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Hitting the carwash in any weather is good for your car -and the environment.
When the weather gets cold and wet, you may be inclined to slack-off on keeping your car clean. Why go to the trouble when it’s just going to get dirty again tomorrow, right? If you’re a DIY car-washer, then getting out into the bad weather to get even wetter is an even bigger turn-off. If that’s the case, then a commercial carwash is going to save you the headache. But did you know, it’s a good idea for the maintenance of your car to run it through the carwash during the winter? It’s also just a good idea, period, to use a commercial carwash over washing your car in your driveway, no matter what the season.
Winter weather is corrosive to your vehicle
Your car is exposed to increased levels of water, sand particles and salt during the winter months. If you live in an area that salts the roads, either before or after snow or ice, then your vehicle is getting a nice layer of corrosive chemical build-up – especially on the undercarriage.
Plus, all that wet weather is loosening gas, grease, tar and other chemicals on the roadbed. These chemicals are kicked up by your tires and sprayed onto your car while you travel.
Leaving these chemicals on metal – and non-metal – parts including your car’s paint, and other more essential components like your breaks, break-pads, and suspension system can create pitting and begin the journey of rust.
Keep your car’s undercarriage clean
One of the best ways to keep corrosive materials from sitting too long and exacting their costly damage is to run your car through a commercial carwash. Tunnel and automatic car washes often have an undercarriage service included or offered as an add-on to their service. These services also capture the offending chemicals and wash water in a closed-loop system, so you’re not washing them down your driveway to your stormwater system. Which leads to another critical point about hitting your local carwash versus washing your car yourself…
Commercial carwashes are better for the environment
Technically, washing your car in your own driveway isn’t a crime. But, letting the sudsy water wash down into the storm drain is in most cities in Oregon. You’d be hard-pressed to soap up your car and then rinse it in a way that captures all that dirty water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this kind of runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the United States.
Commercial carwashes must adhere to strict wastewater and chemical guidelines mandated by the EPA. Most full service and tunnel style carwashes are closed-loop systems. All water and chemicals are captured and kept separately for future onsite or offsite treatment, and recycling – including the chemicals washed off your vehicle. Approved cleaning chemicals are either entirely biodegradable to begin with, or fully treatable.
Commercial carwash owners are also motivated by business margins to maximize the conservation of water and other resources – often above and beyond a local jurisdiction’s regulations. A commercial carwash uses 60 percent less water to clean your entire car compared to only rinsing (not even cleaning) your car at home.
The bottom line is, don’t wait for the next sunny day to clean your vehicle. Hitting your local carwash will extend your vehicle’s mechanical life and her paint job. Plus, you’ll be keeping those corrosive chemicals from going back into the stormwater waste stream. Something to feel good about when the February blahs have got you down.