Home > Ask Gary > How do I get my car back to the way it looked in the fall? It’s been out in the snow all winter.

How do I get my car back to the way it looked in the fall? It’s been out in the snow all winter.

Toyota inCarwashThe most important thing is to keep up with cleaning your car off even between storms to help prevent rust, which is caused by the salt mixtures used on the roads. Because you may have waited for the better weather, don’t wait one moment longer to take care of the exterior of your vehicle.

Fortunately, the staff of Jaffarian Auto Spa at either Volvo or Toyota service areas at 600 River Street in Haverhill can treat your vehicle to a cleaning that is much needed this time of year. In Massachusetts, the State Highway Department does a great job of keeping roads clear and putting mixtures down according to the road conditions and temperature. Sodium chloride is the most readily available and at the lowest cost. It has some disadvantages, however, including its impact on the environment and its corrosive effect, especially on vehicles. It also doesn’t work well at low temperatures.

The State also takes into consideration reduced salt areas marked by road signs. In those areas and when the temperature is extremely cold, the road mixture includes a sodium chloride/calcium chloride blend which is better for the environment, but at a higher cost.

When to have your vehicle washed:

In washing salt off in wintertime, do so during the day so the vehicle has time to dry. You don’t want the water to freeze on your finish after temperatures fall. The outside temperature should preferably be around 40°F or higher. While your vehicle is still collecting slush, salt and sand, it’s recommended to wash your vehicle off every 10 days or so.

What services to look for at a car wash:

• Undercarriage wash – That is imperative during and after winter to clean out the salt mixtures from the roads. This is particularly important for trucks as the mixtures can actually get into the electrical components and promote decay of the brake lines.

• Evaluate the services provided – Did they dry the edges of the doors inside and out, including the undersides of door handles, all hinges, plus the hood and trunk edges. This helps keep them from freezing shut. (But let’s hope the cold is nearly over!)

• Wax and seal – After a winter washing (and in the fall) apply an additional coat of wax to all exposed metal. If you do it yourself, use a hand-held hair dryer to warm the metal surfaces before applying the wax and warm your buffing rags in a dryer to help the wax better adhere to the cold metal surfaces. But better yet, have it professionally waxed.

• Quality spray protectors should be used on all exterior rubber or vinyl surfaces. It may be best to spray it on an applicator instead of spraying the product directly onto the surface. This will avoid any overspray onto the paint.

• Carpet cleaning — If your vehicle’s carpets are stained from the salt mixture, the best treatment is hot water and white vinegar in a 50/50 mix put into a spray bottle, though it may not smell good. If you have your vehicle cleaned professionally on the inside, we will be sure to leave it smelling fresh!

Jaffarian Auto Spa packages start at $39.95 and you can schedule an appointment by calling (888) 234-2854. Your vehicle deserves a trip to the spa after the winter we just experienced!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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