Frequent washing helps with mag chloride erosion
But the Colorado Department of Transportation – or, CDOT – sprays millions of gallons of the deicer onto Colorado’s roads each winter, so what’s a vehicle owner to do?
A car wash owner in Silverthorne said a few precautionary steps can help keep car parts mag chloride free.
“Automatic drive-through car washes have an undercarriage wash that gets underneath the automobile,” said Silverthorne Car Wash co-owner John Agnew. “Ours has 27 nozzles that spray under the car.
“I see a lot of people using the wand in the self-service bays spraying under the car, which is good, but you’re not going to get all those parts that are susceptible to corrosion,” he added.
According to Agnew, drivers should clean their automobiles after each storm to best prevent corrosion.
“When it’s really snowy and slushy, a lot of mag chloride is going to get on your car,” Agnew said. “Right after the streets dry out, you should get the car washed. The longer it sits on the car, the harder it is to get off.
“My partner and I wash our cars all the time, because it’s a lot easier to get that stuff off right away,” Agnew added.
To prevent damage, it’s better to use the automatic car wash, which Agnew said removes about three times the grit and grime that the self-serve wash does.
About every fourth or fifth wash, however, Agnew recommends using the self-serve.
“There’s a film that builds up, and the automatic wash is brushless. So, occasionally, you’ll want to use the self-service with the foaming brush,” he said. “That gets at all that built-up film.”
When choosing from the car wash menu, there are a few products to look for that are especially helpful in getting rid of mag chloride.
“A low-pressure, citrus-based pre-soak does a good job of loosening it up,” Agnew said. “In the self-serve, a clear-coat conditioner, which is a kind of wax, serves as a kind of barrier, so the mag chloride will come off a little more easily next time.”
Many car washes now use soaps that are specifically designed to remove mag chloride.
“Over the years, since they’ve been using it, we had to change our soap to better clean the cars. We’re always trying to come up with something better. Our soap costs are a lot higher than they used to be from these advanced soaps,” Agnew said.
Car washes that are both self-serve and automatic can be found throughout Eagle and Summit counties.