Winter And Your Car
You might think that the best time to wash and your car is in the spring in summer. Actually winter is the best season – especially in cold climates when dirt, corrosive road salts and melting snow can do a lot to destroy automobiles.
Waiting until the weather and roads clear up is even worse!
The longer the sludge stays baked in the undercarriage and
on the paint you are virtually taking years off the life of your car. If you are planning on selling or trading it in later, this kind of corrosion will cost you thousands.
“Salt is by far the biggest car culprit – it can attack even the toughest paints and finishes if not washed off consistently,” explains Mark Thorsby, executive director of the International Carwash Association.
Nearly $24 billion a year is spent battling automobile corrosion damage. This winter, getting your car washed at least once or twice a month – or more if you see or feel build-up – is essential to protect your investment.”
Drivers should be wary of the following car culprits this winter:
* SALT. Most icy roads are treated with a corrosive mixture of sand and salt often in the form of sodium chloride. In recent years, another corrosive salt mixture – sodium magnesium – has been used on roads, which some experts say is even more corrosive. The salt gets caked on the undercarriage can promote rust, especially in older vehicles. It can also affect how well the car drives.
*ACID RAIN. According to studies compiled by ICA, it is critical to wash a vehicle immediately after a rainfall. As rain falls, it collects pollutants from the air, a concept commonly referred to as acid rain and triggered in North America by industrial and automotive pollution. The water eventually evaporates leaving a thin film of pollutants that can damage a car’s finish permanently.
* ENVIRONMENTAL ELEMENTS. Bird droppings, road grime and tree sap can also mar a car’s shiny finish, leaving it dulled and imperfect looking.
Car owners and drivers should take the following actions this winter:•
Be a step ahead of winter. Visit a professional car wash at least once or twice a month – or more, depending on local weather conditions.
Know the facts about car washing:
* Car washes protect an owner’s investment. Maintenance goes beyond oil changes and tune-ups. Keeping a car clean is essential – and not just for cosmetic reasons. If a vehicle isn’t kept clean on a regular basis, it will be de-valued at the time of trade-in or resale. According to auto trade-in experts such as Kelley Blue Book, cars in excellent mechanical condition and appearance can be valued as much as $1,500 higher than those in good or fair condition.
*Professional car washing is the wiser environmental choice. Pro washes use about 50 percent less water that at-home washes, thanks to conservation methods. Furthermore, professional car washes are mandated to pipe dirty water to treatment facilities or into state-approved drainage facilities. Quite the opposite, at-home car washes pollute the environment as soap and road grime (oil, tar, dirt) end up in storm sewers that flow into lakes, streams and rivers.
* Professional car washing saves time. A pro wash requires five-to-eight minutes, on average, compared to 45 to 60 minutes when done at home.
* Professional washes are cost-effective. Costs for car washes at a gas station every other week costs less than $150 a year. Bi-weekly full-service car washes, costs just a few hundred dollars per year.