International Carwash Association Offers
Tips To Protect Car's Finish
The fall and winter weather can wreak havoc on your vehicle's exterior with
rain, mud, snow, sleet and salt breaking down its delicate finish. The
International Carwash Association (ICA) offers several tips to protect and
maintain your vehicle's finish all year round.
"Keeping your vehicle clean by frequenting a professional car wash every 10
days is one of the best defenses in protecting its finish," said Mark Thorsby, ICA executive director.
"Professional car washes are gentler to auto finishes
than the hose-and-bucket method, and cleaning solutions used are specially
formulated for clear coat and other new car finishes."
"And, as an added benefit to the environment," explains Thorsby,
"professional car washes use biodegradable cleaning solutions, far less water
than do-it-yourselfers, and dispose of wastewater according to strict federal
and state environmental regulations. On the other hand, wastewater run-off from
driveway washing flows directly into storm sewers, which leads to lakes and
streams where contaminants in the wastewater can harm fish and wildlife."
One of the most critical times to wash your vehicle is immediately after a
rainfall. Even after the lightest rain shower, the water evaporates, but the
acid remains on the vehicle's finish. Acid rain is caused when high
concentrations of emissions from fossil-fuel burning engines or plants react
with your car's paint to form sulfuric and nitric acids. Although you cannot
prevent acid rain, you can keep it from ruining your vehicle's finish by
removing it at a professional car wash.
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In some parts of the country, mud is so prevalent that it causes a constant
problem for vehicle finishes. Unfortunately, the importance of cleaning mud from
the undercarriage is often overlooked by motorists. Undercarriage treatments,
offered by most car washes, remove caked-on mud that holds moisture to metal and
causes rust and body rot around wheel wells and door sills.
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Snow and sleet can result in the same damaging effects as acid rain and are
often compounded by chemicals in road salt. To prevent this damage, washing your
vehicle during the winter is highly recommended -- especially in geographic
areas where snow and road salt are plentiful. This potential for damage can be
minimized and even eliminated by the following ICA suggestions for cold weather
If at a full-service car wash, ask one of the attendants to thoroughly dry
the area around the inside of the door and trunk, as well as around the area
where a power antenna is mounted to the car. (This is usually done without being
asked, but it doesn't hurt to offer a reminder.) If at an exterior-only or
self-service car wash, bring a few extra dry towels with you to perform these
Immediately after washing the vehicle, open and close all doors, the trunk,
and other outside parts of the car with locks several times before parking it.
Periodically apply a good silicone spray to all weather stripping during
freezing weather. (Water will not collect evenly on silicone-treated surfaces.)
A professional car wash can help protect your vehicle from the harsh elements of
the fall and winter weather. When you follow these basic car care tips, you'll
extend the life of your vehicle's appearance, and feel great driving a clean
Provided as a public service by the International
Article reprinted from www.womanmotorist.com