135i Wheel WashPin

Why I Will Never Drive my BMW Through a Car Wash Again

Jake Mayock

Meet Jake

Jake currently owns two N54 powered BMW’s – an E60 535i and E82 135i. Jake has 10 years of experience maintaining, repairing, and upgrading his BMW’s. The 135i features a single turbo Precision 6266 conversion capable of 700+whp; Jake completed the entire project on his own. With over 200 automotive articles published, Jake brings a balance of writing skill, hands-on BMW experience, and technical knowledge to the table.

How About a ‘Super Deluxe’ Car Wash?

I drove my 135i through one of the drive through car washes yesterday. It was your average car wash at a Timewise gas station. Per usual, they offer three tiers of washes that range from $8-12. I picked the middle wash because the “premium” one seemed like a load of crap with all the “protectants” it coats your car with. The cheapest one didn’t offer wheel cleaning, and that was the main reason I was washing my car. The damn break dust from the pads and rotors, even on a manual, is insane. So I paid $10 for the wash, and drove away happily thinking that my car was now sparkling clean.

I will never drive my BMW through one of these car washes again. Partially because of the quality of the cleaning. But $10 and 5 minutes of my time is easy and convenient enough to sacrifice some quality on the cleaning job. Besides, its been raining in Texas about 3 days a week, so it doesn’t really matter. But most of the ‘Why’ is for another reason.

First of All, They Suck

All I really wanted was my wheels cleaned. Here is what they looked like after I got out of the wash and drove 2 miles home.

135i Wheel WashPin
135i Wheel after WashPin

The pictures say enough. I paid for the more pricey wash because it came with wheel cleaning. This is what I got. The first reason I will never go through a car wash again; the next is even better.

It Ripped the Trim off my Roof!

What the hell…I paid $10 to now have to spend $100 to buy some new trim. The OEM trim is like $700…ridiculous for one strip of plastic. So I’m going to have to buy some junk trims from Amazon and see how they work. I’m guessing they will be crap, but I’m not paying for an original one. If you can’t tell, I am pretty salty about my missing trim.

135i Roof TrimPin

Has anyone else lost this piece? PLEASE shoot me a comment below if you know of any reputable replacements on the internet for a reasonable price.

Just Hand Wash Your BMW

Or pay someone else to do it. The drive through washes are convenient and cheap, but you get what you pay for. The machines use rubber pieces to clean your car, and them whapping hard against the body of your car is definitely not good for the paint. Or for the trim on your car, in my case. The mega powerful fans that dry your car might be great to use if you’re on a dyno, but they’re not so great otherwise.

Bottom line: my BMW will not got through an automatic car wash ever again.

What Soap and Wax do you use on your BMW?

Let me know in the comments below!

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