Humid sea air can corrode your car’s metal frame 10 times faster than dry air.

Sea Air vs Car: Protecting Your Car from (as)Salt


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Sea air vs car sounds like the name of two adversaries in a game of Mortal Combat – and that’s just what it is. Your car’s paint job and metal frame stand to be defeated by the seemingly gentle and translucent Australian ocean breeze.

Humid sea air can corrode your car’s metal frame 10 times faster than dry air. That’s a lot. You may be thinking thank goodness I don’t live by the sea (or, oh jeez I live by the sea, and now what?). Both cases please take note, a good sea breeze can carry salt over 8km. In Australia we have a lot of peninsulas = a lot of sea breeze.

While we’re an ocean-loving nation, this is not a defeat we’ll give into easily – we love our cars too. So, get tuned in…

Sea air vs car – an unfair fight

The warm climate over here also acts as an exacerbator. In other words, both the salty air and the heated temperature eat away at your car. So, in truth this is an unfair match of Mortal Combat – it’s just your car against sea air (corrosion) and warm temperatures (rust).

That’s one against two. Which is where you come in to save the day! In the battle of sea air vs car, find out what your five secret powers are.

Park intelligently – superpower #1

Where you park your car each day plays an enormous role in its longevity. Parking indoors is significantly better than out as your car won’t be in direct contact with sea air. When you’re at home, park in your garage, and when you’re out and about, try for an underground parking lot.

If you don’t have a garage, use a car cover to reduce the amount of direct contact with sea air. A car cover might not be as effective as parking indoors. But it’s still a barrier that will reduce your opponents’ direct blows.

It’s easy to “forget” to put on a car cover, or to park outside instead of in because you’re going out again later anyways. But just remind yourself how bad you feel after a sunburn and peel.

As the car guy says, “cars have skin, too, you know. And your car’s paint finish breathes and even has pores! In the hot sun the paint’s pores expand and can absorb more dirt and moisture.” AKA – more rust even faster.

Find out more reasons to park wisely with these 3 New Year’s resolutions for your car.

The sea air deposits a fine layer of salt and water onto your car which will gradually eat away the paint.

Wash regularly – superpower #2

In the battle of sea air vs car, your 2nd superpower is to become a neat freak ????. Wash your car thoroughly inside and out (including underneath) on a regular basis. Ideally once a week, with water and soap.

Your car’s smooth glossy skin

The sea air deposits a fine layer of salt and water onto your car which will gradually eat away the paint. Like a caterpillar munching away at a leaf – only invisible to the naked eye. Beyond the paint, the body of your car has no defence and is next in line on the menu.

This is why you need to wash your car often. Before you get stuck into washing your car, hose it down to remove trace salt. Trace elements of salt are granular and will erode your car’s surface if you scrub them into the paint. And once you’ve washed your car, dry – always dry!

Never let your car air dry after a wash. Why? Airdrying can leave water spots and lead to low-level corrosion as the water evaporates which defeats the point of washing. Use a chamois to dry your car; its super soft texture removes water and doesn’t leave scratches.

Seat salt

The sea air can also deposit salt and moisture through open windows and onto your cars seats, resulting in patchy stains. Eek! First vacuum your seats and carpets to pick up any dry salt. Second, use warm water to lightly dampen your car seat. Salt is water-soluble, so you don’t need to use soap. Press a dry towel on the seat to absorb the water.

You may need to repeat the process a few times for the best results. Allow your seats to air dry as much as possible (and hopefully without renewed salty air exposure)

Your car’s healthy internal organs

In addition to corroding and rusting your car’s body and staining the seats, there’s everything under the hood. The engine compartment, nuts and bolts that keep your car’s vital organs in place can also get eroded from salt.

Cleaning under the hood is a delicate process; never hose it down as you could cause water damage. Either get everything under the hood cleaned professionally or learn how to wash under the hood of a car.

Wax on wax off – Superpower #3

As you know the sea air breaks down your car’s defences in stages. First, it eats away the paint and, once it’s broken through, it attacks the metal. Give your car an added layer of defence by waxing regularly.

This may seem like an exhausting prospect, but keep in mind the potential costs of fixing rust afterwards. And there’s the low morale you could face when driving around in a rusty car.

Waxing gives your car’s immune system an enormous boost, and it also gives it that superior showroom glow. If you live near a salty breeze, wax your car once a month for true beauty and longevity.

Also, if you don’t, you’ll end up paying more in the long run. So it’s a valuable investment.

If you live near a salty breeze, wax your car once a month for true beauty and longevity.

Regular health check-ups – superpower #4

During your car’s regular check-ups, ask your mechanic to examine for wear and tear to the paint. Any scratches or chips that can be touched up should be done right away. This will save you pain in the long run.

It will immediately revitalise your car’s defence in the battle against sea air.

Sea air vs car and your inner secret superpower #5 

You may have noticed that your superpowers are more or less the same as a beauty regime – and you’re not wrong. Beauty is an analogy for good quality of life and longevity.

Your final superpower is to get your car comprehensive car insurance. Financial protection can be pretty darn attractive. A quality car insurance policy can be great value for money and if it’s comprehensive you’ll have all-round protection for your car’s needs.

It covers your car against the unforeseeable and therefore it’s one of the best investments you can make. It’s within your power with you a few quick keystrokes…

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