Everywhere you go in the DC area this week, motorists are seeing dirty, filthy cars (and you may be driving one yourself), thanks to the sand and salt solutions used to de-ice roads after snow and ice hit the area.
No problem? Not so fast, says AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Motorists should wash away any traces of the recent snow and ice storm from their vehicles without delay to protect their vehicle's fine finish, exterior and interior, advises AAA Mid-Atlantic. However, many motorists are often unaware of the fact that the chemical arsenal used by area road crews to clear and clean area streets of ice and snow is taking a toll on their vehicles, notes AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Left unchecked, winter weather and road conditions and chemicals can cause considerable and costly damage to a vehicle’s paint, its stylish exterior, its frame and its chassis, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Approved Auto Repair program.
To improve your automotive hygiene habits in winter, AAA Mid-Atlantic provides the following do-it-yourself essentials to area motorists:
· Hand-wash in the broad daylight, but never in the direct sunlight. Do the job during the daytime hours before night falls and temperatures dip to or below the freeze point, causing your drenched doors, damp locks, and soaked driveway to freeze.
· Hose the vehicle down from top to down. Rinse your car before washing it.
· Avoid dishpan hands by wearing rubber gloves while cleaning and washing your car.
· Conserve water and prevent driveway freeze-up by using a hose nozzle with a trigger. On average, it takes about 116 gallons of water to wash your car in the driveway.
· Rub-a-dub-dub with care. Use a clean long-nap mitt, sponge or towel. Dirt particles under your sponge or rag can scratch the paint.
· Treat your coupe to a bubble bath. Only use a detergent with a high PH content. Never use grease-cutting dish-washing liquid. Laundry soaps should not be used to wash your car. Their high PH content will remove a car’s wax coating and harm its clear-coat finish. Use a weak solution of mild dish detergent or a cleaning product specially formulated for cars.
· Wash from top to bottom and body panel to body panel.
· Give your car the spa treatment. Rinse often before the suds dry on the body.
· Splish-splash. Power rinse trouble spots or rust-prone spots with a concentrated spray from your garden hose.
· Spray down the undercarriage to remove the road salts, dirt and mud buildup.
· Be gentle. Never use abrasive pads on wheels. Pads made for scrubbing pots and pans are too harsh for a wheel’s finish, so are caustic cleaners. Aluminum or magnesium sport wheels have a clear-coat finish that can wear away if not treated properly. Clean them with a soft brush and a non-caustic cleaner.
· Get rid of the bathtub ring. Dry your washed car with a damp chamois or clean, damp towel. Wipe each area down using straight, even strokes, moving all the way across the panel. This will prevent the surface from becoming water-spotted.
· Make sure the automated car wash you take your car to is equipped to clean your undercarriage too.
· Avoid car wash facilities that use nylon brushes. Brushes can scratch your paint.