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FAQs













Does it really help a car's value to keep its finish looking new?
In a word.. .yes! When we put that question to the used car managers of large auto dealerships, they said that they often have two identical cars on the lot, both the same year and model with the same equipment. Even though they were mechanically the same, the finish of one looked as if it were just off the showroom floor. The second was noticeably rusted, dull and spotty. The difference in price? $1,000! Appearance is the first thing people look at in a used car. If a car's appearance turns the buyer off, no amount of persuasion can get them to even get in and start the engine. The moral of the story? Proper care of a car's appearance is an investment that will definitely pay off at trade-in time!

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I've always heard that a brand new car should not be washed or waxed for a certain period of time.
That may have been true 25 years ago, but the new modern clear coats need proper care almost from the moment you drive them off the dealer's lot. The thing to be most careful of immediately is that you wash the car properly. Many initial errors can result in water spots, setting stains and loss of lustre. Without the benefit of layers of protective coating that a car receives over the years, mistakes on a new car may not be correctable.

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How often should I have my car washed?
It depends on the external factors that your car is exposed to. For example, salt or other corrosive matter such as sand should be washed off approximately every week. In seasons or climates less conducive to corrosion, every two or three weeks should be adequate. One important factor that could vary those figures is whether your car is parked in a garage overnight or left out in the elements.

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I have soft water at my home which I use to wash my car. However, my finish is beginning to look scratched.
The most common problem is not the water but the amount of water used to wash the car. Sand and dirt particles can get trapped in the sponge or mitt that is used and no amount of rinsing can get them completely out. Therefore, without proper water lubrication those dirt and sand particles are like washing the finish with sand paper. At our carwash we ensure that your car is bombarded with the exact amount of water and cleaning agents; then it is rinsed with 100% pure deionized water. And nothing touches your car before it is towel dried.

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What is the best cleaner to use on my car?
Since most cars are made up of eight completely different surfaces (acrylic paint, vinyl, chrome, rubber, plastic, glass, cloth and sheet metal), it is another complex question. First, let's start with cleaners that are not recommended. Laundry detergents usually have extremely high alkaline levels that hurt the paint job. Soaps can also damage a finish and even if you should find one that chemically cleans well, it may not rinse off well, leaving a filmy dull finish. We use cleaners that automatically dispense special solutions in the right proportions. For example, in the summer we use a higher percentage of bug removing agents. In the winter we use a high percentage of solutions to combat salt deposits. The beauty is that we change our percentages to fit our area's needs. Water Works' cleaners are formulated for the specific needs of tough Colorado Springs dirt. No other carwash we know uses this system. Most other carwashes buy detergents (sometimes very corrosive detergents) that supposedly can be used in any area of the country. This simply doesn't work because each area has dirt that is completely different (comprised of very different elements). For instance, we have found that dirt in Colorado alone can change every 50 miles. To return to your original question-it will be impossible to use cleaners that professional carwashes use but you should have numerous types of cleaners on hand. Also be sure to carefully read all label directions. (Special note: the proper amount of cleaner is essential to its cleaning capacity. Should a small amount clean well, a larger amount doesn't necessarily clean better. In fact, too much cleaner of any kind might cause problems.)

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Can the brush I use to wash my car make a difference?
It certainly can. For example, most car washes use the new cloth pads or polyethylene filament brushes that were formulated in conjunction with acrylic paint manufacturers. With proper lubrication, they remove the dirt and have the same resistance on the car's surface as a wet noodle would have rubbing against a glass bottle. If you are washing your own car, take a great deal of care in choosing the brush. The key is lubrication! This means lots of water and solutions with good lubricating qualities. Oil company operated car washes using filament brushes are notorious for not providing enough of either, thereby allowing the bristle to haze or scratch the car's delicate finish. If you use a car wash using brushes make sure it is professionally operated. How much do you think the attendant at the oil company operations knows about washing your car? If you are washing your own car, take a great deal of care in choosing the brush. In most cases it would be preferable to use a very, very clean sponge or towel. The Mercedes-Benz Company recently did a test in Munich, Germany, by washing one group of cars 25 times by hand and another group 25 times in a commercial carwash. The commercial brushes kept that group's finish noticeably newer than the hand washed group's test cars. In fact, the hand washed group's test cars needed compounding and polishing to restore the original shine and, in many cases, showed scratch marks as deep as one/tenth of the total thickness of the paint! As you can see the proper brush makes a big difference. 

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I notice a layer of residue periodically on my car's finish. Is it just from the atmosphere and is it harmful?
You are referring to black particles that come from areas of heavy traffic on the road. It is emitted from the gritty abrasive substance coming off tires as they wear. Also, chemicals from diesel smoke and other emissions in the atmosphere settle on the car's surface and can damage the finish if it is not removed immediately.

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My vehicle's finish has a cloudy, streaky look after it is washed. What causes this?
Colorado's sun and thin atmosphere causes paints, especially dark colors, to oxidize rapidly. This causes the cloudy look. Our Touchfree Process actually cleans your finish and it causes the ongoing oxidation to show more clearly. What is the solution? A coating of wax must be kept on the finish to stop oxidation from happening in the first place. Once the paint is oxidized, it will continue to deteriorate until it is removed completely with cleaners and a machine buffer. A car wash-compatible wax should then be applied at least twice a year. For more information, pick up our "Detail Services" brochure from our literature rack.

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I have seen spots on my roof and hood near my windshield. What causes this?
It is caused by using your windshield washers on hot sunny days. The washer fluid that blows off the windshield burns the paint, causing the spotting. It is best to use the washers when the car is cool, such as at night or on cloudy days.

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How long should I wait before washing the bug residue off my car after a long trip?
As little as absolutely possible! Bug residue forms an acid that starts to eat at a car's finish immediately! Bugs (and bird droppings, too) should be washed off as soon as possible, especially if the car is brand new.

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What are the major causes of rusting?
Rusting is simply oxidation of an untreated surface as it comes in contact with the elements. Aside from a deep scratch or paint chipping, the biggest culprit is moisture. Since dirt attracts and traps moisture like a magnet - especially in those hidden places behind chrome and trim, a dirty car is the instigator of almost all car rust.

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Lately my windshield becomes smeared when I run my wipers. Am I doing something wrong?
It could be it's time to change your blades. Most manufacturers agree that windshield wiper blades should be changed every three months. That prevents wearing and smearing, which can be extremely dangerous in a moving vehicle.

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