Spring showers may produce beautiful, green grass and bright, blooming flowers, but they usually leave our vehicles covered and an undesirable muck. Before you flock to the car wash to rid it of all the spring residue, that if left on could damage your frame or paint, take a look at these Protips to protect your finish, prevent car wash accidents and other mishaps that occur while you wash your ride.
Besides the obvious, like look for people crossing in the parking lot, folding your mirrors before entering the wash or watch where you are backing up, these pointers will help keep your car in tiptop condition. Oh, and always remember to roll your windows up and double check that sunroof. Been there, done that and it is not fun.
The More You Know
Automatic is better for your car. Say what? Yup, it is true. Modern automatic “brushless” car washes are far gentler on your car’s finish than even handwashing. Thanks partly because all soaps and chemicals are pre-measured and washing methods are consistent and timed. Who knew?
Go ahead and splurge. If you are at an automatic car wash that offers the undercarriage wash, go ahead and upgrade. If it has been a while since your car has had a thorough cleaning you want to pay a little extra for this service. You may be driving around with leftover gunk from road treatments that could damage your undercarriage if left untreated. Treatments like salt and brine can promote corrosion and rust.
You let the road grime get too thick. So you waited around too long, or maybe the weather wasn’t cooperating, and now the dirt is stuck. If you are going to use a pressure washer, remember that if you get too close to the vehicle, you could cause damage to the finish or your tires. Keep about 2 feet between you and the car at all times.
You are carwash purest and want to do it at home. Sometimes it just feels good on a hot day to get it out and wash the car at home. You don’t have to wait or deal with other folks. Or maybe you are letting the kids wash the car on a Saturday afternoon. If so, keep in mind that household cleaners can cause damage and if you aren’t using your sponge probably it may cause small scratches.
Do your safety check while you dry. Now is the perfect time for a quick look over to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Look at your tire tread wear, bring a gauge to check the tire pressure and be sure to look over your headlights to make sure they aren’t cloudy or yellowing. Make sure they are shining their brightest, dim headlights are a big safety hazard for everyone.
Some of you may be wondering why you need to wash your car anyway and think it is a waste of time. But not properly maintaining your vehicle can cause damage to your car and your bank account.
To Clean or Not to Clean
Natural is not better. Dirt can wear down and weaken the paint. Also, when mixed rain and other pollutants it can scratch off the paint. Bird poop and sap will destroy your candy paint even faster.
It’s just paint, right? Well, that paint is what protects the body of your car from moisture. When chipped paint allows the metal to get wet, it starts to rust which leads to holes, which leads to even bigger more expensive problems.
So maybe you aren’t into looks. But I bet you’re into money. Look at it this way, a well-loved vehicle will hold its value and will sell better than an old jalopy. Not planning on selling your ride? Okay, that’s fine. Keep in mind though, that if you are in an auto accident, the condition of your car before that accident is a major factor when determining how much you will get from an insurance company. It’s best to maintain your car properly than gamble on a rust bucket.
Moral of the story? Wash and wax your car regularly because you never know what might happen.