Driving on the beach, and ocean salt H2O on my car

Is my car going to rust?

I was at Pismo Beach / Oceano Dunes (in Calif.) on the Pacific Ocean yesterday, for the first time. After a 2-hr ATV rental was done, the tide had come in quite a bit and parts of the beach access “drive” had waves washing over it, so to leave the beach I had to drive my car through some of the surf. In my enthusiasm I sometimes drove a little faster and got a fair amount of salt water splashed on the car. :smiley:

We got home late at night so I haven’t washed the car off yet. There’s sand and salt all over it now. Clearly, I need to hose it off. But what about the undercarriage? Any suggestions on what I should do?

If it matters, the car is a 2001 Honda CR-V.

Some of the more expensive options at my local no-touch car wash include an undercarriage wash. Otherwise it shouldn’t be hard to hose off yourself, considering the CRV has decent ground clearence.

Find a nearby freshwater lake or river and drive the vehicle through it, with at least as much enthusiasm as you did through the salt water.

Good idea about the undercarriage wash option. I’ll have to find that, and I am hoping that’s not only offered in places where it snows and they salt the roads.

NOW you’re talking!

I just searched for undercarriage car washes in the area, and found someone’s post (elsewhere) saying to run a lawn sprinkler under the car. I’ll look for one and try that.

Modern cars are very resistant to salt.

Up here in the Great Frozen North, during the winter the roads are salted to melt snow and ice. As a result, every car on the road is covered with a thick salt crust, particularly right after a major storm. This is a pretty typical example. And modern cars last a long time despite this sort of abuse, perhaps developing a few minor rust spots over ten or twenty years.

(h’way before my time, older cars were very susceptible to rust, and many would literally rust to pieces after several such winters.)

So a one-time bit of salt spray won’t harm your car. Go ahead and rinse it off, but don’t worry about any long-term damage. Just go to a car wash and pay the extra $2 for the undercarriage rinse.

Yeah, hopefully you’re right and I don’t have a lot to worry about. Maybe I’m worrying a little more because I have a 1963 Porsche 356 with a little rust, and I have to keep an eye on it to see if it progresses. Those old cars don’t have nearly the corrosion resistance they do now.

I already bought a hose-end lawn sprinkler and will run that a little tonight. I need to be equipped for any future enthusiatic water play days.:slight_smile:

If the sprinkler doesn’t look effective then I’ll go to the car wash.

I would’ve thought a sprinkler would be more effective than a car wash as you can ‘run it through’ as often as as long as you like. Are you going to pull it under the car as, if so, you could pull a foot, leave to wash, another foot etc. I suppose an undercarriage washer (why am I thinking of Prince Charles now? :confused:) might get at parts your sprinkler cannot.

Maybe drive around the shallow end of a swimming pool.

The thought of someone driving their car over a sprinkler like a little kid running though it reminds me of those commercials of parents doing dishes and splashing water in their faces as they long for the water parks (I get the feeling that’s going to be a local commercial that no one’s seen).

The sprinkler worked very well! I got an all metal 18" oscillating lawn sprinkler, one like this but costing $25 at Orchard Supply.

There was plenty of water flow and good coverage - the sweep angle is adjustable. I just set it under my car and then moved the sprinkler a few feet every few minutes while I hosed the sand and salt from the top of my car.

It was great.

In my experience, any car wash undercarriage spray is a joke. They last, typically, 10 to 20 seconds from a single bar with holes punched here and there along the length of it, whether in car washes that cost $25 (plus extra for the undercarriage wash) to the freebie or extremely inexpensive washes at gas stations.

Find a wand wash with a dry floor (when it opens in the morning), lie on your side and blast the salt off that way. And the next time there’s rain, the heavier the better, hit the highway.