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Motorists warned to make a clean job of washing cars

Venturing out onto UK roads through the coldest months of the year can prove extremely taxing for your vehicle.

Road salt spread on the Tarmac by local councils works to lower the freezing point of water, preventing hazardous ice from forming and also helping to reduce the risk of accidents.

But that salt also rapidly accelerates the process of rust - the nasty and corrosive coat of iron oxide that forms on iron or steel - particularly when the metal is wet.

And diligently cleaning the exterior of your car isn’t enough to ward off long term damage, according to experts at Select Car Leasing, the UK’s largest independent specialists for car and van leasing.

Because you should also be cleaning the underside of your car at least once a week when there’s grit lingering on roads - using either a hosepipe or pressure washer - to get rid of that destructive coating of road salt.


Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, explains: 

“The vast majority of motorists understand that they need to clean their cars more often through winter in order to combat the effects of road salt. And you really need to keep on top of your cleaning regime throughout this time in order to protect your car’s paintwork and exterior appearance from the harmful effects of road grit. But the underside of your car is a potential weak spot that you’re simply ignoring - because too few of us actually spend quality time cleaning this area.”

Conway points out that road grit can linger on roads for days at a time once it has been spread, especially if it doesn’t rain.

And he adds: 

“A build-up of salt, when combined with moisture, can really sink its teeth into some of your car’s key components, particularly the brakes, exhaust, the low-slung parts of the engine and even - crucially - the car’s frame. Bear in mind that replacing all four brake callipers on your car could, depending on the model, cost well in excess of £1,000, while new exhaust components are not cheap, either.
To protect the longevity of your car, I’d recommend getting into the habit of always giving the underside of your car a good rinse when you wash the rest of your car. A hosepipe is great, a pressure washer is even better, provided the pressure isn’t too great that it damages components.
And through the winter you do, ideally, need to be washing your car every week to prevent road salt from overwhelming your vehicle. You should also bear in mind that a lot of dedicated car washes - the type where you park-up and let the automated foam rollers do their job - also have an ‘undercarriage wash’ option. If you can pay a little extra to get the benefits of that, it will save you money in the long run.”


The Select Car Leasing team also has another important tip for winter motorists - always have a hat or cap with a brim to hand when faced with the low winter sun.

Conway adds: 

“The winter sun can be a real hazard at this time of year. It’s set so low in the sky at times that your car’s sun visor often does nothing to combat the glare, simply because the sun is so low that it evades the visor’s effects.
I’d recommend having a baseball cap or some other brimmed hat stashed in your glove box, just in case, because the last thing you want to be doing is heading into busy traffic with your visibility compromised.”

The Select Car Leasing experts also say you should never neglect cleaning the inside of your windows, either.


Conway reveals: 

“Your windows are actually one of the most neglected areas of cars when it comes to routine maintenance. The law states that windscreens and windows must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision. And while most people think this refers to dirt which can build up on the outside, such as mud splatters, it refers to the inside of your vehicle too.
Grime on the inside of windscreens can create a dazzling, blinding glare when motorists are faced with other cars’ headlights. Meanwhile a build-up of interior dust and dirt also means mist and condensation takes a lot longer to clear. On those cold, wintery mornings where you might also find a layer of ice on your windscreen, having spotless windows is going to make a big difference to the start of your day.”


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Wednesday, 11/05/2022