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Discussion Starter #1
To those auto-detailing fanatics (of which there seem to be a lot here), your opinions are solicited.

At the behest of other black car owners, I picked up one of these things to use on my STi. And while it works as advertised (no water spots and no swirls from drying) - it leaves the paint somewhat "rough" feeling. The cleaning agent has some "dry-rinse" polymers that probably lead to this.

I haven't tried this stuff on the Elise, as I actually care about the finish on this car. So here's the question. How safe (or how bad) is the AutoDry cleaner to use? Can a synthetic coating (like a Klasse) be applied over the top w/o a problem? I am tempted to use the water filter aspect of the AutoDry thingy without using their cleaner, hoping that this would lead to fewer spots, even if towel dried. Thoughts, comments, stone-throwing?
 

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Water spots come from stuff other than H2O in the water. The worst water spots come from 'hard' minerals like calcium.

Since I installed a whole-house water softener, water spots have gone down dramatically. If that's an option for you, I can't recommend it enough. You use 1/3 of the soap to wash your car and get 2x the suds. (Same for household soap and showers too)

Beyond that, you can remove the sodium salts and other stuff from the water through Reverse Osmosis. That gets you water pretty close to deionized or distilled at pretty low cost. I know hard-core detailing guys that run an RO filter in the garage filling up a tank all week (at drip rate). Then they use that to wash and rinse. Awesome if you can pull it off. A cheaper alternative, no less extreme, is to buy bottled distilled water at about $0.50/gallon and use that for your final rinse.. Just pour it over the car.. an Elise shouldn't need more than a gallon, and you will get zero water spots.

But my point is this -- there is nothing you can add to water to remove the minerals. And when that water evaporates on your car, either in beads or streaks, the minerals will bond to your finish. Ever try cleaning shower glass from hard water deposits? It's hard! Really hard.. I scrub harder on that glass than I ever would on the car.

I don't know how AutoDry works, but unless it contains Genuine Antimatter, it's just adding something to the water to make it sheet or bead differently. Only water will evaporate off your car without a trace.. the rest gets left behind.

Like del105 said, burn it.
 

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I just threw two of the AutoDry units in the trash about an hour ago. Procter & Gamble was very nice and sent a replacement when the first one I had leaked soap. Unfortunately, the second one did as well. Anyway...

I wouldn't use the AutoDry system because the mitt you're using isn't being rinsed and reloaded with suds from the bucket. Shaking the mitt in the bucket of water/suds while you're washing helps to get rid of anything that might be trapped in the pile of the mitt. With the AutoDry, spraying the suds on the car then wiping with the mitt can possibly trap grit -- a bad thing. Even if you shoot the mitt with the soap or rinse setting, you still run a greater risk risk than rinsing/shaking in a bucket.

I would hazard a guess that the soap provided with the AutoDry probably is Mr. Clean or something like it -- also not a good thing.

Just my opinion. Hope this helps. :)
 

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Ground Loop said:
But my point is this -- there is nothing you can add to water to remove the minerals.
Not precisely true. If you had a solution of sodium chloride you could precipitate out all the sodium and chloride with lead sulfide. The solubility rules are your friend.

That said, that is not how the AutoDry works. I agree. Toss it on the junk pile.
 

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Used it once (at the insistence of my brother who bought it.) I washed his car with it. It sucked. It now resides in its original box in the garage.

Bob
 

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I haven't used one yet, but the device is a "two step" process. The first step is to use the soap that it sprays (isn't supposed to harm the wax), that leaves a polymer coating to help it dry.

The second step is to use the built in (and replaceable) water purification cartridges to spray "pure" water on the car. It would sound like even if you don't use the "soap", the water purification could be a good thing...
 

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I heard the the Mr. Clean carwash thing uses a deadly chemical called Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) to get the spotless shine.

Here's a research site dedicated to expanding knowledge of DHMO: http://www.dhmo.org/
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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Discussion Starter #10
TimMullen said:
The second step is to use the built in (and replaceable) water purification cartridges to spray "pure" water on the car. It would sound like even if you don't use the "soap", the water purification could be a good thing...
Exactly - I think this is the way I'm going. Besides, I bought a bunch of stuff from Detailer's Paradise that I'd like to try and I don't expect are compatible with the dry-rinse polymer.
 

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Some people collect rainwater from their downspouts to wash and rinse - just settle or filter out the grit from the shingles and hope you don't get acid rain in your area.
 

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Okay -- I geeked-out yesterday and hooked this up. Thought it was appropriate to our discussion.

The filter is one of those whole-house rust/sediment filters which I got from Home Depot for about $25. After a little fiddling (different thread pitches and what-not), I got it hooked up. Since it's a whole-house filter, there's no restriction in flow or pressure. Supposedly, this thing'll filter down to five microns.

I know it doesn't solve the salts/minerals deal, but it sure looks neat and can't hurt. I'll let you know if it makes any difference. I'm also looking into the Reverse Osmosis idea, and I'll let you know what I find out.
 

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