Off-roading at the beach – Car cleaning hacks!

Joshua GraceNews

Long view of surf beach with text above "Off-roading at the beach – Car cleaning hacks!"

There is nothing quite like an off-road trip to the beach, with all the excitement and opportunity to find and explore that special place while creating new memories with those we share it with. However, while this is a fun and memorable experience, the post-trip clean-up is not something that puts a great big smile on everyone’s face, as the harsh reality of the upcoming hours spent de-sanding and thoroughly cleaning the car sets in.

While mess is an unavoidable part of any trip, these five tips can help make that post-trip clean-up a little less painful experience!

1. Open the door one at a time!

You get to the beach or campsite and what’s the first thought? QUICK! While natural reaction would have everyone just open their door and get out, this is actually one of the biggest contributors to your post-trip clean-up. If everyone opens their door, the car becomes a wind tunnel and rapidly increases the amount of salty, sandy air that gets inside the car, while simultaneously blowing out any rubbish that may have been accumulated on the way. By simply opening the door one at a time, it prevents this from happening, allowing you the privilege of an easier clean-up at the end of your trip while also allowing you to dispose of the rubbish properly as intended.  Patience is a wonderful thing!

2. Windows up!

While the windows down as you are driving along the beach may be fun and allow you to feel like you are part of the hottest summer music video, this allows all that warm, moist, salty air straight into the car, which when cold is an absolute nightmare for all involved. Not only is it bad for the interior of your car, it also makes everything sticky and creates another avoidable clean-up job. Keeping the windows up keeps it out for the most part and allows you to stress less as you no longer cringe towards clean up time with each sticky entry and exit of your car seat.

3. Cover up!

Covering the seats with either seat covers, towels, blankets or whatever you see fit will stop sand getting all through the seat and save the hassle of vacuuming. Likewise, putting rubber matts or an alternative to carpet will ensure that the sand stays loose and can be vacuumed straight out rather than being embedded into the carpet. Just simply covering the hard to clean spaces can save a lot of work and hours, and in doing so it will also save your cars interior from sunscreen oils becoming permanent stains.

4. Do not use beach creeks as an underbody wash!

There are a couple of reasons why beach creeks are not good underbody washes. The first is the fact that salt water is a catalyst for speeding up the rust and corrosion process. While not an immediate issue, if it is not cleaned and the salt is not removed, it will become detrimental in the future as you have to replace any rusted/corroded parts of the car. The other issue is the fact that the water running at the rapid speed it flows at means the sand under the tyres will erode, thus leaving your car rapidly sinking. While neither are great outcomes of using a beach creek as an underbody wash, having to get under your car and clean every exposed section that was washed with salt water to remove the dried-up salt water is an arduous and strenuous task that can be avoided quite easily and will severely cut down the clean-up time.

5. Give the underbody a wash twice!

While we are on the topic of underbodies, it is a good idea to give your vehicles underbody a wash before heading home, and then giving it an thorough clean once you get there. Washing it before heading home will loosen up any salt or sand that may have solidified and allows the natural vibrations and movement of the trip home to dislodge it. The thorough clean at home does not need to be high pressure, just enough pressure to flush out any sand or salt that have gotten into all the nooks and crannies of the underbody, otherwise as previously stated, the rust and corrosion will come much sooner than later.