pick up ;) I'll gladly take your advice and give Meguiar's a try when I get my CT, since it's readily available in local shops.
 

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I hand wash and wax (carnuba) my cars and never take them through automatic washes. It certainly means I notice how durable the paint is and the paint of my Matador Red is fragile. The back end being a dirt magnet may turn out to be really problematic - municipalities in Ontario are trying to cut down on road salt and are throwing down a lot of grit. Bad for windshields and bad for the paint on the back end. It is risky to brush the snow off any painted area. Bits of this car already have micro scratches and a couple of deeper scratches behind the wheels and on the front bumper :(. A service person at my dealership mentioned that another CT owner's car was just covered in micro scratches from using a snow brush.
 

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Thanks ezlivin and Joe166 for your comments! Would it be overkill if I apply a layer of Carnuba wax, then synthetic (polymer) wax on top, for the first application on the new paint? I currently have a bottle of Mother's FX Synwax left over from my current car, but that stuff seems a bit weak to me.
Thanks ezlivin and Joe166 for your comments! Would it be overkill if I apply a layer of Carnuba wax, then synthetic (polymer) wax on top, for the first application on the new paint? I currently have a bottle of Mother's FX Synwax left over from my current car, but that stuff seems a bit weak to me.
The synthetic sealant/wax likely has chemicals which will clean the surface. This will remove the carnuba wax. So, the best approach would be to apply the synthetic polymer product, then apply the carnuba after a few days.


Usually I do not bother with "topping" a coat unless I am certain that the product has no cleaners in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I have since discovered that one very prestigious dealer uses an automatic car wash and does not wash their cars by hand. Newport Beach Lexus in Newport Beach California (one of the wealthiest areas in the state of CA), uses an automatic car wash. It is not one with brushes, it uses the hanging rag/cloth method, but they do not wash by hand. This dealership is one of the Lexus flagship dealerships in the US, only a few years old, it is like a cathedral in a very high end location with amenities more like a resort than a car dealership, including a large fountain water feature in the front, and an on-site restaurant. I would suggest that if they use one, so do other dealers. And if dealers use automatic car washes, then they all cannot be as evil as the posters on this thread have suggested. Honestly, what is the difference between the sponge or cloth mitt I'd use to wash by hand and a hanging cloth in an automatic car wash?
 

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Every dealer I've ever had (Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, Cadillac, BMW) has used an automatic car wash... some with brushes! Doesn't mean it's no harm... my Toyota, for example, did get the equivalent of swirl marks after I took it in for an oil change and free wash, many years ago.
 
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