Clear roads leave dirty cars

Salt used on area roadways and sidewalks to melt ice and snow can cause damage to vehicles. (WTOP)

WASHINGTON – Cleaning up the snow and ice from local roadways over the past week has left cars and streets covered in salt and sand.

“Get it off as soon as possible,” advises Mike Dege, CEO of Detailz Fine Auto Cleaning.

Road salt can cause body damage, as well as damage to brake and fuel lines.

Dege recommends getting an undercarriage pressure wash to remove salt from those areas of your vehicle. Salt causes corrosion, which destroys paint and expedites rusting.

If left untreated these things can be very expensive to repair.

In addition, a paint protectant, such as wax or a “paint sealer” can help guard against future damage to the body of the car.

AAA Mid-Atlantic has several recommendations when dealing with salt-encrusted cars in the winter weather. They say car owners should wash the remnants of the last snow or ice storm from their cars as soon as possible. The chemicals used in treating the area roads can take their toll on cars.

Some tips provided by AAA Mid-Atlantic are:

  • Hand-wash your car during daylight. Avoid washing before night when temperatures often fall and can causing wet doors, locks and driveways to freeze.
  • Rinse the car from top to bottom before washing.
  • Wear rubber gloves when washing your car.
  • Wash your car with detergents with high PH content. Never use grease-cutting dish-washing liquid or laundry detergent.
  • Use a weak solution of mild dish detergent or a cleaning product designed specially for cars.
  • Wash from top to bottom and body panel to body panel.
  • Rinse often to prevent soap suds from drying.
  • Spray down the undercarriage of the car to remove road salts, dirt and mud buildup.
  • Dry your car with damp chamois or clean, damp towel.
  • Avoid car wash facilities that use nylon brushes. Brushes can scratch your paint.

Submit photos of your dirty car to WTOP’s Dirty Cars gallery. The gallery is on the right. Or use #dirtycar on Twitter.

Rohan Williamson contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.

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