Clean Off Caustic Road Treatments Quickly

Driving on snow and ice can be exceptionally dangerous and challenges the skills of even the most experienced driver. As someone who raced cars and competed in no-speed-limit winter rallies in Europe in winter I can attest to it. Over the years better materials have been developed to melt snow and ice and provide more adhesion, making winter driving safer. Not surprisingly, they are caustic, very abrasive, and somewhat sticky so they adhere to your vehicle’s finish. Often they even include volcanic ash, one of the hardest materials anywhere. While this is good for your driving safety, it’s bad for your vehicle. They eat away at your finish, can lead to scratches,and get tougher to get off the longer they are left on.

Therefore it’s important to clean off these caustic materials as quickly as possible before they can cause damage. Even more importantly, they create a substantial night time risk by obscuring headlights.

Mag chloride can be misleading. It can look like gray dust along the side of your vehicle, but a closer look and a rub with a finger will reveal that it isn’t like real dust- it sticks to the side of vehicles like glue and doesn’t wipe off easily like plain dirt or dust. Frankly, as a 25 year Colorado resident, I prefer salt, since mag chloride is also carcinogenic and can go in through your skin or the paws of your pet.

So the challenge is getting it off without damaging the car. If you scrub it with brushes first, then the tiny, extremely hard, granules that are literally sticking to the finish can scratch the car as they are rubbed off.

That’s not OK with us. We don’t let cars get scratched in our wash.  That is why we invested heavily in cleaning brushes made of a neoprene-like material that doesn’t absorb or hold the dirty, gritty water like the cloth brushes used by most washes, and thus don’t scratch your finish or scrub off your wax. Nor do they gain water weight to increase risks by heavily pounding antennas, soft tops,  plastic windows, and other exterior accessories. That’s why we have many customers who’ve never been willing to go through an automated wash before.

Even with the non-scratch brushes that don’t hold grit, since the tiny abrasive particles adhere to the side of the vehicle, to minimize risk of damage when we wipe them off we first spray on a special solvent to begin dissolving their bond to the finish, and follow that with a high pressure power wash gun to loosen it further and get the larger particles off first. Then we use special hand brushes and sponges on the bad areas, and finish with another power wash where appropriate.

Another reason the hand prep is so important that the sticky mag chloride also gets in to areas that everyone’s tunnel brushes have trouble cleaning most effectively- inside recessed lights and license plates, under spoilers, inside wheel wells, on brakes and suspension components, inside door handles depressions, grill fins, and more.  That is one reason why most customers with mag chloride take our Platinum combination hand and tunnel wash. After the hand prep it then has 15 other tunnel treatments. They thoroughly clean the entire vehicle’s exterior, and then recondition and add protection to the finish. Since these caustic materials quickly eat away at your protectants, it’s important to restore protection immediately. We put on new layers of clear coat, RainX, and Carnauba wax to restore and protect the finish. Your  vehicle ends up clean like a $40 hand wash, but with restored sheen and protection.

All this only takes a few minutes more than the 2 1/2 minute tunnel wash itself because we inspect the car first to see exactly where the hand prep is needed to help the brushes and then quickly focus just on those areas or substances. In some cases, however, even a hand wash assist and scrub may not do the job as well as the customer wants, and we then recommend a wheel and brake detail by hand to really get deep inside rims and components.

In fact, we don’t let even allow vehicles with extra heavy mud or mag chloride in the tunnel without a hand prep, because they splatter material all over the equipment and walls and can get on other vehicles as they follow behind, dirtying them again before they exit the tunnel. That would be unfair to other customers, who have paid for a clean vehicle.

Since we are extremely environmentally conscious, we take special care to minimize contamination of the sewage system in Sedona. We power wash mud and mag chloride into the pit, and later shovel them into plastic bags that we carry to the dump. Occasionally the mud or mag chloride is so bad that we need to charge extra, and we explain to customers that it is not just for the extra time to remove it, but that it takes far more time to get rid of it in a responsible way than just remove it..

You can see more about mud removal in the results section of our home page:


Clean Off Damaging Grime

Clean Off Damaging Grime