Why do you wash your car? Because its owner’s manual told you to? Because you know it is the right thing to do? Maybe. Chances are, you wash your car because you like to see it bright and clean and shiny. And you want to protect your paint. Or at least, you are tired of the dust and dirt coating the surface. But do you think about the parts of your car that you cannot see? What about the underside? How often do you clean that part of your car?
Out of sight-out of mind
Like the space on top of or behind the refrigerator, certain things do not immediately come to mind. They become neglected. The same is true with your vehicle. Over time, dirt and grime can build on the outside of your car, truck, or SUV. But they can accumulate on the underside as well.
Salt and sludge can get caked in all sorts of nooks and crannies. Moisture gets trapped and corrosion results. Drain holes under the car get clogged or restricted and water is unable to seep out. Lower panels laid bare of paint and rust-proofing materials from miles of rocks and sand pelting the surface become coated with corrosive compounds instead.
Those out-of-sight areas are just as important to keep clean as the topside ones. In fact, they are often more important because of their significance to the safety and driveability of your vehicle.
The nasty side of neglecting the underneath
Protecting your paint is important. It is essential if you want to keep your vehicle looking new for years to come. So make sure to wash your car frequently, every other week or so. Have it professionally detailed every so often to remove stubborn contaminants and correct minor paint flaws before they become serious. Keep it coated with polymer paint sealant and wax to shield out water and ultra-violet rays of the sun. but do not neglect the unseen underside of your vehicle. Doing so can lead to a host of problems.
Why is the underside important? Well, consider what is under the body of your car. Your steering, suspension, and braking systems are all exposed to the same elements that the upper body is subject to. All of the dirt and grime and sand and salt. Each of those systems is directly related to how your car operates. And each is linked directly to your safety and that of your passengers.
Corrosion and contamination of brake system components, the rotors, calipers, and brake pads, can inhibit your ability to stop adequately. The wheel speed sensors that inform your anti-lock brakes are susceptible to the same concerns. Compromises to the steering system can obviously affect your ability to control the vehicle. And your suspension is tasked with more than giving you a comfortable ride. It is necessary for proper handling and performance. Brake fluid lines, fuel lines, and many more components are all subject to abuse if they are not kept clean.
Same goes for your exhaust system, the muffler, catalytic converter, and tailpipe. These corrode quickly when they are allowed to remain contaminated. One of the most common causes of a check engine light coming on is a bad oxygen sensor in the exhaust system. Corrosion is a factor in an O2 sensor going bad.
Yes, the brakes, steering, suspension, and exhaust all deteriorate and malfunction when you do not wash the underside of your car. So do the frame and underbody components (rocker panels, floor pans, etc.), compromising the structural integrity of your vehicle.
If you are truly concerned about taking care of your car, it is essential that you clean not only the outside but the underside too. But that presents a problem. How do you thoroughly wash underneath a car? It is not as if you can simply pick it up in the air and crawl underneath with a hose. So, what can you do?
That is where an automatic car wash comes in handy. Some drivers think that an automatic car wash is not good for a car. Like the idea that you need to change your oil every three thousand miles, the concept that all automatic car washes are bad for a car is a myth. Washing a car by hand rather than driving through an automatic wash can actually cause more damage, not less. And doing it yourself does not allow for careful cleaning underneath. There are several advantages to an automatic car wash, one of those being an underbody cleaning.
A professional automatic car wash is the best way to clean the parts of your car that you cannot see – and those that you can. The next time you take your car to the carwash, choose a service that includes an undercarriage wash. One that does often comes with car wash extras, such as Armor All ® Extreme Shine Wax to shine and protect your paint. Frequent washes for the top and bottom of your car, along with regular inspections of the mechanical components underneath, can give you peace of mind that your car will last for many miles.
Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash | Author: Mike Ales | Copyright
This article is intended only as a general guidance document and relying on its material is at your sole risk. By using this general guidance document, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash and its affiliates from and against any and all claims, damages, costs, and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising from or related to your use of this guidance document. To the extent fully permissible under applicable law, Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the information, content, or materials included in this document. This reservation of rights is intended to be only as broad and inclusive as is permitted by the laws of your State of residence.