Winter Car Wash Tips: Keep the undercarriage of your car clean from salt buildup

CLEVELAND - The winter warm-up prompts long lines at the car washes, but a local car wash owner said it’s important to choose the right wash to best protect your car.

“You want to make sure you get that underneath rinse off,” said Joe Hathorn, owner of Carnegie Auto Wash & Detail in Cleveland. “That chassis bath is just as important as the exterior.”

Keeping the undercarriage of your car clean prevents rust from forming due to salt buildup.

Oftentimes, the cheapest wash option doesn’t include the undercarriage wash.

“It’s just been so cold, and it’s like why spend the money when it’s going to get salt on it anyway,” said Paul Sadde of Spencer, who opted for the cheapest car wash at a gas station in Cleveland.

Sadde paid $7 for an exterior wash, a rinse and power air dry for his 2010 Ford F-150. He said he’s only washed his truck twice this year because work hasn’t been steady, and he unknowingly bought his truck new with rust already on the bottom.

“This time of year, you have to get all of that salt and crud off your car so it’s good to have a full wash,” said Bill Round, an Akron resident who got the most expensive wash at the same gas station.

Round’s $9 wash included an exterior and undercarriage wash, a clear coat protectant, a rinse and power dry.

Round said he always gets undercarriage washes in the winter to protect the underneath of his Hyundai car.

“Salt is salt,” said Hathorn. “So you need it not just off the top, off the bottom too.”

Hathorn also suggested that you wax your car or truck throughout the winter to protect the paint from salt and grime.

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