Do you like to go to the beach? Do you hate all the sand in your car that comes with it? Do you wish you could leave the beach … at the beach? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we’ve got some news for you. Here’s some things you can do to keep your car in good condition, even if you’re a beach bum.
Talkin’ ‘Bout the Car Wash, Yeah
Sometimes, it’s as simple as keeping your car, truck, or what-have-you clean. In the summer, the sun is out and it’s hot and it’s super bright. Car paint and finishes are vulnerable to all that sunlight and the finish can start to crack, peel, and bleed. Okay, not bleed, but you get it.
Best thing you can do to avoid damage to the finish is wash your car regularly and put on a coat of wax. Be it at the local gas station or in your own driveway, washing a car and applying protective wax at least once a month, and biweekly when temps are soaring, will help a lot. When coming back from the beach, don’t go straight to scrubbing — that leads to possible damage from salt air and any sand caught on the car. Instead, just rinse it down and wash it later.
Keeping the Sand Out
This strategy really depends on whether the sun is out. Isn’t it nice to do a little sun bathing, cool off in the water, and then after you’ve been out of the water for 15 minutes you’re already dry? Yep, that’s South Florida sun for you, and it’s a great way to keep the sand out of your car. When getting ready to leave, shake off your towel as much as possible and pack up what you need aside from towels, clothes and footwear.
Then take a dip in the water, lay down on your towel, and wait. From the knees up you should be pretty dry in just a bit. Use the towel to dry off some more and pack it away, but don’t put all your street clothes on yet. By the time you get to the main road, the sand should be dry enough to simply rub off your feet. If not, having a water bottle handy will help. Now you won’t get any sand on your clothes or in your footwear, which means you won’t be tracking it all into the car.
Keeping the Sand Out When the Sun Ain’t Shining
If in a bit of a hurry, or the sun isn’t shining enough to dry off, then here’s another trick. They’re not as popular as they once were, but covering a car with a tarp or weather protective mat is a neat trick to keep the car protected from all the sand being blown around. When you get to the car, lift the cover, and the car is good to go. Getting in without bringing sand with you is the problem if the driver and passengers are covered in sand and smell of salt water.
Aside from a public shower or wasting a jug of water, your best bet is to dry off as much as possible with a towel, and lay it down where you’ll sit. A seat cover for the front and driver’s seat would work well too. When it comes to the after beach clean up, a built-in vacuum like the Stow ‘n Vac found in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan will work wonders while cleaning up any sand that sneaks on into the car. And if someone left behind a wet towel and the car is smelling funky, there is an assortment of odor removers and mildew cleaners available to consumers.
Okay, let’s not get dramatic here. Aside from keeping your vehicle clean, there’s also a little thing called “car maintenance”. It’s a nice practice to regularly keep your car in good condition. Make sure there’s air in the tires, change your oil, does it need any other tinkering? If it’s all good, then some extra protection is the last step.
Aside from waxing your car to keep the paint job protected, some sealant is a great product to use as well. New products are spray-ons and if used as another layer to a coat of wax, then you may not need to wax it again for a whole year.* Look up clear films too; they were originally made for the military, but are now made for automotive surfaces to protect against scrapes, airborne contaminants (like salt water), small debris (rock and sand), and other types of small things that can cause damage. Some clear films can even refurbish the car, where a light scratch may “disappear” with a little time and heat.
This last one is the most helpful. We all like to bring stuff to the beach – towels, blankets, coolers, pool noodles, surfboards, boogie boards, and a lot of other stuff. Aside from items you can shake free of sand, what do you do with all the bulky stuff like a surfboard? That’s where roof racks and bicycle racks may come in handy. Placing sand-covered equipment on the rear end or the roof of a vehicle may be the easiest way to keep the inside clean. Once home, a quick little rinse off should do the trick.
Here’s just a few ways to keep your vehicle protected from not-so-car-friendly beach conditions. What are some tips you can share? Let us know on social media.