Cleaning Your Car after Going to the Beach - Sand and Saltwater Air

By: Aqua Auto Wash Detail & Lube Center | Published 08/08/2018

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If proper automotive care and maintenance are important to you, you have probably already been warned against the dangers of sand and saltwater air. But you also may be wondering…can a trip to the beach really destroy your car?

Here’s the real story.

The Danger of Saltwater Air

While a handful of beach visits isn’t likely to cause significant damage to your car or its paintjob, both sand and saltwater air present a very real automotive threat. Take, for example, the fact that body rust is a significantly greater problem for car owners who live in coastal environments. This is due to the fact that the salty air drifting in from the ocean causes both metal corrosion and paint damage.

Although the technically advanced paintjobs of newer cars can withstand the ravages of sea air far better than those of older models, the oxidizing effects of this air will slowly chip away at both paint and metal. And the intense sunlight and heat of the coastal environment only aggravates the problem by increasing the size of the pores in your paintjob and allowing more damaging salty moisture to permeate and, ultimately, corrode.  

The Danger of Sand

While the harmful effects of saltwater air generally take years to materialize, sand can cause far more immediate damage to your car in a myriad of ways.

First and foremost, you should drive never your car directly over sandy ground because kicking airborne gains of sand will wreak havoc on your automotive underbody. Just as sandpaper can wear down a wooden service, sand on your underbody can erode protective coating to expose metal to oxidation and corrosion.

Sand can also wear away the clear coat on your paintjob and turn both the metal of your frame and the rubbery plastic of your bumpers a ghostly and hazy white. To make matters worse, tiny grains of sand can even become embedded in your windshield!

Protect Your Car and Prevent Damage

If you live in a coastal area and/or take regular visits to the beach, there are a few things that you can do to mitigate the damaging effects of sand and saltwater air. Even occasional beachgoers can benefit by adhering to the following general guidelines.

  • Never take your vehicle directly onto sand or into ocean water unless it has been specifically designed for these purposes. If you must drive your car in one or both of these environments, use a hose to rinse the underside of your car immediately after it has cooled off
  • If you have a garage, use it! If not, consider getting a vehicle cover. By sheltering or covering your car while it is parked, you can reduce its exposure to sun, sand, and moisture.
  • Wash and wax your car regularly to protect both its paintjob and its underbody.

In short, if you want to protect your car from the potential damage of both sand and saltwater air, regular and thorough cleaning is an absolute must. Located at 4102 College Park Drive in The Woodlands, Texas, the Aqua Auto Wash Detail and Lube Center can help you with a wide range of car washing and general maintenance services.

For more information about Aqua Auto and monthly membership programs that will keep your car looking great for years, call 936-271-3440 or visit the official Aqua Auto website today.

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