Interiors 8-7
Exteriors 8-8
Sundays & Holidays: 9-5
28800 Lorain Rd
North Olmsted, OH 44070
Phone: 440-777-4414
Monday-Saturday: 8:00am-7:00pm (Interior)
Monday-Saturday: 8:00am-8:00pm (Exterior)
Sundays & Holidays: 9:00am-5:00pm

The Importance Of Washing Under A Vehicle


Everywhere your car goes, it’s exposed to whatever is on the road. And in winter, that means plenty of road salt. Even though Ohio winters are wildly different from what we might remember as kids, we’ll still have periods of snow, freezing rain, and ice that bring out the salt trucks. We value road safety just as much as the next person, but sometimes that application of road salt can be a little intense. It’s annoying when it gets on our car’s finish and rubs off on coats, bags, and clothes, but just think of what’s going on underneath your car. Here’s a key way to protect your car during winter.


What Is Road Salt?

Road salt is made predominantly from sodium chloride with some calcium chloride or magnesium chloride present as well. It’s a naturally mined substance that’s also known as halite, and it’s essentially an unpurified version of common table salt.

Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, so it delays or prevents accumulated slush on roads from solidifying and making it difficult or dangerous to drive. That being said, salt does require some water to activate the process, so sometimes in anticipation of a big weather event, a mixture of salt and water–a brine–is put down on roads. The more precipitation there is, the more salt will need to be added to keep it from freezing. Very low temperatures–under 15 degrees Fahrenheit–render salt pretty useless. But because we haven’t had very cold winters in the last few years, we rarely drop that low, and salt use is up. In fact, road salt use in the U.S. has doubled over the past several decades.


What Road Salt Does to Your Car

When road salt splashes up onto your car, over and again, all winter long, it can build up and get mixed in with other bits of dirt and grime. As these elements sit on your car, they can eat away at the car’s paint and finish. That encourages rust and corrosion that can bubble and flake, creating holes and compromising your car’s integrity. But that’s just what you can easily see. Salt can also eventually lead to large-scale issues under the car, including corrosion of the chassis, engine, fuel tank, and both the brake and fuel lines along with various electrical connections. Every one of these systems needs to operate as intended for your car to be safe, and road salt isn’t doing you any favors there!

Here’s a sobering fact: in 2017 AAA found that we collectively spend millions of dollars annually on rust damage repairs that stem from de-icers. That’s serious money! Is there anything you can do to combat the damage?


Prevent Rust Damage

While traveling on salt-laden roads is inevitable during winter, you can definitely take steps to limit the damage it causes to your vehicle. The first steps to preventing damage on your car’s finish begin before the first flakes fly, with a thorough wash and wax. This layer of protection, paired with subsequent regular car washing, will help road salt residue to easily wash away.

If you can at all help it, experts recommend staying off the roads during and immediately after a winter weather event. This is when road salts are actively being applied and so are often at their highest concentrations. You might have to be out on the road at these times, we get it. If that’s the case, then definitely come visit our car wash in North Olmsted, Ohio to remove salty remnants, right away. It’s important to use specially formulated solutions to clean your vehicle, as most household detergents are too strong and can end up removing protective coatings that help to protect against salt. And since it’s next to impossible to effectively clean your car’s undercarriage at home–leave that to your local car wash center.

Once winter ends, a thorough exterior auto detailing service ensures that all salty vestiges of winter are long gone, preventing residual damage from lingering de-icing residues. Here are a few more top tips to protect your car this winter:

  • Visit a car wash after each snow or ice storm
  • Open and close doors, hatch and truck repeatedly to prevent freezing
  • If possible, avoid driving in deep snow which can increase rusting


Clean Your Car’s Undercarriage

We’ve already established that road salt can lead to rust and corrosion on your car’s finish, but we also know that it can cause major damage to the parts you can’t see. However, the salts, dirt and grime that cake together and build up on your car’s undercarriage can be responsible for very preventable problems. 

Your car’s undercarriage is designed with small drainage holes that allow moisture to escape, but salts can collect and block these openings. That stop in air flow combined with the corrosive nature of road salt can speed up rusting. An undercarriage is also the first place to be chipped or impacted by road debris. These tiny abrasions can compromise the finish and open the bare metal to exposure to road salt and other harsh substances. 

The best thing you can do for your car this winter (and all year, really) is to include an undercarriage wash the next time you get a car wash in North Olmsted. You’re rarely if ever going to get down and take a close look at what’s going on under your car, but you can rest assured that if you regularly wash the undercarriage, you’ll do wonders to prevent corrosion and damage to some of your vehicle’s most essential systems. Powerful water jets and special washing formulas reach places you can’t, helping to get rid of buildup before it gets out of hand. All these steps mean that your vehicle stays in better condition for a longer period of time, making its resale value higher and preventing costly (avoidable!) repairs. These are just a few reasons to regularly wash your car, but there are so many more!

You can’t control Ohio weather, but you can take the matter into your own hands and insist on a quality car wash after each and every winter storm. At Andy’s Auto Wash we offer top notch interior auto detailing for Clevelanders. Choose from our valuable unlimited packages or schedule an appointment for a thorough exterior or interior auto detailing package. Contact us today to learn more about our services and specials!

  • The Importance Of Washing Under A Vehicle

    Discover the importance of washing under your vehicle to combat the corrosive effects of road salt during winter. Learn how regular undercarriage cleaning can prevent rust, extend your car's lifespan, and save you from expensive repairs. This is the key to vehicle maintenance and protection against Ohio's winter roads.

    Read More »

  • What Happens If You Never Wash Your Car?

    A clean exterior isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must if you want to get the most out of your investment. See what happens if you were to never wash your car...

    Read More »

  • A black car driving through fall leaves, Andys Autowash can help you prepare your car for colder weather.

    Seasonal Tune-Up Tips: How To Prepare Your Car for Fall

    Behind your home and kids’ education, your car is likely one of the biggest investments your family will make. You ensure that its mechanical needs are met–keep it in good-as-new physical condition too, with just a few simple maintenance checks and regular visits to your local car wash in North Olmsted– Andy's Auto Wash and Detailing Center.

    Read More »