As it's winter right now, the roads are salted. Car owners who usually don't visit the car wash very often should also have their car cleaned of winter slush.
When the car body is covered up to the roof with the salt that has been dropped on the roads as ice control, rust will get a special appetite for the metal.
Enn Lust, the director of the institute of chemistry and physical chemistry at Tartu University , explained that the corrosion process that is usually simply called "rusting" by the general population works particularly fast if the car is covered in water that contains table salt. This happens because the salt or chloride ions speed up rusting.
The corrosion process accelerates also when the temperature rises: when the weather is extremely cold, the process is slow, but as the weather gets warmer, it speeds up several times, he said.
As the weather is cold, it's necessary to salt the roads. That's why you should think about having your car cleaned of salt now.
Ülo Ramp, the director of the car department at Tartu Vocational Education Center explained that a good layer of paint is not always enough to protect the car.
Under the microscope, one can see many tiny cracks in the paint that cannot be seen by the naked eye. When salt and other substances enter the cracks, they start chemical reactions under the paint layer, which can damage the metal.
Ramp said that removing dust with a dry cloth also damages and scratches the paint.
To prevent the paint from being damaged in the aggressive and acidic environment caused by the salts, Ramp recommended that a car be waxed at least twice a year, in fall and spring.
The four-wheeled friend should be washed as often as once a week. "Just as we take a shower every evening and morning," he made a comparison.
According to Ramp, the car should be washed from underneath once a month or at least before taking it to a repair shop or having it serviced. Even though one does not look under the car very often the layer protecting the metal can be damaged there as well.
Mäido Villems, the director of warranty service at Amserv Tähe said that sometimes, worried new car owners come to the service, having noticed small rust spots on the car.
There's necessarily no need to worry about the rust on the vehicle body. In most cases, the reason lies in small metal particles that are stuck to the car paint. In our winters, they appear as noticeable rust spots already after a very short time. This can be fixed by a good car wash.
Mäido Villems added that even though people tend to think that there's no point in washing the car during wet weather because it will be dirty again very soon, they should visit the car wash even more often during the salting period. In that way, the chlorides will not get a chance to damage the car body that much.
(Source: Postimees 07.04.2010)