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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Tornare

How to Clean a Car At the End of Winter?

Salt is used to prevent roads from freezing during the winter. However, without a good wash at the end of the season, this same salt can harm the health of one' s vehicle. That's why it's important to give cars a thorough cleaning after snow and salt have disappeared from the road.

Carequest Car broker Switzerland, hand wash of a black Porsche Taycan

Salt is bad for the metal parts of vehicles. When mixed with water and oxygen, salt accelerates corrosion, resulting in rust. In the long term and without treatment, this process can be disastrous. Invisible vehicle parts are particularly affected. They are often forgotten and therefore rarely washed. However, once covered with salt, it is important to take care of them to avoid problems.

Although modern cars suffer less from the ravages of rust, it is important to remove salt from and in the vehicle to prolong its life and improve its condition.



What parts are these?

Chassis

The chassis is exposed to natural elements. As it is not usually visible, it is often forgotten during washing. However, it is worth cleaning it at the end of winter to ensure that there is no salt residue. This is particularly important if the vehicle is then parked for a significant period. If the vehicle is driven, this is still relevant, even if the water on the road after a spring shower will remove some of the residual salt.


Chassis protection is essential, as repairs are costly or even impossible. For example, a vehicle with a rusty chassis will probably not pass the inspection and will have to be taken off the road.


Wheel wells

Wheel wells are usually only roughly washed during a standard wash. This is because they are partly covered by the wheels and difficult to access. However, the suspensions, brakes and various axle parts are real salt traps because of their high exposure to saltwater splashes and their various cavities. To avoid corrosion of these metal parts, it is recommended to carry out a thorough washing with the wheels removed. This can be done either by the owner (e.g. when changing the wheels) or by a garage, a specialist or the TCS.


Door frames

Door frames are often overlooked because they are not visible. Nevertheless, they are prone to splashing because of their position close to the front wheels. As a result, a lot of material and water remains there. If saltwater is trapped for long periods, the first signs of corrosion can be seen. Door frames are known to rust relatively quickly. The lower part of the doors and the trunk frame suffer from the same problem. This is of course more prevalent on older vehicles.


To wash these parts, simply open the doors, spray with soap/cleaner and scrub with a suitable brush or microfiber towel. Finally, the whole thing should be rinsed and then dried up to prevent water from being trapped in any cavities.



How to proceed?

There are different solutions depending on how much time and energy one wants to spend on washing the car.


TCS

The TCS offers various car wash services for the end of winter. The price depends on the size of the vehicle and the extent of the service. It varies between CHF 80 and CHF 149 for a simple wash and desalting. However, the services offered can be much more extensive, including a polish or wax application to protect the vehicle.


The TCS is a reliable partner with generous prices. For people who do not wish to wash their vehicle themselves, this is an interesting offer to prevent corrosion.


Workshops

Most workshops also offer the possibility of a more extensive vehicle wash (undercarriage, etc.). In addition, many offer promotions at the end of the winter. This service can also complement the annual service and thus avoid a further visit.


Car wash

Car washes usually offer the option of cleaning the undercarriage. Although this automated wash is less extensive than a professional wash, it can be sufficient. It is recommended that at least one such wash is carried out at the end of winter. However, one should be aware that the brushes of car washes damage the paintwork. Too extensive use of these automated systems can reduce the shine and scratch the paintwork.


Hand wash

For enthusiasts, there is still the possibility of washing the vehicle by hand. To do this, there are various shampoos, degreasers, desalting products, etc. In addition, a brush and a microfibre towel are required.


In general, it is advisable to cover the surfaces to be washed with a cleaning product or a mixture of products. After leaving it to soak for a few moments, use the brush to agitate the cleaning agent and access the cracks, gaps and cavities. After scrubbing, rinse with water. It is advisable to use water with a low mineral content to avoid white spots. Finally, dry with a cloth. For purists, compressed air can be used to ensure that all water is removed. At this point, the cleaned parts can be covered with a protective lotion. This is optional.



Conclusion

Winter road conditions hurt the health of one's vehicle. Salt is particularly dangerous for metal parts, as it accelerates the corrosion process. To prevent rusting, it is therefore essential to remove this salt at the end of winter with a thorough wash. In addition, the invisible parts of the car must be taken into account, as they tend to be forgotten during a normal wash.


There are various solutions available going from service providers to the hand wash. Regardless of the chosen method, it is recommended to carry out a more thorough wash at the end of the winter to avoid unpleasant surprises in the long term.


 

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