A layer of white covered Derick Lane’s car, and for the first time in a couple of weeks, it wasn’t snow.
Lane, like many others, used the opportunity of a bright, sunny day to wash his car, covering it with white, soapy suds at the Emerald Oasis Car Wash in Havelock.
“I love my car,” he said of his Nissan Maxima. “I take care of it like I take care of myself.”
And that’s important, especially after winter storms in which roads are treated with salt in an attempt to break up the snow and ice, said Mitchell Whitney, owner of Platinum Mobile Detailing in Havelock.
“A car is the second biggest investment you will ever make, next to your house,” Whitney said. “You’ve got a $20,000 investment. Why would you not take care of it? Our main focus is to make sure your vehicle looks good and it stays in the proper condition.”
Whitney said all the salt and dirt trapped by snow that ends up on vehicles during and after a storm can harm the exterior clear coat, possibly leading to scratches on the paint, or in the worst-case scenario, corrosion of the vehicle.
“The longer that salt stays on that clear coat, the more it damages that clear coat and it causes spots and things of that nature, so you definitely want to get that salt off of there as soon as possible,” he said. “Not only do you have salt on your vehicle, but you also have all this muddy dirt that can cause scratches because of all the rock particles, so you have to get your car clean as quickly as possible to minimize those scratches.”
Whitney said he uses top-of-the-line soaps and degreasers to clean vehicles, something customer Brian Tessier appreciates. He brought in the black Ford Fusion his uses for work as a bondsman for Grimes Bail Bonding for a good cleaning after last week’s snowstorm.
“You want to have a nice car,” Tessier said.
He said he didn’t even take the car out during the recent snowstorms but said it still got dirty from residual salt and dirt left on the roads days after the storm.
“It was bad,” he said of his car. “All the salt on the road and everything, it definitely turned a black vehicle gray real quick.”
Others choose to wash their cars themselves, and for those who do, Whitney said they must take the right steps.
“It takes the right chemicals to wash your car properly,” he said. “A car is just like your body. If your skin is dry, you’re going to put lotion on. If your car is dirty, then obviously you want to put something on to treat that.”
He said some do-it-yourselfers make the mistake of grabbing a cloth and washing the car as their first step.
“It’s very important to rinse your car first to get all those particles off the car,” he said. “That way you’re not rubbing any of that salt or the dirt particles across the car. You’ve got to get all those particles off to prevent scratches.”
He also said it’s important to dry the vehicle with a proper cloth to prevent water spots.
“You see these people go through the automatic washers and just drive off,” he said. “That’s one of the worst things you can do.”
And for those who think a good, soaking rain will do the job, think again.
“All it does is just move around the mud and dirt,” Whitney said.
Jarrett Griffin was working hard on his car at Emerald Oasis Car Wash. He bypassed the automatic machine wash for a more hands-on approach.
“I don’t think it gets off everything,” he said of the automatic wash. “You’ve got to scrub this thing yourself. All that salt and debris, it’s not good for your car. You’ve got to get it off.”
He said he was proud of his Honda Accord and washes it frequently.
“I had to wash it after this weather,” he said of last week’s winter storm. “It will mess up the tires and everything.”
And he’s hoping his car doesn’t have to endure another winter storm.
“I’m glad the snow is gone,” Griffin said. “I don’t want it back.”