Don't let your vehicle be 'a-salted'

Why you should clean your vehicle after every beach trip.

Driving on the beach is a rite of passage for many Queenslanders and a popular summer pastime, but a beach trip can lead to irreparable vehicle damage.

RACQ Technical Advisor Blair Bentley said driving your vehicle through salt water could be an early death sentence.

“If you drive through salt water, you’re opening the door to repeated rust and electrical problems,” Mr Bentley said.

“Even though modern vehicle undercarriages are treated at the factory, they will still degrade when you expose them to harsh environments.

“The spray when driving through the edge of the surf may look impressive, but it forces salt water and sand into hard to reach places.”

Mr Bentley said drivers should stick to hard sand when taking their car to the beach.

“You’re less likely to encounter problems if you stay on hard sand,” he said.

“That’s not to say it won’t cause problems as sand holds moisture and can have salt attached to it which forms a layer inside places like the chassis.

“If sand is left uncleaned, every time it rains it can be like being at the beach all over again as the salt leaks out the pockets of trapped sand onto your car’s metal components.”

Mr Bentley said its imperative vehicle owners clean the underside of their car thoroughly and promptly after driving on a beach.

“You’re inviting disaster if you don’t clean your vehicle afterwards,” Mr Bentley said.

“It will need a good soak underneath with a cleaning agent to flush everything out.

“Make sure to use a regular hose, as high-pressure hoses can force the saltiness in further.”

Mr Bentley advised vehicles owners to be cautious when cleaning around electrical components.

“Don’t get too enthusiastic under the bonnet with high-pressure cleaners, you could damage or push the salt into other electrical components and switches,” he said.

“Salt water causes oxidisation in the connections resulting in costly electrical problems which can be time-consuming for an auto electrician to track down.”