Important Post Snow Tip: Wash Your Car!

Category: News. Written by Grant 

Now that the Seattle Snopacalypse of 2008 is finally over, motorists can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Chains are being tucked away and forgotten while snow shovels are going back to the garage.

However, before you pat your back on having braved the snow and ice with your trusty car, there’s one important thing you might want to do: wash your car! Sound strange? Then keep reading.

One of the greatest debates during the winter snow storm was the use of salt on Seattle roads. Mayor Nickels and crew were quite adamant against the use of salt, due to the environmental ramifications of runoff going into the Puget Sound. While this caused a mass slip-and-slide effect for Seattle streets, not using salt saved the lifespan of many a vehicle in the Seattle area.

Salt is an important issue around cars because salt is incredibly corrosive to metal. Exposure to salt will cause rust to unprotected parts and speed up damage on existing rust. The devious part about salt is that it will often attack where you can’t see – the undercarriage of a car – because that’s where all the road salt, snow and water mixture is being kicked up by your tires.

“But wait, Seattle didn’t use salt, why should I worry?” While the City of Seattle didn’t use salt, the Washington State Department of Transportation did (just for the record: we’re not taking any sides, we’re just stating the fact). The WSDOT is in charge of major highways like 520, I-90 and I-405, so if you drove on any of those roads, your car has been exposed to salt over the last three weeks.

The good news is that the WSDOT crews use a brine mixture de-icer that they claim reduces the corrosive effects of their salt by 77%. That is a welcome respite given the beating that your poor vehicle has been through already, but it’s still a good idea to get any of that salt and chemical mixture off your car.

An easy and effective way is to simply get up, go out and get a car wash. We recommend a tunnel wash that includes undercarriage washing, as a regular car wash cannot reach all the tricky spots under your car. The cost of a decent car wash is about $15 while the repair cost for rust can go into the thousands, so it’s a no-brainer when it comes to what you pay now vs what you might pay later.

If you are super cheap, a high pressure garden hose will help remove some of the salt off the body, but you’ll still have the undercarriage to worry about, unless you don’t mind laying under your car and having dirty car water splash all over you while you do so. (Yeah, we didn’t think so)

On the other hand, if you drive a luxury vehicle or are an auto aficionado, you should seriously consider a full service detail that includes an undercarriage wash. A professional detailer will clean not only salt, but sand, dirt and other chemical deposits on and under your precious $40,000 investment.

So Seattlelites, get out to those stations and wash that car!

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