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Old 12-05-2009, 03:59 PM
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Removing Undercarriage Salt Without a Car Wash

After reading the various threads on hand washing and how car washes, including touchless, may contain harsh chemicals that may damage your paint I'm wondering if there is an alternative method to remove undercarriage road salt in a cold, snowy climate, in my case New England. The thread about no water washing http://www.driveaccord.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=39843 has me interested but that's only the top of the car and doesn't address underneath.

There are under car washers http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...atchallpartial and http://www.waterbroom.com/waterbroom...5D&logoLevel=0 but they certainly aren't inexpensive. Even if they were cheap dragging out a hose over a snow bank , especially considering rubber hoses are quite stiff when it's cold, isn't very practical. I also have no garage.

Any other options for undercarriage washing? I have touchless car washes close to me. However, if I go that route I might was well get the entire car washed which defeats my purpose of staying away from harsh chemicals. All ideas are welcome.

Thanks,

Tom
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:15 PM
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Personally I don't get crazy about washing under the car. I will spray the hose on high pressure underneath but that is all. I also try to drive through large puddles when the snow melts or there is rain. The subframes aren't rusted on my car so I think it should be fine.

But I would definitely be interested if someone has any innovative ideas.
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:17 PM
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wash it yourself car wash. use the pressure hose on rinse.
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Old 12-05-2009, 08:30 PM
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Sup Captain?

I live in the NH, MA area. In regards to your post, I would suggest trying a portable water sprayer - something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Chapin-61800N-...ref=pd_cp_hi_2

I haven't used that type of product myself, but it seems like it delivers enough pressure, has enough capacity and enough portability/ease of use for the application you intend.

Another thing too is that it might be easy to use a jack to raise each corner or each end of the vehicle to make it easier to get the sprayer nozzle under there.....

I might consider doing something like this myself to at least remove the majority of the salt and other winter chemical crap from the underbody. After all, I have seen first hand how my previous vehicle was destroyed (ever so slowly, but surely nonetheless) by New England's climate - especially the winters.....
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:14 AM
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Upset w/ Honda,

That's a good suggestion. There were also 27 favorable reviews for the Stanley version of that sprayer http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-61804N...pr_product_top . You can get a telescoping wand for another 12 bucks that would do the trick in terms of getting far under the car. $72 for keeping the underbody of the car clean seem reasonable. I like the fact you can pump it while you wear it unlike other portable sprayers.

I often don't have enough time to get to a car wash. Frequently when I drive past the car wash on weekends there is a line of cars waiting for an hour. Something like this sprayer gives me options though I wonder if 60 PSI will give a wide enough stream to remove all of the junk. If the water stream is big enough I think it would work but if 60 PSI is really a small directed stream I'm not sure. I think of a stream of water used when spraying plants and I think of the size of a car underbody so that might take a while, especially if you have snow/ice with salt frozen to the chassis. We had our first snowfall last night so I need to do something soon. If someone has tried this sprayer method or has a similar sprayer please let us know what you think.

There was another thing I wanted to ask if anyone knew. I read that baking soda can be mixed with water to neutralize salt. See the "At-Home Car Washing Tips" section of http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/road-salt.php . Anyone try this and do you know if baking soda has any negative effects to a car finish? I'd think a small amount of baking soda in water would be less nasty that road salt though I've never tried it.

Thanks,

Tom
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:43 AM
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This sprayer seems to be way too much trouble and inconvenient at best.

You probably should have gone for an annual type rustproof spray BEFORE the weather got nasty, I've done that over the years and hardly every bother with under car wash, and my 11-year old Integra show so little rust that the potential buyer muttered his 3 year old Pontiac had more rust underneath.

I responded with: "Is that a problem?", they bought the car an hour later.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:59 AM
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Aviography,

I haven't recently looked into rustproofing treatments available. I had bought a 93 Ford Thunderbird new and had an undercarriage treatment done shortly after purchase.

When I sold the car to a friend it still looked good but a year or two later a chunk of the undercarriage treatment broke off and it was fairly rusted underneath. At the time I read the problem that can happen with undercarriage coatings is that salty water gets underneath them and gets trapped. The salty water can cause rust even though everything looks ok since you can't see behind the coating. I'm no expert so maybe treatments have changed or my understanding of more modern rustproofing sprays is wrong. Of course even if that problem is true the amount of rust that the coating inhibits vs. the amount of rust that would be present without it may still make it worthwhile. I'll try to do some reading on the subject to see how things have progressed. I'm glad to hear your experience was positive and it gives me some incentive to do more research on that approach as an option.

Thanks,

Tom
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:03 AM
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The annual type oil spray is very different than the thick ashphalt coating of yester years, the thin oil seeps and penetrates through the smallest of cracks, it's good stuff.

I buy some of this stuff in large aerosol spray cans and jack-up the car to spray the chassis myself, typicall commercial outfits will do it for about $100 per application.

A Solo-II racer I've known for almost 20 years drives a 1980 vintage Volve coupe, he's sponsored by one of the local rustproofing company and gets his car sprayed every year with the thin oily stuff, there is still no rust on this car now!
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:25 AM
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The cheap way is to use motor oil and spray it on, if you don't have a sprayer, use a brush. Preferably use new oil as to the contaminantes in used motor oil can cause a bad odor if used inside the vehicle. I use used oil on the underside, and new oil in the doors.

It's amazing how far oil will creep. I sprayed oil on the underside of my truck before winter and in spring I took out the seats to paint it and after a while the oil crept up the bolt hole and had a ring 2" in diameter inside the cab. I would not have believed this unless I seen it.

Just don't do this above a good floor without drop cloths down.
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Old 12-06-2009, 11:21 AM
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Aviography, can you link up somewhere to buy this spray? I'd be interested in it if the price is reasonable.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:49 PM
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http://www.saltawayproducts.com/

We use salt away at work on anything we take onto the salt flats in UT. Works better than anything else we have tried, and is safe for the environment.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:30 AM
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It always makes me chuckle when I see folks in the northeast debate whether to expose their car to the rigors of a car wash, especially if the wash is a touchfree one. The bottom line is that the abuse your car takes with the cold, salt, sand and general abuse in the winter is the major issue we all deal with up here, and an occasional jaunt through a touch free automatic wash with an undercarriage spray is the least of anything bad that'll happen to your car during the winter.

My son's Accord is a prime example of this. The good old reliable 05 LX is now entering its 5th winter, and has seen nothing but touchfree washes during each of the first 4 winters. I observed the undercarriage at the last oil change (about 3 weeks ago) and was amazed at how good it looked under there, given the type of abuse that car takes with being parked outside all the time and the type of cr*p he drives through. And the external finish is as good as any 5 year old car out there that's been properly taken car of. The majority of the age on the car is related to road debris and other "man vs car" actions - not the effects of a regular touchfree car wash.

The goal of an undercarriage wash is to get the salt and sand out from the places where it can gather and also block the drainage points of the body and frame. And a good undercarriage wash can also help clear salt/sand from the suspension points to make sure you don't starting wearing out bushings faster due to the abrasion of the winter chemicals. I challenge anyone with a portable sprayer to do the same level of rinse that's done when you drive over an undercarriage spray unit that sprays multiple patterns straight up onto the underside of our cars. Unless you have a pit and are willing to put on your dry suit and spray - it just can't be done.

Finally, there are more of these touchless washes around than you can shake a stick at. In my town alone there must be half a dozen at various locations, including gas stations, and even in the deepest part of winter there's barely a line at any of them. And the good news is that with these 5-minutes-per-wash places, you don't have some clean-car-crazed person dumping a hundred quarters in a self-serve stall trying to get their car looking like the middle of summer. In the old days before the touch-free units you'd wait 20 minutes sometimes for the next spot in a bay!

Anyway, enough of my soapbox. My personal view is that if you're worried enough about your car to decide to invest in all of this stuff to clean the car without any of the perceived risks - then you should spend that money on a winter beater and keep your new car in the garage for the winter.

cheers - andy
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:03 AM
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To All:

Here in The Deep South, we have few (if any) serious concerns about vehicle corrosion. With our typically short, mild Winters, the roadways/bridges are seldom salted. A Ziebardt franchise here, it would never fly.

But with my being a fanatic about rust prevention, here's what I have done, in the past:

On a HOT, Summer day....

1) Put the car up in the air (on a rack). Wash the entire underside, with a pressurized (hot steam) washer. Then, drive the car, to thoroughly dry it out. I might even let it sit outside, a day or two.

2) Put the car back in the air (on a rack). Spray the entire undercarriage with 3M Rubberized Undercoating. Yeah, it's about $5-to-$7.00 per can. But IMHO, it's also the BEST commercially-available aerosol undercoating that money can buy. You'll need between three-to-five cans, depending (of course) upon the size of the vehicle.

Expect to get yourself FILTHY NASTY. It's absolutely the worst (dirtiest) work I've ever done. Also well worth the time, labor, and money invested. After all, how much is your "ride" worth, to YOU?
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upset w/ Honda View Post
I live in the NH, MA area. In regards to your post, I would suggest trying a portable water sprayer - something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Chapin-61800N-...ref=pd_cp_hi_2
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainAmerica View Post
Upset w/ Honda,

That's a good suggestion. There were also 27 favorable reviews for the Stanley version of that sprayer http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-61804N...pr_product_top .
Not a good idea to use this for under body washing. It may be good for other purposes but not for the topic of this thread. The most that this product would do is "wet" the undercarriage and NOT wash it. Per the Toyota owners manual you will do more harm than good when just wetting the undercarriage versus removing the salt or other de-icing materials. This echoes what Andy said in this post.

Everything Avio said in this post I completely agree with. Up North they now how to handle rust. The spray they use is more like WD-40 versus a thick rubber undercoating which can plug drains. Lots of good and bad info in this thread.

The Toyo OM also states to wash the undercarriage once a month then again at the end of the season. Using ramps and a pressure washer would be a good idea.

I remember someone that uses this hose attachment which is designed for water hanging plant baskets. Puts out a decent amt. of water. Make sure you have max. water pressure.

http://www.onlinediscountmart.com/bo-dx2030.htm

I'd say a pressure washer is better but this maybe a decent alternative.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:41 AM
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After receiving all of this information, having the first snowstorm of the year this weekend and looking at my car with snow/ice frozen to it I agree that trying to self wash the underneath of my car isn't going to happen. I am probably best off going to the local touchless car wash. I also agree that the salt exposure is probably far more harsh that the chemicals in the soap. I'd love to have the option of parking my car for the winter but my beater was traded in to buy my coupe so that isn't an option.

I think the suggestions for an undercar anti-salt/rust spray are worth considering. I'll ask a few people in the area to see what is available.

Not to change the subject but have any of you who frequent car washes used Rain-X complete? It's doubtful I'll be waxing either so I might as well consider it. Here is the link from my local touchless car wash:

http://www.erniescarwash.com/pages_m...otectants.html

All comments are welcome.

Thanks,

Tom
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