Give yourself half an hour and do it yourself. I would not be confident that car washes are programmed for the Insight shape and height. Besides the brushes on those washes do your paintwork no favours. Go on, get the bucket, sponge and fake chamois out!
Well, to whatever degree spray-on wax sticks the the car, it also sticks to the windshield, causing all sorts of smearing when you next use your windshield wipers. It probably also gets on tires and brakes and other places that are better off not waxed.
I'd definitely recommend the old-fashioned wipe-on wax instead. That way, you control where it goes.
Being some what of a prefessional detailer in my own mind, I cant say I really recommend the spray wax. About the only thing I've found that works ok in spray form is the stuff in a bottle, which you have to wipe off anyways (meguiars in particular). In the time I've had my Insight I have kept it waxed the way it should be, I doubt the paint has seen air for more than a few hours since buying it. I would also venture to say that a hand applied coat of wax will last a lot longer than anything that can just be sprayed on the surace. Ohh, and I believe those high pressure washes will do a good job of blasting the wax off of the car as well. Although from time to time I do give my wheels a blast to get rid of some of the brake dust.
Another issue that us Insight owners need to keep in mind when considering automatic car wash facilities is that the small air foils that hang down in front of the wheels may be too low for the wheel tracks at the car wash. They may become damaged if they catch on some part of the tracks. I went to an Octopus car wash and asked them if they could run it through without any problems. Their rule of thumb is that they can handle anything that has the clearance of a soda can when placed on the ground, i.e. 5 inches. We determined that there was not enough clearance and that they wouldn't be responsible if I tried running it through. Therefore, I always wash and wax it myself. However, some car wash tracks may not be problematic depending on their design. Question: Has anyone successfully used an automatic car wash for your Insight?
I use the pressure washing stations on occassion to cleanup gunk that gets caught in the wheel wells up front... the joys of going to a party where you parked in the grass, which was flooded from heavy rain and therefore MUSHY... and then driving out ended up getting stuck in ALL sorts of places... so I used pressure washing then, but for the outside, garden hose, nozel, and some sponge work.
Ohh where to begin. First, do not use dish soap, it oxidizes paint. There are many soaps made specifically for cars which won't oxidize your paint and will not strip it of any wax thats there. Personally I use almost primarily Meguiars products. They've been around for like 100 years so I figure by now they must have gotten their products right. There is a big section on their web site on how it's all done. You should be able to find a plethora of products at a local automotive supply store.
Thinking along the lines of stuff you can probably easily obtain I would say try meguiars gold class car shampoo and conditioner (soap) for washing. I like the absorber synthetic chamis because they are very gentle on pain for drying. They also make a safe for all wheels wheel cleaner. Since the Insight wheels are clear coated the heavy duty stuff would probably be ok, but it will oxidize the alluminum brake components behind the wheels.
From here it depends how in to it you want to get. Every other month or so my car goes in to the garage and gets a 4 hour clay barring, hand polish and wax. Takes a while, but man does it look nice when done properly. If you want easy a cleaner wax is probably good.
For the interior meguiars professional #40 vinyl and rubber cleane and conditioner is awsome. Apply it to the dash and other tripm pieces and not only does it look good but it smells nice too. Windex will work ok for windows if nothing else, but at costco in the cleaning asile there are some blue cans of glass cleaner which works really well. It can be used safely on plastic too.
For cloths either 100 cotton terry cloth towels or micro fiber towels are the recommendation. There are some diaper type towels that they well that are supposed to be good, but in my experience they trap dirt particles in them and leave them there to scratch your paint as you use it. The nap on a terry towel lifts the dirt away from the paint.
One important thing is to try to keep dirt away from the paint. If you drop your wash mit just throw it away and get another one. Always use clean towels and clean whatever touches the paint. Dust can get trapped in there and ground in to the clear coat causing swirl marks. Though they are really difficult to eliminate all together they can be reduced.
This all comes from my 3 years of driving and detailing cars. I've detailed several perfect vintage cars (are 70's cars vintage?) that have gone through classic car auctions and those several hours of work pay off when the car rolls up on the auction block under all the hot lights and just glistens.
The best is when a car has leather though. Lexol is awsome for leather. It will make is feel and smell better than brand new, even if it's been neglected in the past.
If you can find them here are a few other recommendations on products I have, though find a local distributer may be difficult
Meguiars Detailer Water based dressing
Meguiars Detailer Final detail
" " mild clay bar
Meguiars mirror glaze professional hand polish
So far I've been using meguiars 26 hi tech yellow carnuba wax, but I have this sneaking feeling there is something better. Not sure why, but the stuff does stay pretty strongly for about 2 months
I keep three wash mits. One which is used for the clean paint, one is for the paint where there might be tar or the under part of the sides where it gets road gunk on it, then a completely dirty one that I use to scrub out the wheel wells once in a while. This is all about trying to keep contaminents to a minimum. Usually I can get road tar off with the second mit. I've found the longer road tar sits there though it bonds. An all surface safe degreaser will generally do the trick for some stuborn tar. They also make a road tar remover as well (it's actually bug and tar remover I think). They were doing some resurfacing around here a few months ago and a weekly washing if not more often only left a few stubborn spots which the degreaser took right off.
Beyond that, if it's still stuck a clay bar would likely do the job, if not time to get the buffer out. You'd have to let it stay there for a long time though to have to resort to this.
So we'll be doing the Insight detailing clinic this sunday if anyones interested... LOL. One of these days I'll have to take pictures of my shelves of detailing supplies for everyone to see just how much of a nut I am.
I used to live and surf in Santa Barbara, CA. There are massive natural oil seeps there... one point of land is called Coal Oil Point. You get the idea. So I got adept at removing tar from hair, skin, wetsuit material, my board...
The best tar remover was the citrus-based solvents you can find in the drug store or hardware store. Make sure it doesn't have any petroleum products in it. Some that once had none have switched to using them, so I can't recommend a specific brand.
Use it as a spot cleaner to remove tar. You don't even have to rub hard. It won't harm the paint, but it will remove your wax - in fact I used it to remove paraffin-based wax from surfboards.
This is my first spring in Cape Cod, and we have these big things in our yard called "trees." They have flowered and dumped thousands of little soft seeds all over my Insight. They stick too well to be sprayed off, and wiping them off only clogs up my washing mitt. I've had to resort to flicking them off with my finger while spraying the hose. Fun. At least we have plenty of water around here.
Thanks for your earlier reply Rick. Thanks Tim, however I agree with Rick on the pressure washer or perhaps you could think about building a garage or car port. Even I don't have time to be flicking tree seeds!!
I too read that warning in the manual, haden't thought of it untill then. I almost always took my last car to the drive through car wash. so i got to thinking about it and the bottom line was i dident trust the automatic car wash to not damage anything. and although thoes skirts come off easily i did not want to have to take thme off. drive through then wax them by hand and put them back on. just not worth it. Plus it is a smallenough car. so i wnt out and bought some good car wash wipe on wax rain-x etc. and just do it my self and i must say it comes out better this way than my last cad ever did in the automatis car wash. If i do a good job the envire car is downright slipery and resists dirt etc much better.