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      09-05-2011, 12:23 PM   #1
Chipper
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Car wash damage. Who's liable?

So I went through an Exxon car wash the other day and noticed a few hours later after I left the car wash that my tail light on my trunklid was broken off, I went back to the car wash and found the missing piece laying on the floor, it was broken off during the wash. Question is, is this a factory defect that needs to be fixed and payed for by BMW? Or should the car wash pay for damaging my car?

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Picture of tail light

Picture of tail in light in car wash
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      09-05-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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Two things:

1. Don't go through one of those cash washes with your BMW.

2. Yes it is a defect that BMW will cover.
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      09-05-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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bmw will cover that just had mine replaced last month... definitely hand wash next time those drive thru ones dont clean very well..
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      09-05-2011, 02:28 PM   #4
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Never EVER go through a car wash if you really love your car.

That being said, this is a known problem for our cars but most tend to break right down the middle. My advice would be to break off the rest of the lens then go into BMW and play stupid. It's a VERY common issue.

As a side note, I watched a wash attendant drive my brand new GTI right into the track and take a big chunk out of the wheel. By the time the car got all the way through I already had the manager waiting with me. I showed them where it hit and they ended up buying me a brand new wheel ($400).
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      09-05-2011, 02:48 PM   #5
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i'm cringing just thinking about an exxon carwash. you are driving a 40k+ car, pay the extra $5-10 and get a hand wash. especially with a dark color like lemans blue
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      09-05-2011, 02:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJUNO78 View Post
i'm cringing just thinking about an exxon carwash. you are driving a 40k+ car, pay the extra $5-10 and get a hand wash. especially with a dark color like lemans blue
+1

Fail on your part for not treating your car to a well deserved "hand" car wash.

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      09-06-2011, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJUNO78 View Post
i'm cringing just thinking about an exxon carwash. you are driving a 40k+ car, pay the extra $5-10 and get a hand wash. especially with a dark color like lemans blue
a $5-$10 more handwash will do way more damage than a carwash lol...

here's the list in order of best to worst:

1) have a professional detailer wash your car (expensive as hell)
2) hand wash it yourself (need to buy proper tools and have a driveway with water source. expensive initial investment but then less money but takes a LOT of time)
3) touchless car wash (won't scratch but won't clean)
4) regular car wash
5) regular car wash with those idiots hand drying at the end
6) "hand wash" at a local gas station, car wash, self service bay or even the dealership. stand there and observe for a couple minutes and you'll see people using that very same brush you use to clean your car to clean their wheels and tires. examine it closely and you'll see the amount of debris stuck to them...
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      09-06-2011, 05:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJUNO78 View Post
i'm cringing just thinking about an exxon carwash. you are driving a 40k+ car, pay the extra $5-10 and get a hand wash. especially with a dark color like lemans blue
I agree. I always hand wash it or take it to those power-washers that you put quarters in.


The OP got nothing, i saw a guy in a Brand New Porsche Cayenne Turbo (yes the new body style) putting it through one of those Exxon carwashes. Made my stomach turn.
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      09-06-2011, 06:06 PM   #9
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I always wash my cars by hand. That's what Saturday mornings are for.
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      09-06-2011, 11:09 PM   #10
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I always wash my cars by hand. That's what Saturday mornings are for.
I wish I could do that. Just too busy.
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      09-06-2011, 11:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N55_BBM View Post
a $5-$10 more handwash will do way more damage than a carwash lol...

here's the list in order of best to worst:

1) have a professional detailer wash your car (expensive as hell)
2) hand wash it yourself (need to buy proper tools and have a driveway with water source. expensive initial investment but then less money but takes a LOT of time)
3) touchless car wash (won't scratch but won't clean)
4) regular car wash
5) regular car wash with those idiots hand drying at the end
6) "hand wash" at a local gas station, car wash, self service bay or even the dealership. stand there and observe for a couple minutes and you'll see people using that very same brush you use to clean your car to clean their wheels and tires. examine it closely and you'll see the amount of debris stuck to them...
You left out the best and lowest cost method:
Spray wash with clean, soft wash mit.
You basically hand wash and use the sprayer as your constant source of soapy and clean water. At the end, spray the "no spot"/"spot free" softened water. Works great, no scratches.
Takes a bit of time, but she's worth it.
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      09-07-2011, 03:42 AM   #12
x97Melbourne
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I know it's been said like 100 times but you gotta be crazy to go through a car wash like that with any car that you like. I guess you're pretty tired of hearing that....and I bet you'll never do it again!
Good luck on the fix it job
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      09-07-2011, 08:40 AM   #13
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touchless car wash is pretty decent in the winter
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      09-07-2011, 10:20 AM   #14
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regular car wash for me during the winter months... the car is already 3 years old and the front bumper and hood are peppered with stone chips. The car looks better clean then it does covered in muck.
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      09-08-2011, 06:37 AM   #15
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Yes they will cover it. I purchased 2nd hand with a cracked one from over-tightening. Swopped out no questions asked. But the big point I'd like to make is don't let anyone or anything other than yourself wash it! Get really good detailing gear, and spend a couple of hours doing it right. No-one will ever care for your car as much as you do (and you should to!). You can look at it afterwards with pride! And you get more of a workout yourself than playing xbox, ps3 etc
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      09-08-2011, 06:49 AM   #16
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1. I'm willing to bet that the carwash has a liability limitation on the ticket which means that they aren't responsible at all.

2. But, the light has been recalled so BMW will replace, a similar thing happened to me last winter.
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      09-08-2011, 04:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N55_BBM View Post
a $5-$10 more handwash will do way more damage than a carwash lol...

here's the list in order of best to worst:

1) have a professional detailer wash your car (expensive as hell)
2) hand wash it yourself (need to buy proper tools and have a driveway with water source. expensive initial investment but then less money but takes a LOT of time)
3) touchless car wash (won't scratch but won't clean)
4) regular car wash
5) regular car wash with those idiots hand drying at the end
6) "hand wash" at a local gas station, car wash, self service bay or even the dealership. stand there and observe for a couple minutes and you'll see people using that very same brush you use to clean your car to clean their wheels and tires. examine it closely and you'll see the amount of debris stuck to them...
You did not mention #7 the car wash at gas stations and places that are put on by High School clubs. The kids lay the towels on the blacktop to get them to dry quickly. They pick the towels up and start drying cars. How much dirt and stones are in those towels? Whenever the kids roped me into one of those I would bring my clean car and just give them money for NOT washing my car.

OP check your wheels. If you went through an auto car wash with rails that guide the car your rims are most likely trashed. I hope you learn from your mistakes!!
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      09-10-2011, 04:03 PM   #18
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Chances are you have been driving around with it cracked in half, most 1 owners are doing so. The car wash can't really be held responsible for it popping out when it was probably already broken.

BMW will replace it, it's something you should get use to checking and have them replace it every time you bring it in for service as chances are it will be cracked again.
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      09-11-2011, 09:40 AM   #19
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You are lucky that this is a common issue and BMW will replace it, but the car wash is never responsible for any damages made to your car, except for tires/wheels...
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      09-11-2011, 10:13 AM   #20
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I agree> For winters: A touchless car wash is the best thing in the winter!
(Northeastern PA):
It comes to a point to where you are forced to use these reglularly in the freezing cold months. You have to if you sepect to clean it 2 times a week in the winter.
--Then like 2-3 times a winter you can find me out there with a 3 warm buckets of water and a gallon of Optimum No-Rinse and other detailing/cleaning sprays.
Too cold/Too busy to do that every week in the winter freeze months though.
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      09-11-2011, 08:35 PM   #21
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Amazing stuff.
I agree. I don't think Touchless car washes are good at all..they are garbage.

Unfortunately My busy demanding life will not allow for me to hand wash my car every week in the freezing icing winters here in Northeastern PA.
I have a 2 garage but although it's big, it sucks. It's not heated.

I try my best to use the Optimum No Rinse as a supplement to a warm-water 3bucket wash in the winter. Hand washing in the winter works the best, but I rarely have enough time to do this regularly.
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      09-11-2011, 10:31 PM   #22
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Amazing stuff.
I agree. I don't think Touchless car washes are good at all..they are garbage.

Unfortunately My busy demanding life will not allow for me to hand wash my car every week in the freezing icing winters here in Northeastern PA.
I have a 2 garage but although it's big, it sucks. It's not heated.

I try my best to use the Optimum No Rinse as a supplement to a warm-water 3bucket wash in the winter. Hand washing in the winter works the best, but I rarely have enough time to do this regularly.
I wouldn't call touchless garbage.
They aren't great compared to a good hand wash, but in between washes and in the winter, they keep the crud off until you can do a handwash.

I don't use them though. The manual sprayers are better, and with good gloves to keep your hands from freezing, you can get nearly all the winter road grime, grit, and salt off you car.

The icy floor is dangerous though!
USE CAUTION. Yes, I've experienced the slickness first hand...feet in the air, hard landing.
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