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Car wash screwed up my electronics!
Old 07-23-2015, 04:41 PM   #1
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Car wash screwed up my electronics!

My car is three years old and my loan is fully paid off as of today, so I took it to a car detailing pace as a birthday present. Afterwards one of my electronics panels (multimedia display) is not working. Initially I assumed that they had pressed too many buttons while wiping the dash, but I was unable to reset it. I took the car back immediately but the car detailing people were no help, so I took it to my (Honda) dealer. The mechanic and the supervisor said that was very unusual. Their best guess was that a contact was wet and they suggested that it may dry out after a few hours.

I think that the car wash (a hand wash) must have gotten water on an electronic circuit because the detailing package I paid for did not include any water or chemicals on the dash.

I Googled this and found a discussion of it on a Mercedes forum.
Car goes crazy after carwash - MBWorld.org Forums

Has this ever happened to you? Do you have any suggestions?
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Old 07-23-2015, 04:57 PM   #2
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You should be able to wipe down a multimedia display with a wet cloth without damaging anything. I generally use a moist microfiber towel to clean the inside of my car, including the wood and all the electronics. I can't imagine what kind of detailing would cause the system to fail. It may just be a coincidence. Is your car no longer under warranty?

I purchased extended warranties for both of my cars because they cover the pricey navigation systems if they fail. Otherwise, the repair/replacement cost can be thousands.

Hopefully your unit will do a reboot and clear itself up.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
My car is three years old and my loan is fully paid off as of today, so I took it to a car detailing pace as a birthday present...
I have no theory to suggest as the cause of the trouble, but my, it was not that long ago that you let go of the old car, bought this one and told of it on this forum. I can still recall in my mind the photo that you posted.

Three years? I would have thought more like one year. Time goes by fast, and I am getting old too quickly.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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The folk wisdom around here is to be careful using a power washer when cleaning under the hood. Did they also do this type of work?

-gauss
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:08 PM   #5
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The folk wisdom around here is to be careful using a power washer when cleaning under the hood. Did they also do this type of work?

-gauss
No, they did not open the engine compartment.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:11 PM   #6
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It may just be a coincidence. Is your car no longer under warranty?

I purchased extended warranties for both of my cars because they cover the pricey navigation systems if they fail. Otherwise, the repair/replacement cost can be thousands.

Hopefully your unit will do a reboot and clear itself up.
I very much doubt it's coincidence. Everything was working perfectly when I drove into the car wash, and it was not when the car came out.

I do have a 5 year warranty.

I will check it later tonight.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:12 PM   #7
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I have no theory to suggest as the cause of the trouble, but my, it was not that long ago that you let go of the old car, bought this one and told of it on this forum. I can still recall in my mind the photo that you posted.

Three years? I would have thought more like one year. Time goes by fast, and I am getting old too quickly.
Time just flies when you're having fun! 😀
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:26 AM   #8
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Almost all automobile electronics these days are run by some type of on-board electronic computer. Assuming you have a Honda, did your Honda mechanic download or update your car's software? When my last MBZ had some issues with the sound system, the MBZ dealer mechanic simply downloaded the software again. This fixed the issue.
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:06 PM   #9
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Almost all automobile electronics these days are run by some type of on-board electronic computer.
Since it is still under warranty the dealer should fix it, but a thought is a reboot. Disconnect the battery, wait an hour or so (or even overnight) for capacitors to discharge, and reconnect the battery. Okay, that's grabbing at straws but it's free....
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:51 PM   #10
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I had a car detail done and the engine came back squeaky clean and waxed. I assume they power washed it, at least initially. Fortunately no issues, though.
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Old 07-24-2015, 05:03 PM   #11
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I cannot stand dirty engines, so often squirt engine degreaser under the hood then hose it clean. I then start the engine up right away so the heat dries it off, or to see if it has problem running.

In my Datsun 280Z, the water once got into the cracked boot of a sensor connector, causing me a lot of grief until I found the problem and blew out the water with an air hose.

Another time, with another car the engine ran crappy afterwards, even after I let it sit for 24 hours. I finally located the problem to condensation under the distributor cap, which in this car was hidden under the manifold, between the transverse engine and the firewall. Man, what a fiasco!
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Old 07-24-2015, 06:36 PM   #12
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Glad you have the warranty. On board electronic systems can be shockingly expensive to repair. Just pulling a dash out to access them is a booger. Good luck!
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:42 AM   #13
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Have a 2006 Jeep LIberty which must have got some water in the fuse block, the thing was possessed, (worse than my 85 VW Westfalia when it was working) totally remarkable experience. Once I got a hair dryer out and dryed the system, and removed & dried all the fuses it returned to normal. Water in electrical systems==not good. But like some wet keyboards and other electronic items (I have washed my Fitbit) it is possible all will recover with dryness.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:56 AM   #14
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I do have a 5 year warranty.
That's your only "ace in the hole". Beyond that, I'd be surprised that washing under the hood or high humidity in the passenger compartment would do bad things.

I'd take it to the dealer (extra warranty or not) and say WTF? They have a bit of a problem with "one day".

As an aside, a friend is the service manager for our local Toyota/Lexis dealer. He told me a story: corporate Toyota people (auditors) showed up at his stealership to suggest that he allowed too many warranty claims. They suggested to his boss (the dealer) that there could be trouble if this continued. His boss suggested that my friend might get fired because he didn't allow enough warranty claims. He said "Bob's job is to allow the claims, your job is to prove he's wrong". Since Bob is a mechanic and the others were accountants, it stopped there.

Unless they splashed a lot of water on the dash, I'd blame the car, not the cleaner.
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:28 AM   #15
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Did you or the dealer look closely at the car fuses? Water or maybe even an odd combination of button presses at once might have blown one.
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:50 AM   #16
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As an aside, a friend is the service manager for our local Toyota/Lexis dealer. He told me a story: corporate Toyota people (auditors) showed up at his stealership to suggest that he allowed too many warranty claims.
Wow. That explains a lot about the typical behavior. Man, that ticks me off.

Not sure what happened in the OP's case, but to all out there getting engine cleaning, you may want to stop that practice. It generally does little good.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:46 AM   #17
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Wow. That explains a lot about the typical behavior. Man, that ticks me off.

Not sure what happened in the OP's case, but to all out there getting engine cleaning, you may want to stop that practice. It generally does little good.
I did not get my engine cleaned, BTW.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:53 AM   #18
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I did not get my engine cleaned, BTW.
Right, I know. It was just mentioned on the thread. People who do so end up with your problem all the time.

Question: did the detailers use a "power wash spray" on the exterior? I'm down on that idea too. Too easy to force water in all sorts of places. Did you see how they did it?
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:55 AM   #19
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Right, I know. It was just mentioned on the thread. People who do so end up with your problem all the time.

Question: did the detailers use a "power wash spray" on the exterior? I'm down on that idea too. Too easy to force water in all sorts of places. Did you see how they did it?
Yes.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:58 AM   #20
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Yes.
Ah. Ouch.

A lot of "hand wash" mobile detailers use a power spray to pre-rinse and rinse. Nothing wrong with that, but they tend to "turn it up to 11", it might present an issue.

I'd check the fuse block under the hood, if any. I know on my car the fuse block is right next to the edge of the hood seam. If a power wash spray came by, it isn't out of comprehension that water could force past the seam and then onto the fuse block. If of sufficient pressure, it could work into the block.
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