WATER SAVING TIP #185
Wash company vehicles at commercial car washers that recycle water.
WATER SAVING TIP #185
Wash company vehicles at commercial car washers that recycle water.
It’s that time of year again. Winter is approaching which means preparing your car for some nasty weather elements. If you live in snow country, you’ll likely have snow tires put on to prevent your car from sliding off the road. If you live in a region where salt is used on the roads, you may consider getting an extra layer of coating to protect your undercarriage so it doesn’t rust. And, with all the acid rain, road grease, and other unsavory elements that will attack your car this winter, getting a wax job to protect your paint might be a good idea.
So why do we invest so much time and money in protecting our car when winter approaches? There are a number of reasons, all of which are equally important. First off, preventative car care protects our automobiles so they last longer, also preserving resale value. Secondly, taking care of our vehicles prevents having costly repairs and frightening breakdowns. An overwhelming majority of car owners seem to know what to do, and why, when it comes to car care.
Then why is it the overwhelming majority of car owners seldom wash their cars on a regular basis? The irony here is that keeping your car clean (for under $10 every couple of weeks) has many significant financial and environmental benefits as well, especially when performed by a professional car wash.
Let’s start with the financial rewards. In today’s environment, on the best of days, our cars are subjected to sun, salt from the sea, road grease, dead bugs, bird poop and smog. On bad days, our cars are subjected to salt from snow trucks, acid rain, tree sap, road slush and mud.
Any one of these elements can eat away at a car’s metal, chrome and paint. Corrosion will occur and rust will appear under the carriage, in wheel wells, even in parts under the hood. It may not be noticeable right away, but over time it will degrade your car, diminishing its resale value. When it comes time to sell or trade you’ll be quite disappointed at how little your car is worth and how much you’ve lost financially. By having your car washed monthly, not only do you protect your investment and save money, you also ensure your continued freedom to go anywhere and do anything, not to mention your personal safety and security while on the road.
Did you know that nearly $24 billion a year is spent on battling car corrosion damage? This cost is absorbed by you, the consumer, in three ways; funding automakers efforts to research corrosion-resistant paints and coatings; fixing damage to your own vehicle caused by road and sea salt; or corrosion-related depreciation of cars. Go to www.corrosioncost.com/pdf/motorvehicles.pdf for more information.
There is another important reason to keep your car professionally washed, protecting the environment. In 1972, the government established the Clean Water Act, which mandated professional car washes to pipe dirty water to treatment facilities or into state-approved drainage facilities.
Washing your car at home pollutes the environment — soap and road grime such as oils, tar, and dirt washed from your car ends up in storm sewers that flow into lakes, streams and rivers. In fact, many North American cities have even banned charity car-washing events, which result in soapy discharge and wasted water. Regardless of all the other reasons mentioned, the environmental issue should be consideration enough. After all, these lakes, streams and rivers could be those in which your children swim, or where you fish, or perhaps even live. Keeping them clean ensures a healthier future for all of us.
Another consideration is this: a professional car wash uses about 32 gallons per car. Studies have shown that a 45-minute car wash at home can use more than 300 gallons of water. Who pays your water bills?
Treat your car the way you want it to treat you. Add a professional car wash to your monthly chores. With some 75,000 professional car washes nationwide, there’s just no excuse to skip it. And bring the kids. They’re never too young to start learning the value of good auto maintenance, inside and out.
For fun facts and more information on how often you need to wash go to www.carlove.org.
For many vehicle owners, the weekend act of washing a car by hand is a therapeutic act as beneficial for the person’s state of mind as to the vehicle’s appearance. That’s good, because frequent washing is also the best way to maintain a new-car finish. But as simple as washing your car may seem, there are some things to watch for so that you don’t accidentally scratch or degrade the finish. Here are some basic car-washing tips.
When should I wash the car?
Don’t… wait for a layer of crud to accumulate before washing. Dead bugs, bird droppings, and chemicals from the atmosphere all leach acids that can strip away wax and eventually eat into your car’s paint. If left too long, they can cause damage that requires sanding and repainting the area to correct.
Do… wash off dead bugs, bird droppings, and tree-sap mist as soon as possible. Other than this, a weekly car wash will keep the finish in its best shape. In addition, if you live in an area that suffers from acid rain, rinse your vehicle off after a period of rainy weather. Otherwise, acidic chemicals in the rainwater will be left on the surface after the droplets have evaporated, leaving a mark that can permanently mar the paint.
What kind of products should I use?
Don’t… use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. These aren’t formulated for use on a car’s paint and may strip off the protective wax.
Do… use a dedicated car-wash product, which is milder and specifically designed for use on automotive paint. Apply the suds with a large, soft natural sponge or a lamb’s-wool mitt. See our car wax report for tips and advice on all types of waxes.
Grease, rubber, and road-tar deposits picked up from the road often accumulate around the wheel wells and along the lower edge of the body. These can be stubborn to remove and may require a stronger product, such as a bug-and-tar remover. Use a soft, nonabrasive cloth to remove these deposits, as they can quickly blacken your sponge.
Use a separate sponge to clean the wheels and tires, which may be coated with sand, brake dust, and other debris that could mar the car’s finish. Mild soap and water may work here; if not, a dedicated wheel cleaner may be required. Be sure the cleaner is compatible with the type of finish (paint, clear-coat, chrome, etc.) used on the wheels. A strong formula intended for mag wheels, for instance, can damage the clear coat that’s used on the wheels that come on today’s cars. To be on the safe side, choose a cleaner that’s labeled as safe for use on all wheels.
Are there any general guidelines I should follow when washing a car?
Don’t… wash your car when the body is hot, such as immediately after driving it or after it has been parked in direct sunlight for awhile. Heat speeds the drying of soap and water, making washing more difficult and increasing the chances that spots or deposits will form.
Don’t move the sponge in circles. This can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge lengthwise across the hood and other body panels. And don’t continue using a sponge that’s dropped on the ground without thoroughly rinsing it out. The sponge can pick up dirt particles that can scratch the paint.
Do… rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water before you begin washing to remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching. Once you begin, concentrate on one section at a time, washing and rinsing each area completely before moving on to the next one. This ensures that you have plenty of time to rinse before the soap dries. Start at the top, and then work your way around the car.
Work the car-wash solution into a lather with plenty of suds that provide lots of lubrication on the paint surface. And rinse the sponge often. Using a separate bucket to rinse the sponge keeps dirt from getting mixed into the sudsy wash water.
When rinsing, use a hose without a nozzle and let the water flow over the car from top to bottom. This creates a sheeting action that helps minimize pooling of water.
How should I dry the car when I’m done?
Don’t… let the car air dry, and don’t expect a drive around the block to do an effective job. Either will leave watermarks, which in areas with hard water are the minerals left after evaporation. In addition, don’t use an abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint.
Do… use a chamois (natural or synthetic) or soft terry towels. If you choose towels, you may need several. It’s best to blot the water up instead of dragging the towel or chamois over the paint. The drying process can be speeded up by using a soft squeegee to remove most of the water on the body, but be sure the rubber is pliable and that it doesn’t pick up bits of dirt that can cause scratches.
See the difference! Not only will water will bead and streak from your windshield for added safety, this state-of-the art treatment provides a protective barrier to all painted surfaces! Youll receive the added comfort of knowing that your painted surfaces are protected from the destructive effects of the sun and other pollutants and windshield visibility is improved until your next wash!
Reasons to Wash Your Car
#1 – Use less water, and “return it” cleanly!
Using a WaterSavers wash ensures that you are using less water than regular driveway or pavement washing, and that all runoff water is returned safely to the environment.
#2 – Protect your investment.
The better the condition of your vehicle, the higher the resale or trade-in value. Depending upon the vehicle, regular cleaning can equate to thousands of dollars in value. Acid rain, road salt, bird droppings and sun damage are just some of the threats to your car’s condition that can be addressed by regular car care. Click here to learn more.
#3 – Take pride and feel good.
A clean car looks better and communicates pride. Who doesn’t feel better driving a clean car?
#4 – Drive safely.
Washing regularly keeps windshields, mirrors and signal lights clean. You will see more of the road, and others will be better able to see you.
#5 – Improve fuel economy.
Did you know that the cleaner your car, the less wind resistance? That means better fuel economy. Click here to learn more.
#6 – Save time and money.
Your time is valuable, so don’t waste it in your driveway or at the store buying supplies. Instead, visit a professional car wash and get a great wash, at the right price, in just a few minutes.
#7 – It’s safe for the vehicle.
The world’s automobile manufacturers trust professional car washes with their new vehicles and so can you. Today’s car wash technology is washing cars more safely and effectively than ever before. And, a recent study of more than 5 million car washes revealed the rate of damage to be less than one-tenth of one percent – and that even included pre-existing damage (i.e. vehicles that come to the car wash that are already damaged)!
#8 – Protect yourself from bacteria.
Regular cleaning of your car’s interior can help keep away bacteria and other “bugs” that accumulate on steering wheels, gear shifts, radio buttons and other commonly touched places.
An interesting fact is that most car washes use substantially less water to wash your car than you would use if you were washing it yourself at home. For example, one report says that washing your car at home typically uses between 80 and 140 gallons (304 and 532 L) of water, while a car-wash facility (without a high-pressure wash) averages less than 45 gallons (171 L) per car. In addition, all of the chemicals and detergents are washed into the sewer when you wash your car at home, but a car-wash facility must dispose of the waste in accordance with local regulations. This means that washing your car at a car-wash facility is usually better for the environment.
This pit captures the water that runs off the cars and recycles it.
To cut down on the amount of water used, a lot of car washes recycle water. The recycled water is normally used in the early rinses and to mix with the detergents. It may also be used in the high-pressure washer. It should never be used in the final rinse.
There you have it! Next time you pull up to the car wash, you will know just what each machine is doing. Be sure to check out the links on the next page for additional information.