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Old 03-12-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
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Soft top through a car wash?

Bad idea?

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Old 03-12-2011, 10:46 AM   #2
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DONT DO IT! The windows will get all scratched up..Just reel out the hose and do it yourself

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Old 03-12-2011, 10:47 AM   #3
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Yea, figured it was a bad idea. I was more concerned about water getting in than I was the windows. I didn't even think of that. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:53 AM   #4
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Most carwashes out here have long-ago abandoned the old side bristle brushes that were notorious for scratching plastic windows and they probably have back there too. The newer generation car washes use a soft material that won't harm the plastic windows in the least. Whatever they have, all you have to do is tell them to retract the side brushes for your Jeep and they'll do it so the brushes don't touch the windows.

When my Jeep gets its once a year car wash, I run it right through without worry. And not enough water ever gets in to be an issue or really even noticeable if it's the factory soft top which is pretty darned weatherproof.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:57 AM   #5
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Hmm. Thanks Jerry. We have a show n shine today and I figured the least I could is wash mine but I'm stuck in the office. Not overly worried about it, though. I was just going to hit up a gas station car wash if I passed on on the way there.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:07 AM   #6
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Great question I was thinking about this only due to the Underbody wash living in the restbelt id like to keep the salt off it, I think most washes around here are Touchless. which I belive is just higher pressure water might get a little more water inside but it wont be the first time.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:25 AM   #7
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Louder than hell , haven't done it in years.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:27 AM   #8
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Found this post in a thread like this on the JK board...

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Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
I have been in the Car Wash Business for 45 years and still running strong, but not as strong as I used to be.

I have owned Full Serve conveyor car washes
Exterior Express Washes
Coin Operated (Self Serve washes) and
I still own and operate 5 self serve "Coin-op's" in Northern California.

There are 2 other washes in the industry (at least out west) and one is the "in-Bay touchless automatic" which some of you talk about in this thread. You drive your vehicle in, put it in neutral and the machine goes back and forth over the vehicle a number of times.

The in-bay touchless automatic works with chemicals only with no friction involved. The chemicals used will be a caustic (put on the car under low pressure first and the next pass is a neutralizer), and then the high pressure comes on. This pressure comes from a 35 gpm pump that runs between 800 to 1000 psi with a lot of different spray nozzles. If you get water in the Jeep it doesn't surprise me because you've got sprayers in the lower section pointed up or oscillating up and down. Our Jeeps are supposed to keep the rain out but I'm sure it doesn't say anything about water under pressure coming up at an angle below the body!

The in-bay auto's are moving more to friction type washes where there are brushes that go back and forth over the vehicle because they have found it to be more consistent in getting a clean car and certainly reduces customer complaints.

I have an 08 JK hardtop and a 98TJ soft top. (I have winches on both jeeps.)
I CAN WASH my JK in any of the above washes that I mentioned above.

I WOULD NOT wash my TJ with the soft top through a wash with brushes. If any of you have let me know. The brushes are not aggressive on a painted surface, but with the soft top of a jeep there's too many zippers etc and I would consider that to be a wear factor on the top.

I WOULD wash my TJ in a high pressure in-bay automatic and probably would get some water inside because the top is old and might even be original. It does a good job of flushing the dirt out of the top. I do wash it at the Self Serve Coin OP. I can use the spray gun to flush the dust and dirt out of the top, zippers and anything else that needs flushing and I use the foam brush on the body. I think using the foam brush on the canvas top is an effort in futility because most of the self serve washes out here use a brush called "hog hair" which is very soft such as a painters brush and for top cleaning I would think a heavier bristle brush with plenty of water works best. We wouldn't use that as a foam brush because it might clean your top, but it would also scratch your paint.

Signage instructions (I know, nobody reads 'em), tells you to examine the brush and if there is anything foreign on the brush then spray it with the high pressure wand before using it.

The chemicals used in a coin operated car wash are different from what is used in the automatics. The automatics are in a controlled environment and metered through the various chemicals used for whatever the customer ordered. i.e. Polish wax, Rain-X, tire foam etc.

In the self serve you're renting space and equipment and doing the cleaning is up to you. Some customers are very meticulous (like all us Jeep owners), and really pamper their vehicles. Others will come in, drop their coins or tokens in the slot, work through the 5 minutes and you see them drive away with the back half of their car full of soap! Whatever makes your boat float!

At any rate the above information is a quick info history of the car wash business as I know it and with that and $3.00 you can buy a latte at Mcdonalds.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:14 PM   #9
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I use a high pressure bay all the time. I do have a couple of leaks, but now that I know my 'problem areas', I am less aggressive with the pressure on those spots.
I would never consider going through any automatic car wash with my soft top.

Besides, you can use the pressure washer when the top is off. If you're careful, you'll get little more than a light mist on the interior.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:58 PM   #10
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Jerry's got it right. I'm still around and still in the car wash business in Northern California. You can ask them to retract the "wrap" brushes and they can do that by just pushing a button.
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:41 PM   #11
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I have a Best Top soft top and I take it through the automatic laser type washes all the time with great results. Doesn't harm the windows or top at all. I even select the wax feature at the end of the wash. These type of automatic washes are brushless, therefore touchless. I like to know I'm getting all the crud and salt from the undercarriage.
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:42 PM   #12
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I've washed mine many times in the ones with spinning brushes. No problem with the soft top at all. The issue I've had is fender flares. I had repainted them satin black and it took off some of the paint. Now will need to repaint them with more coats.
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:59 PM   #13
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We have a hand wash car wash near my house, they have guys inside the bay as the cars go through and they actually hand wash your car. You can watch them do it as it rolls down the line. Not any more expensive and it creates jobs. I tip well when I run the wifes SUV through.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:26 PM   #14
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I did it once but when the blower came on I drove out because it felt like the top was gonna come down on me. Now I just do the do it yourself pressure wash/foaming brush car wash
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:47 PM   #15
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Real men leave the top down.
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Jerry's got it right. I'm still around and still in the car wash business in Northern California. You can ask them to retract the "wrap" brushes and they can do that by just pushing a button.
Kevin - read you long post from last year and now this. Question - Would your opinion change any with half door windows? We live in upstate NY and on our "regular" cars, go through a Deltasonic car wash weekly. It is an absolute necessity to wash the vehicles regularly during the winter as we have more salt on the roads here than on all the Chinese food in China. Deltasonic is touchless, except for the slow moving (back and forth) rag brushes that move over the top of the vehicle. My main concern is the chemicals affecting/fogging the plastic windows.

You might know Deltasonic: Delta Sonic Car Wash | Car Wash

Thanks Kevin.
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:02 PM   #17
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I wouldn't worry about that type of system with the soft top's vinyl windows. The soaps they use are not harsh on vinyl or vinyl windows and those soft rag/cloth wipers won't hurt them either.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adkjeep View Post
Kevin - read you long post from last year and now this. Question - Would your opinion change any with half door windows? We live in upstate NY and on our "regular" cars, go through a Deltasonic car wash weekly. It is an absolute necessity to wash the vehicles regularly during the winter as we have more salt on the roads here than on all the Chinese food in China. Deltasonic is touchless, except for the slow moving (back and forth) rag brushes that move over the top of the vehicle. My main concern is the chemicals affecting/fogging the plastic windows.

You might know Deltasonic: Delta Sonic Car Wash | Car Wash

Thanks Kevin.
There shouldn't be any problem going through the car wash. It will probably be pretty noisy and if you have a soft top there may be some leaks according to how new/secure your top is BUT back there is the very reason car washes do more business during the snow season as opposed to us in California due to salting the roads and vehicles needing to be washed to protect your investment. I assume they also have an "under-body wash" as part of the package. I would towel dry all your windows after washing!
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:05 AM   #19
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I take my 2011 jk, with the hard top on into a local touchless car wash,
it is ok, but is not great, often crap is left on the jeep, I often take it home and wax it after the car wash.

with the soft top on I would never go through a touchless car wash, I wash at home by hand, with good old fashioned water and soap, then wax, it looks cleaner when I do it by hand then when i go through the touchless wash..

I think the pressure would blow the heck out of my soft top and cause mad damage, anyway I think i read some place to never take you jeep with soft top on into an automated car wash, never. so I never will...
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWWRANGLEROLDCJ7 View Post
I take my 2011 jk, with the hard top on into a local touchless car wash,
it is ok, but is not great, often crap is left on the jeep, I often take it home and wax it after the car wash.

with the soft top on I would never go through a touchless car wash, I wash at home by hand, with good old fashioned water and soap, then wax, it looks cleaner when I do it by hand then when i go through the touchless wash..

I think the pressure would blow the heck out of my soft top and cause mad damage, anyway I think i read some place to never take you jeep with soft top on into an automated car wash, never. so I never will...
Been taking mine through the touchless washes for 4 years and have never had a problem. I try to wash with bucket and sponge most of the time but sometimes time doesn't allow and you just need a quick wash.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:31 AM   #21
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I've never taken any of my current vehicles through a car wash. I can do a quick wash in 20 min. That's less time that driving someplace and paying money.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #22
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I took my TJ through a soft brush car wash and it was okay. I went through one where I stayed in the jeep and that was pretty scary. I thought the sprayers were going to cut through the soft top. But there were no scratches on the windows and the jeep got pretty clean. It didn't do as well on the front end because of the shape but I'm definitely sticking to hand washing it myself.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:03 PM   #23
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I worked at an automatic car wash through college and I washed my 2001 soft top jeep there all the time. I'd get the ocassional leak through an area of the driver side door window but everything else went fine. To be honest I always worried more about my antenna.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:06 PM   #24
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Easy solution, take the soft windows off first. Problem?
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 773H HO View Post
Real men leave the top down.


I use the self serve pressure washes...no soap just the water for the 5 minutes to get everything rinsed off. I'm leery of using any automatic bays or drive-thrus with tracks on them due to my 33" mud terrains and the lift. I'm always scared it won't fit in the tracks or one of the brushes will come down too hard and mess up the soft top frame.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:37 PM   #26
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ny is tuff with the road salt
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:13 PM   #27
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Soft top is not too bad in a hand car wash.

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