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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As a mostly rural resident, I learned about railroad overpasses, trains and their effect on a car's paint. Bottom line is a two bucket method is a must, but the wash was time-consuming regardless of method. A ceramic coating or paint protection film seemed to mitigate the risks and potential damage to the paint.

Yesterday evening (10:30 pm in the dark), I was driving south and went under a railroad overpass where a freight training was traveling from east to west in the Phoenix area. My wife said there is a train on the overpass going west. I said to myself "okay" and proceeded under the overpass where I was met with the proverbial "May flies" experience (like in MN). I thought I hit a mess of mosquitos or May flies, but instead, it was the shavings coming off of the rails and rail cars.

Today, I sprayed down my car (sides and underneath) and then started with the two-bucket wash with OptiCoat no rinse. To my surprise, I found all kinds of black marks on my left front, driver (left) side and rear of the car. [Update: The roof top had minimal marks.]. I have partial paint protection film on the front and hood which was easy to clean. I also have a ceramic coating which was more time-consuming to clean, but I am glad that I had it. My wash time has seemingly doubled.

What are the experiences and recommendations of fellow urban dwellers and drivers where rail overpasses be a way of life? Do you try to avoid railroad overpasses? Any tips on washing beyond using plenty of soap and two-bucket method? TIA.

[Another Update: The shavings may have come from a combination of bearings, wheels and rail. but I did not come across any permanent pits so that is the good news. Some of the black marks may have also come from tar/asphalt on a trip between AZ, CA and back. Anyway, on a white car, one can see a lot of imperfections.]
 

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As a mostly rural resident, I learned about railroad overpasses, trains and their effect on a car's paint. Bottom line is a two bucket method is a must, but the wash was time-consuming regardless of method. A ceramic coating or paint protection film seemed to mitigate the risks and potential damage to the paint.

Yesterday evening (10:30 pm in the dark), I was driving south and went under a railroad overpass where a freight training was traveling from east to west in the Phoenix area. My wife said there is a train on the overpass going west. I said to myself "okay" and proceeded under the overpass where I was met with the proverbial "May flies" experience (like in MN). I thought I hit a mess of mosquitos or May flies, but instead, it was the shavings coming off of the rails and rail cars.

Today, I sprayed down my car (sides and underneath) and then started with the two-bucket wash with OptiCoat no rinse. To my surprise, I found all kinds of black marks on my left front, driver (left) side and rear of the car. [Update: The roof top had minimal marks.]. I have partial paint protection film on the front and hood which was easy to clean. I also have a ceramic coating which was more time-consuming to clean, but I am glad that I had it. My wash time has seemingly doubled.

What are the experiences and recommendations of fellow urban dwellers and drivers where rail overpasses be a way of life? Do you try to avoid railroad overpasses? Any tips on washing beyond using plenty of soap and two-bucket method? TIA.

[Another Update: The shavings may have come from a combination of bearings, wheels and rail. but I did not come across any permanent pits so that is the good news. Some of the black marks may have also come from tar/asphalt on a trip between AZ, CA and back. Anyway, on a white car, one can see a lot of imperfections.]
What is the two bucket method?


Nora in Florida
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Discussion Starter #3
One bucket with soap/conditioner and water. The other bucket is plain water. Rinse microfiber cloths in plain water, then in soap/conditioning water before applying to the car. A substantial dirt trap in the bottom of each bucket is critical. There are several threads on this subject.


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To expand on what Gary described above, each bucket should have a grit guard to trap the dirt at the bottom of the bucket. The idea is to keep your washing mitt as dirt-free as possible, hence dipping it each time in the plain (rinse) water before soap water.
 

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Have a look into getting a fallout remover, such as Bilt Hamber Korrosol. This can be applied following a wash and will dissolve iron particles that have been embedded into the paint.
 

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a foam gun is a must. two buckets are the base of any good car wash. but rinse car, foam car, then when u go to soap bucket u don't have to worry if u have enough lubricant on the car. a car with a good paint sealant, the foam gun is going to loosen a lot of the dirt before you even touch it with a mitt. some people, rinse the car, foam the car, rinse the car then refoam the car before touch it with a mitt.

when u dry the car go get an electric blower. cheap $25 harbor freight blower to dry your car off is 100 better than putting another clean rag. you want to touch the paint as minimal as possible and please don't wash a hot car in the sun. you are asking for swirls and doing paint correction.
 

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WARNING: heresy post...

Those averse to the two bucket method of hand washing your car(s) can dispense with the method by keeping the dust/dirt off your car between washes by keeping the car well waxed and dusting it regulary. That's how I've kept the clearcoat on my Volvos looking great.

If you live where you can't do that, then yes, the two-bucket hand wash method is advisable...YMMV
 

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Dusters are bad, stick with waterless wash.
 
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