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Best way to remove salt from your car


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#1 bonoz

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:39 AM

Should I take it to a touchless carwash and get the outside and the underbody washed up?

Or

Should I just use a hose and rinse my car (without washing it) from top to bottom in order to remove salt?

Or

Is there a better/easier way?

Thanks

#2 Accumulator

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 08:30 AM

bonoz- I'm guessing that your facilities don't make a regular/thorough wash feasible.

I suppose I'd do the touchless, but I'd sure want to do a more thorough job as soon as you can. I don't like the idea of rinsing it with plain household water and not washing it. I'd do that with deionized water though, but I'd still rather give it a full wash if possible.

I have a heated shop so I can do what I want, and every time I wash I end up cleaning an incredible amount of nasty [stuff] out of the undercarriage and wheelwells. Stuff like salt gets everywhere, and while the undercarriage sprays at the touchless are a lot better than not doing that area at all, they aren't gonna get everything.
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#3 David Fermani

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 08:11 PM

Salt is actually one of the easiest things to remove. It's the road oils that make things more difficult. Especially after a climate change from cold to warm. I think going through a touchless is our best, safest bet when you can't do it yourself.

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#4 Justin Murphy

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:04 AM

Salt is actually one of the easiest things to remove. It's the road oils that make things more difficult. Especially after a climate change from cold to warm. I think going through a touchless is our best, safest bet when you can't do it yourself.


Yeah, the salt come right off. It dilutes in water remember? LOL!

It's the sludge of oil and rubber that left behind. It's the hard to remove black grime that stays after you rinse. I've been using Dawn for years now when it comes to this. Heck, it's safe enough to clean birds with......it can't be that bad on the paint twice a year!

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#5 ZimRandy

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:47 AM

I use the touchless with the underbody wash when I can't get to the coin op and do it myself.

It was -27 degrees this morning, so no washing for me today. Unfortunately, my car is really covered with salt right now and most of the touchless washes are closed when it gets this cold.

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#6 bonoz

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:21 AM

Can I do it myself? Just rinse? or use soap?

#7 David Fermani

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:35 AM

Either way will work to get the salt off. Just don't dry the car unless it's clean.

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#8 Street5927

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:43 AM

I use the coin op 2 minutes from my house. A thorough pressure washing to get a majority of the stuff off, and then I pull it into my heated garage for an ONR wash. I wish my garage was big enough to wash in there, since I have hot and cold water in it, but my current situation works well for me.
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#9 bonoz

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:47 AM

I'm a little concerned about using mitts and washing it with contact. I'd be okay if I was sanding it, but with it snowing every other day it's not worth claying it now and washing it. With a touchless car wash, no contact is made and hence no clearcoat scratchhes. What do you guys think?

#10 Accumulator

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:23 AM

I'm a little concerned about using mitts and washing it with contact. I'd be okay if I was sanding it, but with it snowing every other day it's not worth claying it now and washing it. With a touchless car wash, no contact is made and hence no clearcoat scratchhes. What do you guys think?


I think your reasoning is solid. The flip-side is that the touchless wash isn't perfect. It seldom gets things really clean and yet it can strip any LSP that's on the vehicle. Still, IMO it's probably an OK way to go. IF ONR works its encapsulation/non-marring magic better for you than it does for me, then that's worth considering too, plenty of people are perfectly happy with that approach.
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#11 Ivan Rajic

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:53 AM

I wash my car in winter by going through the touchless once or twice, depending on how dirty it got, then straight home for a thorough ONR wash. After it's washed I apply sealant right after because, as Accumulator said, the touchless washes use extremely harsh soaps and really compromise the protection layer that's on the car. I usually do a wash every 2 weeks or so in the winter or as soon as I can after it has snowed and salt is all over the car.

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#12 bonoz

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:24 AM

Thanks. I'm not familiar with ONR. Is there a write-up?

#13 Accumulator

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:28 AM

Thanks. I'm not familiar with ONR. Is there a write-up?


Heh heh, it's one *very* extensively discussed product!

See if you can find Scottwax's thead about how he washes cars.
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#14 Lonnie

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 11:41 AM

Road Salt removal has become "more difficult" because more local and county highway & road maintenance departments in the upper MIdwest are using "binders" (like sugar beet juice) to get the salt to "stick" and be more effective in colder and windier weather. I noticed this last year when I went through touchless car washes here in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area that my car still has a "film" on it, despite using the salt-buster car wash package. The only way to get this off was to physically wash it off with soap-and-water, using a wash medium like a sponge or microfiber noodle pad to "wipe" it off.
It's still a good idea to get your car washed at a touchless wash in the winter to remove the salt that accumulates, especially in the crevaces if the wheel lips and lower rocker panels. Another option is to find a local detailer who has facilities to do an indoor wash and can give you a "winter special". Might cost twice that of a local drive-through tunnel car wash, but you know it is more thorough and you'd be supporting a local business who's business could use some income during this not-so-busy time of the year (at least for the car-care professional).
Side note: It's -14°F this morning, with -31°F Wind Chill Index here in Green Bay. I doubt if ANYONE is thinking about getting their car washed today, and all the cars look extremely dirty and salt-encrusted from the last couple of snowfalls.
Most have got an upcoming NFC football championship game on their mind anyway. No need to tell you which team I support.
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#15 Accumulator

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:41 AM

Road Salt removal has become "more difficult" because more local and county highway & road maintenance departments in the upper MIdwest are using "binders" (like sugar beet juice) to get the salt to "stick" and be more effective in colder and windier weather. I noticed this last year when I went through touchless car washes here in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area that my car still has a "film" on it, despite using the salt-buster car wash package. The only way to get this off was to physically wash it off with soap-and-water, using a wash medium like a sponge or microfiber noodle pad to "wipe" it off....


Yeah, I had some of that [stuff] on one of my vehicles. I was able to get *most* of it off with my pre-wash, but it *was* really tenacious stuff and a little mechanical agitation was needed to get it all.
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#16 David Fermani

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:37 PM

Good to know Lonnie - I wonder if the car washes and their chemical suppliers are planning for a product that will cut through (safely) this new salt formula? We used to actually adjust our settings constantly (pressure/temp/soap concentration) for certain applications. Sounds like it falls more within the oil side of the equation of things.

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#17 Lonnie

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 01:54 PM

David Fermani:
That's an excellent point about new carwash chemicals. Perhaps another issue is the use of recycled water. How often does a car wash owner/manager change the filter media? If you wash 100 upper Midwest salt-encrusted cars (typical weekend count for busy tunnel car wash) with the same filtered water you've got some pretty dirty water being used over and over. I never think to ask the manager if there water is recycled and despite the abundance of available water through municiple water utilities, pricing can be quite high to service-only businesses that use large quantites. Just a thought.
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#18 Mark77

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:55 PM

In the winter, on the van, I just hose the salt, mud sand etc off during the week and give a thorough wash at the weekend...Keeps the worse dirt off the paint/undercarriage and makes it easier to wash, when dirt isn't built up...Never get any water spots that don't come off with a regular wash..




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