Area car washes staying busy after wintry weather

Good reasons to wash your car as soon as possible
There's good reason to flock to the car wash after our rounds of ice and snow.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 7:36 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - After our rounds of messy roads, snow, and ice earlier this week, the improved weather and roads have driven people to area car washes for a much needed bath.

Not only are motorists eager to get their cars looking nice again, Tim Fess, the general manager of Rick’s Automotive, says the salt and chemicals from road treatment is something that doesn’t belong on a car.

“Salt, due to its nature, has very corrosive properties,” says Fess. “There’s a lot of unknown, unprotected metal under a vehicle. There’s also a lot of nooks and crannies where that salt can cling.”

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, accumulated salt and chemicals within the wheel wells could lead to corrosion and rust from the inside out. While that’s a concern that Fess keeps an eye on, additional concerns could arise from underneath your vehicle.

“The things that you don’t see are a bigger concern,” Fess says. “From the underside of the vehicle, suspension components, brake components, exhaust components... And exhaust components can definitely be a deadly issue as well as the brakes. If the exhaust rusts out and that exhaust can leak into the passenger compartment of the cab, that could obviously result in asphyxiation.”

Fess also notes that it doesn’t matter if your vehicle comes from the factory with any coats or treatments to prevent rust and corrosion.

“There’s always going to be unprotected metal that doesn’t get the coating,” says Fess.” Plus, he notes that other components in the undercarriage aren’t readily manufactured for rust or corrosion prevention.

If left unattended, Fess says that some of his more expensive repairs related to salt and chemicals are what’s underneath the vehicle.

“You’re talking about the exhaust systems and suspension components of the vehicle,” Fess said. “That can certainly be pricing depending on the make and model of the vehicle. There are also things that you don’t really think about too much. The steel brake lines... Even though they do have a level of corrosion protection with zinc oxide, it still does occur.”

In terms of what drivers can do to prevent these issues from arising, Fess keeps it pretty simple.

”I would encourage people to wash the undercarriage of their cars,” Fess says. “A lot of car washes in the area offer undercarriage. Even with some repeated undercarriage washing, it’s the best way to purge the salt from the end of the vehicle after a winter event like we just had.”

In terms of how frequently the job should be done, give your car a trip to the car wash every week or two weeks to keep it clean with underbody and wheel cleaning. Many car washes across the Ozarks offer those services at affordable prices.

Those that prefer self-serve bays or to do it at home can simply take the high-pressure wand and rinse the wheels, wheel wells, and underbody yourself.

Owners can also take advantage of exterior detailing services that will make sure many nooks and crannies get cleaned after a recent storm or after the winter season starts to come to a close. It’s not much to make sure vehicles stay in running order and to prevent any big repairs down the road.

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