Road salt and chemical deicers subtly attack a vehicle’s finish and the resulting damage calls for the special talents of car detailing professionals for deep cleaning, polishing and potentially painting repair. Even during a relatively mild winter, the roads in Madison WI are covered in salt and so are the vehicles that travel them.
Road salt and the alternative chemicals used to treat ice or pretreat ahead of a storm adhere to the road surface and continue to work slowly to provide better traction. They work slowly on the surface of your car, too. The chemicals linger and work into the car’s finish. Everything and anything moving beyond a crawl on the road is susceptible to the spray.
A Quick Fix Without A Body Shop
An obvious, if temporary treatment, is the local car wash. In Madison WI, where temperatures regularly dip well below freezing after a storm, that isn’t always practical. Even a quick hand-wash at home can save your car’s paint job – especially if you already have dings, dents or scratches these corrosive chemicals can penetrate.
A natural chemical reaction finds carbon dioxide in the air and water combining with the iron in your car’s body to create iron hydroxide, a particularly nasty form of rust. The only way to protect against it is to remove the corrosives and protect base metal with high quality primer, paint and clearcoat. Periodic car detailing and professional protection make a difference. Auto detailers have the tools to protect a car’s finish all year long. And, don’t forget the interior. There’s likely to be a build-up of salt residue beneath your pedals and anywhere passengers put their feet.
As outside temperatures go up, the rust reaction speeds up. And warmer temperatures mean more moisture in the air, compounding potential damage.
What Actually Happens To Your Finish
Vehicle paint isn’t a solid, impenetrable surface. It has pores. Sheet metal expands and contracts with temperature changes and if paint didn’t expand and contract at the same rate, it would crack on a very hot or very cold day. The pores are microscopic and normally don’t allow water and salt ions to reach the metal. But, after prolonged exposure, the elements dissolve to create an acid that assaults the surface. During normal driving, other contaminants and impurities blend with the salt to make it worse. The acid will eventually break down the clearcoat so it discolors, fades and eventually fails. If it goes too far, professional car detailing up to and including painting service can restore the attractive and protective finish.
Car Washes Are Not Great Compared To Car Detailing
Even though regular car washes are recommended, they shouldn’t be made without serious review of the potential dangers to your vehicle’s surface. The goal is always to get the corrosive elements off as quickly and efficiently as possible. Auto detailers in Madison WI point out that automated car washes can be adding additional threats. Their cloth brushes may become so saturated with salt, dirt and other chemicals that they act like sandpaper to scrape those microscopic pores.
Newer, “brushless” car washes are better, but not the best answer. Most use some sort of high-pressure water or chemical spray that can work as a “sandblaster” and their chemical cleaning agents may be hard on a stressed finish, too. In some cases, automatic car washes use reclaimed water as a rinse – so you’re just soaking your finish with dirty water.
Choose your car wash carefully. If one’s available, use a self-service wash bay – it may take longer and be more work, but in the long-run it’s your best do-it-yourself option. Your very best choice is to get your vehicle cleaned by a professional car detailing company like Auto Color.
To truly prevent clearcoat damage, put a layer of protection between the clearcoat and the harsh road chemicals. A high quality wax applied professionally is an excellent step. It acts as a physical barrier, filling in small scratches and swirl marks as it coats the entire surface. A professionally-applied wax will help rejuvenate your car’s finish and can last for months. Trained auto detailers have the tools and materials to do the job right.
If you need car detailing, an auto body shop or auto body painting in Madison WI, call Auto Color first.
Visit either of our two complete auto body shop locations in the Madison WI area – West on Parmenter Road in Middleton and East on Stoughton Road. These auto body shops serve all of Dane County including Verona, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Sauk City, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and Deforest.
Call Auto Color Middleton at 608-831-9554 or Auto Color East Madison at 608-221-5041, or email us for details on deep cleaning, polishing and paint repair with the most skillful car detailing professionals in Madison WI.