Got Snow? Tips for Protecting your Vehicle’s Finish from Caustic Snow Melt Chemicals

If you are like much of the U.S. you have encountered snow this month, and a LOT of it. Harsh deicing chemicals, rock salt and gravel not only look unsightly, but can damage the finish and undercarriage of your car. It is recommended that you take action as quickly as possible to get the corrosive chemicals off of your vehicle. Here are some tips for getting your car clean and shining, in spite of the unpredictable, nasty weather.

  • Drive-Through Car Wash Drive-through car washes are a fast and easy way to get a quick cleaning and to remove damaging chemicals from your car. Even a quick, economy, pass through your local car wash is money well spent to help keep caustic chemicals from doing damage. If the weather is below freezing you may have trouble finding an open car wash but rest assured, they will be open for business and very busy at the first opportunity.
  • Do-it-Yourself Car Wash Bays These are obviously more work than a drive-through, but offer a cleared space to quickly take a hose and some cleaner to your vehicle. It is better to do a quick clean and increase the frequency of cleaning your vehicle to keep damaging chemicals off your car, rather than worrying about getting a detailed clean.
  • Clean Your Car at Home with a Pressure Sprayer Depending on the weather you may be able to stay on top of this from your own home (without incurring additional costs.) A quick spray with a garden hose and some cleaner goes a long way to remove harsh chemicals and maintain the finish of your car. A pressure sprayer filled with a mild cleaning solution can make the job faster and easier.
    1. First rinse your vehicle with a garden hose.
    2. Fill a home & garden pressure sprayer with a mild cleaning solution. The sprayer’s wand will allow you to easily disperse cleaner to the undercarriage, grill, fenders and wheels without having to do a lot of bending. The sprayer will apply the cleaner under pressure, providing a stream strong enough to cut through the grime. What’s more, the cleaner is applied effortlessly since no hand application or trigger sprayer action is needed.
    3. If possible scrub your vehicle with a soft brush.
    4. Rinse off with water.

Adopt the mindset that the goal is to stay on top of protecting the finish, as opposed to driving around in a sparkling “ride.” You may have to do this every few days to stay ahead of the game, as roads can remain slushy for days after a snowfall.

Soon the bad weather will be behind us and we will be welcoming spring. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your home and property in this harsh winter season many of us are experiencing!

For information on solo sprayers see: