Preventing Ocean-Related Damage to Your Vehicle

Preventing Ocean-Related Damage to Your Vehicle


Many residents of Virginia and Maryland are fortunate enough to live by some of the most beautiful coastline in the whole continental US. It’s an appealing life, with cleaner air, better vistas, and softshell crab for lunch and dinner. Who could fault it? Well, your car, in fact, might not always like the coastal regions. The ocean regions can give your car problems that you might not yet be aware of. Here’s our handy guide to looking after your car in ocean regions.


What’s the damage?

So, what are the main areas of the car at risk in a coastal environment? In short, it’s your paintwork, and the corrosion to vital parts like nuts and bolts thanks to the not-so-winning combination of morning dew and sea salt.


Let’s start with potential damage to paintwork:

According to “The Automotive Paint Handbook” by John Pfanstiehl, the closer an automobile is kept to the water, the quicker rust can form. Put simply, long-term exposure to spray from the ocean might lead to more rapid rusting. “The combination of the sun and salt air near a coast can destroy a car’s finish” according to Steve ‘The Car Guy’ Ford. On top of the salt, the hot sun bearing down on your car opens up pores in the paint which welcomes in more of this salt-moisture cocktail.


Next, the damaging combination of salt and dew:

As we mentioned, being in near-constant contact with salt from the sea and air, as well as the morning dew, can lead to corrosion of your brake calipers and various other important nuts and bolts holding the whole thing together! Humidity brings morning dew, and coastal areas face high percentages of humidity. What’s more, Virginia and Maryland have large numbers of people living within 10 miles of the sea, so all these people face similar risks to their cars in the long term. Rust caused by these factors most often affects the upper parts of the car, such as the hood, trunk and upper edges of the doors.


What can you do to prevent it?

Following some simple steps should help you avoid the negative impacts mentioned above:

  • The first thing you should do, if you can, is keep your car in an enclosed parking area whenever you can. This minimizes contact with seawater and coastal air.
  • Wash and wax your car regularly – more so than your friends living inland. Ask among your car-savvy friends, and if they’re washing twice a month and waxing once a month, you can double your frequency.
  • Avoid driving on sand or in salt water – this only brings the damage to the underside of your car, which is just compounding the problem.


If you think your car might already be damaged by coastal living, then bring it in to your local dealership for a checkup. We’ll set you right up!

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 8 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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