Is Undercarriage Wash Safe For Your Car?

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cleaning car underbody with a pressure washer, illustration

When I ask people why they don’t wash the underbody of their car, the most common answer is that they’re afraid of damaging something. In this post, I’ll show you whether cleaning a car undercarriage is safe and whether you should do it or not.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s safe to clean the bottom of your car.
  • Cars have well-protected undercarriage to prevent any damage.
  • Using extremely high pressure should be avoided.
  • Potential damage includes soundproofing elements, joint rubbers, and electronics.

Is Underbody Car Wash Safe?

It’s safe to clean the bottom of your car. The undercarriage is designed to withstand various road conditions, from muddy terrains to snowy paths. Cleaning it simply removes the accumulated dirt, salt, and other debris.

Manufacturers often apply a protective layer to the undercarriage to shield it from potential damage, making it resilient to regular cleaning.

What Damage Can You Do?

is undercarriage wash safe for your car

Well, there aren’t too many things you can damage, but some are very important. If you follow the steps in this article, you shouldn’t do any harm to the vehicle’s chassis.

Here’s possible damage if you wash your undercarriage the wrong way:

  • Car Underbody Coating/Soundproofing
  • Joint Protective Rubbers
  • Car Electronics
  • Car Underbody Coating protects from rust and corrosion of the car’s undercarriage. Also, it may reduce noise between the road and your vehicle. 
    You shouldn’t aim the stream directly at your car’s undercarriage when washing with a high-pressure washer. It may destroy the protective coating since the pressure is too high.
  • Joint Protective Rubbers usually won’t break. However, if they are older, the gum is probably pretty weak, and high pressure may break it, leading to severe suspension damages that will affect your driving and handling.
  • Car Electronics is the most important thing you need to be aware of when washing the undercarriage. There are plenty of electric connections in the car’s underbody (brakes, ABS, ESP, etc.), and aiming a high-pressure spray nozzle directly at them may cause damage.

Why Should You Wash The Underbody?

Mostly, the undercarriage wash isn’t included in typical car washing services unless you ask for it. I think that even if there aren’t any other factors, this should be a good enough reason to wash the underbody of your car.

Salt, mud, dust, dirt, and other particles are sticking to the car’s underbody. To simplify, all the grime from the road goes to the undercarriage. 

If not cleaned for a long time, grime, salt, and other particles may cause rust and corrosion. Trust me; you don’t want to see the undercarriage of your car full of rust after just a few years of buying it.

Tips For Washing The Undercarriage

Before I give you some general tips to avoid any damage to your car, you might want to check the tutorial: How To Wash Car Underbody at Home. It’s very simple, and you don’t need any special tools. However, it’s good to have them, but they aren’t necessary. You’re going to understand it very easily.

Do you see how simple that is? Now, let’s give you some tips for keeping your car safe when washing the underbody.

1) Don’t Wash It Too Often

There is no need to wash the undercarriage of your car too often. In most cases, washing it once or twice a year shall be enough. Check out the situations when you should wash it more often.

  • During the winter, when there is a lot of salt on the roads, you may want to wash it a few times. Once a month is completely enough to keep your car clean. But remember – wash the underbody only when the temperatures are above freezing.
  • Dirt Roads – If you often drive on a dirt road or go OFF-roading, then I recommend you wash it more than twice a year. Washing the undercarriage every 2-3 months is enough to keep your car in good condition.
  • Do you Live In a Rainy Area? If you live in a place where rain is common, you don’t have to wash the car’s underbody so often. When you drive on a rainy road, water from the roads will clean everything in the undercarriage space. 

2) Avoid Using Too Much Pressure

As I said before, using too much pressure may cause a lot of damage to your car. If you will use a professional car washer, be gentle when washing the underbody.

The best way is to wash it with a garden water hose, but it may be hard to reach all the parts. That’s the reason for TIP number 3.

3) Buy Yourself an Undercarriage Cleaner

This is probably the best tip in this article. Check out the picture below.

M MINGLE Pressure Washer Undercarriage Cleaner, Under Car Wash, with 45 Degree Angled Wand
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I recommend you get Mingle Pressure Washer Undercarriage Cleaner (check above). It’s not expensive and will serve you well for even more things than just a car wash (boats, RVs, etc.).

Applicable for the pressure washer, pressure washer gun, water broom, and cleaning brush. The most important thing is that it doesn’t have too much pressure (you can adjust it).

As I said before, It’s hard to reach all the parts you want to clean with a standard hose, so buying an undercarriage cleaner will make everything much easier, and you won’t need to lift your car or something.

Final Words

As you can see, cleaning the car undercarriage is not only safe but is crucial if you want to keep your vehicle in like-new condition for many years. Just make sure to follow some prevention tips that I gave you above, and you’re good to go.

Again, I advise you to use either a garden hose or the “Undercarriage Cleaner” attachment I mentioned earlier. Don’t use just a high-pressure nozzle on the car’s underbody.

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