In San Francisco, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy the beach most days of the year—but there’s no denying that coastal conditions can be challenging for your vehicle. The combination of salty sea air and abrasive sand can cause a variety of issues, from minor cosmetic concerns to serious corrosion of mechanical components.
Whether you live at a beach house year-round or seasonally (or simply in close proximity to the ocean), it’s important to be aware of the impact of the elements and stay proactive in protecting your vehicle. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure your vehicle remains in top shape, no matter how close it is to the shoreline.
Wash & Wax Frequently
Regular maintenance is your first line of defense. If your car is regularly exposed to sand and salt, it’s essential to wax and wax it frequently. Make sure you’re not skimping on water while rinsing off the soap; using a good amount of water will help remove contaminants that might otherwise be ground into the paint when you’re drying your vehicle.
Use Car Covers with Caution
Although car covers are often recommended to prevent sand-induced paint scratches, they may not be the best choice for everyday use. Any sand that’s trapped on the car before it’s covered will remain underneath the cover and increase the risk of scratching the paint if the cover is moved—especially if it’s a particularly windy day.
To make matters worse, layers of sand can build up inside the cover over time, making it the source of the exact issue you’re trying to stop! If you do use a car cover, wash it frequently to remove any sand that might be inside.
Consider a Paint Protection Film
If you’re particularly concerned about safeguarding your paint, you may want to consider a paint protection film. Although it’s a more sizeable investment than a car cover, the costs are minimal compared to the expense of repainting your car. Even partially coating your car in areas that are prone to paint damage (like fenders and door panels) can significantly reduce the need for repainting.
While there are DIY paint protection film kits available, we strongly recommend having professionals handle the installation because it can be a challenging and time-consuming process; DIY kits can also end up costing you more than if you had chosen a professional application.
At European Collision Center, we use BodyGuard, an industry-leading paint protection film that helps protect your vehicle from minor chips, scratches, and chemical or environmental stains. It comes with a 10-year warranty and is nearly invisible once installed, so you can enjoy the beauty and vibrancy of your vehicle’s paint for many years.
Stay Vigilant With Corrosion
Despite all the emphasis on sand, it’s important to remember that the most insidious threat to your car at the beach is salt. The corrosive nature of wet, salty air can damage your car more critically than just the paint job—although it can damage that, too! The key is to be vigilant and keep an eye out for any corrosion that could be developing, especially in unexpected places.
Although it might be tempting to leave your windows cracked on a warm day, leaving them closed will help reduce salt exposure in your interior. Another area you should monitor is the tire air valves; ensuring the valve caps are always on will help you avoid salt-related damage. The tips we mentioned for safeguarding against sand will also work for salt; car covers, frequent washing and waxing, and paint protection films will all help protect your vehicle from corrosion.
Protect Your Vehicle with Comprehensive Auto Body Services
Whether you’d like to have a paint protection film installed or your vehicle is suffering from paint damage or corrosion, European Collision Center is here to help you protect your vehicle and preserve its value. As a full-service auto body repair center, we provide comprehensive repairs, from minor scratches to major collision damage.
We see all makes and models and proudly hold OEM certification for Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Rivian, and Tesla. In addition, we handle all the necessary coordination with your insurance company to ensure a convenient, hassle-free experience. Get in touch with us today at (415) 551-9700 or contact us online.