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Can anyone recommend a good type of car wash? This is the first car I've ever owned. (I've had trucks that I wasn't ashamed to leave a bit muddy) Should I dedicate time to wash it by hand? And if yes, can you recommend the types of product I should use? Do I date take it through the "conveyor" style wash with the large brushes or one of those bay type washes with the high powered sprayer? I've only had the car a week and the birds have improved their aim. :/
 

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LOL, black cars and birds know THAT feeling! I have always hand washed the Challenger, if you do use automated wash stay away from the BRUSH type, brushless is better. I use TurtleWax Ice Soap and Wax, the wax is great stuff works on metal and plastic and no white residue in the cracks and crevices. The trick to hand washing is rinse your sponge between putting back in soap bucket, I have a second bucket to rinse sponge in, keeps you from scratching the finish with dirt. I also bought a California Duster when I owned that black car, a light dusting now and then keeps em shiny, there are also black waxes which may work well I don't have experience with them though, I've been using Ice for years and really like it enjoy da WASH, rather by hand or machine dat Black looks so WICKED shined up! :D
 

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Stay AWAY from automatic car washes with brushes. I ruined the paint on a midnight blue car once with one. It looked like I had used a brillo pad down both sides. Hand wash is always the best, being careful to wash starting from the top, going down. I prefer a wash mitt to a sponge, but rinsing it often is the key to preventing scuffing the clear coat with dirt.
A bucket like this prevents needing a second bucket: http://www.ebay.com/itm/271319001020
Dirt will settle to the bottom and the grate prevents the mitt/sponge from picking it up.

Keeping a good coat of wax on the car year around is the best. Use a type that doesn't leave the white reside like Sickr mentioned. Bugs and bird poop have to be removed immediately (at least as soon as practical) to prevent paint damage. I try to pay extra attention to the front of the car when I'm waxing and give it an extra coat. I like to use a wash & wax concentrate instead of just detergent when washing to prevent washing off the wax. After getting most of the water off the car, I also like Turtle Wax Wax & Dry spray (or something similar) and a microfiber towel to finish.

For me, the bay wash with the high pressure spray is a last resort. I've used them when I was away from home to remove bugs, road grime, mud from wheel wells etc, but it doesn't replace hand washing. Be very careful with a high pressure sprayer as it will cause stripes and decals to lift if you get too close. Stay away from weather stripping around the door windows too. You can do a lot of damage with over 3000 psi.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, guys! I really appreciate the quick responses! I went from a white Tahoe which shows absolutely zero dirt unless you take it mudding to a black beauty which shows EVERYTHING, it seems. I do have decals and that is what I was worried about, as well as the paint.
 

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BRUSHES NO NO! It's either very soapy hand applied soap on a microfiber wash mitt or touchless automatic/wand wash. Trick with the latter. Mix a spray solution of roughly 1/3 Blue Coral Wash Wax with 2/3 water. Wet entire car starting at top and ending at bottom with solution being certain to saturate front end bugs 2X and lastly.. Then either just pull into the automatic touchless or wand. If wand start at the top and work to the bottom. Save the front for last. The bugs are glued to the front so give the solution time to work.

Hand=spray solution as above and then thoroughly soaking the entire car while concentrating on blasting any debris or heavy soiling towards the ground with water. 1-3 caps full of wash/wax to 4-5 gallons of water in your bucket (depending on how dirty) and microfiber mitt at ready. Immediately start at roof/ windsheild/ hood. Then rear glass/trunk. Now down side glass/sides to body line. now the other side. STOP!

Dump your wash water! Make a fresh batch now and starting below the body line at either front side start top to bottom and then rub down her rear. When complete stop again!

Yes, make a fresh bucket and now start at the front end and destroy the remainder of the bugs carcasses left. They are nice and soluble now because you've kept the entire car wet for so long that they will rub right off without scratching the finish. By the time I have arrived at the wheels I am confident that nothing any more harmful than what was on the paint remains and I go ahead and wash them with the 3rd bucket.

Good luck and I'm going on my 4th year in with a black Challenger. Other than truly needing a good wax, I gotta say that I am not ashamed of my DAILY DRIVER!

Very few swirls in the paint and they are very light.
 

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I truly don't trust the car wash places as I prefer to wash the car myself. I use a pressure washer and a Micro Fiber towel. Microfiber towels can be purchased as a pack at Cost Co. Then, once washed, I use a leaf blower to air dry and again use a Micro fiber to wipe any remaining water spots. By doing this your not circulating any fine dust or dirt that create the swirls in your paint.
 
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