Is Underchassis Cleaning necessary?
STANDING START - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

I have an old Toyota Landcruiser Prado that I use almost everyday. A few months ago I noticed that the stepboard was a bit loose and that the mounts from under the car had rotten away.  This is something I had feared, as it was used regularly without the usual “tlc”.  I sent the car for repairs and had it inspected by a good body builder. As I had suspected, the rust had eaten through the supports of the floor and bits of the chassis mounts.  This is something that regular underchassis powerwash could have avoided.

A good underchassis cleaning is still an important part of the car washing process. In fact, some detailing experts would argue that paying attention to those dirty under-bits is actually more important than a fancy coat of wax. Here’s why.

Unless you spend a lot of time doing hands-on work on your vehicle, it’s very easy to neglect the parts you can’t see. This is especially true for the underchassis, since it requires quite a lot to see what’s under.  Ironically, the neglected underside of your car is the part that comes most into contact with dirt, mud, grime, chemicals, tar, etc. Think about it – every time your car hits the road, you pick up dirt.  Mud and other debris, are kicked up and deposited into the underchassis of your vehicle.  It probably will be a long time before you’ll notice a buildup because you aren’t crawling around and taking a peek at these messes. Soon this buildup becomes problematic as it will corrode the undercarriage of your car.

Rust is the biggest problem when you don’t regularly clean your underchassis. Mud has good adhesion and sticks very well to the underchassis of the car.  This will find its way into the joints of the undercarriage and will start to form a corrosive a corrosive layer around the metal. Over time, rust will be eating bits and pieces of metal from your car until you notice obvious effects.

Regular undercarriage washes contributes to your car’s longevity. Just as you get the oiled changed every six months and regularly change things like your brake pads and air filters, it’s important to create a long-term maintenance schedule that includes a thorough underchassis wash, at least once a quarter.  Have it done by a professional as it will need a car lifter and a pressure washer.  A car wash professional will also know where to clean and what to clean.

Fortunately, most modern cars have rust proof undercoating which helps in protecting the undercarriage of the car.  But it’s never an assurance for a rust-free car.

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