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“91” Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
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I personally, don't trust the automatic car washes' I've had, and seen the damage they can do.
 

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upon reading about issues from owners who visited car washes I am reluctant to use it. Does having it run through a car wash really cause issues?
I personally, don't trust the automatic car washes I've had, and seen the damage they can do.
thanks. quite cold here to wash by hand.
Would you prefer buickman1 lie to you?
Yes, it's quite cold indeed. Best to put the car away for the winter then.
If it's a daily driver, maybe you're also stuck with an auto carwash?
In that case, hopefully you can do a lil bit of research, to find one that you can trust.

Of several car washes in a five mile radius, there are only two where I typically see the fancier cars.
My GUESS is that'd be the kind of carwash in which you'd be interested.
 

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1996 Impala SS
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I use Q car wash around me the couple of times I need to in the winter and dead heat of summer.

I don't really trust it but it is too cold to hand wash normally. I have 3 black vehicles so it sucks
 

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What type of car washes are we talking here.

Automated touch = never, the swirls it leaves on the paint is nasty. Even automated touchless isn't ideal but if you need a quick wash then it's better than nothing.

Hand wash has to be done properly to minimize swirl/paint damage, few ways to do it.
 

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1996 Impala SS
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Oh you'll be fine in that regard.

Q car wash never gives me any issues. Had my antenna snapped off my 99 Silverado but that is it. Back when they had the 5mm stud instead of the beefier 7mm, or was it 6mm to 8mm can't remember.
You'll be fine.
 

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i am most concerned about the OPTI SPARK getting moisture
Optispark and water is not nearly the gremlin it's been made out to be via forum posts over the past 25 years. I can't count the number of times I have driven opti-spark'ed cars through frog-choking storms and never had an issue. To this day, I would not hesitate or even think to be concerned about spraying down the engine with a hose (at least as far as the opti is concerned) IMHO, most opti failures are due to electronic/voltage issues.

The biggest concern with car washes are the billions of scratches they'll impart into your paint. If you don't care, have at it.
 

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i am most concerned about the Opti-Spark getting moisture
When my wagon was on its last few miles (NOT due to any ignition problems), I drove it through a puddle so deep, that if I'd opened a door, water would've come rushing in.
I OBVIOUSLY DO NOT RECOMMEND wading any sedan or wagon through 3ft of water! Did it though.
Did not experience so much as a misfire. Had any of you been there, you might've tried to stop me.

Few years before that, drove through a 'frog-choking' downpour so wet, had to steer the wagon like a boat.
In both cases, the engine managed to behave as if there was no cause for concern.

If your car experiences ANY drivability symptoms after a carwash, your next stop should be a mechanic.
Normally an ACTIVELY VENTED Opti-Spark should do just fine in any carwash, or any similarly rainy weather.
I stress ACTIVELY VENTED, because the Opti-snorkel is usually overlooked, and has caused more unnecessary Opti-Spark replacements than any of us here has the patience to count.
 

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Use a brushless car wash. Keep your antenna down.
 
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