I took my car to Mike's Carwash here in Greenwood, IN and the first time it didn't really wash the right side. So the next time I went I used the self service bay. It was $3.00 cheaper in the self service bay, but it was about 30 degrees outside before the windchill. So I had a Smarties of Indiana Meet and Greet and the night before I took it through the carwash. I don't know if its because of the attention the attendant gave us with the high pressure sprayer due to the foot of snow stuck under my car, this time it came out clean all the way around.
I took my Smart to a hand car wash in northeast Los Angeles. They used water, suds, hose, chamois and compressed air. It came out so clean and shiny. There were no leaks anywhere. I think it's a very tight car. I've only done it once, since it continues to sprinkle and rain on and off in LA. I will continue to go there since the job they do is so thorough (time consuming as well) I will keep an eye on my baby and report back when I've done further research.
So.... the Smart doesn't have any issues with pressure washing/laser washing like my parent's 2001 Trans-Am does, where the water will leak in at the top of the window due to it not really having a door frame for the window to slide up into, and is instead pressed against a rubber seal?
I hand wash and go through a regular car wash. I have a cabrio and it does not leak. I find the hand washing is able to get into the tight spots better. Since I live in NH, winter washing on the driveway can be tough. I also went to carwash that I could not use because the rail was too high and scraped the bottom of the car.
So I use both and find both acceptable.
I don't like high pressure touch-less carwash as they do not remove the dirt film that can form on the car. My car is white and you can see the darker areas with a touch-less.
I take my car to the dealership its about 35 min away from where I live. I was told that most carwashes wont wash my car because its to small for there machines. I also have tried the self serve car wash (the one you put $1.00 in for 3 min). I did not like the result. It was still dirty. when I picked up my brabus another smart car owner came in to the dealership and wanted to know if they could wash her car because the one across the street wouldn't touch it. My suggestion would be to take it to the closest mercades dealership and ask them if they will wash your car. I pay about $17.00 for the works and it looks fabulous and shiny. They even got the gum out of my driver side floor mat. I would do it myself but I don't have the time and I really don't like to either.
I take mine to the "touchlesss" laser wash. I pull up until the light says "stop" wait until the wash starts and backup a couple feet so that the back gets clean. It still isn't perfect, and now that the warm weather is here I will go back to washing at home.
I took mine to a touchless car wash and I could have washed it with a wand in half the time I waited for the car wash. It did a decent job. I don't mind so much the do it yourself car washes, except for always spraying myself and running out of coins. I've started carrying a bunch of coins in the little net thingie on the door. The two quarters in the regular coin holder are only good for (cheap) tolls.
Besides the Tridion cell, isn't the rest of the car plastic? Other than the cell there shouldn't be any "paint" issues with car washes. I wash mine at home and even with the water restrictions we have here in S Fla it uses so little water it doesn't even run out to the street, just a little puddle under the car. I have applied wax to the rims, body panels, and Tridion cell. It makes the car easier to clean. Just be careful not to get any wax on any of the black plastic parts, it will leave a white residue that is a beeeotch to remove. The hardest thing to keep clean on the smart is the front rims. They seem to get a ton of brake dust buildup in only a few days. I have to completely do the rims once or twice a week to keep the car looking it's best.