The beach is a beautiful place to live. Whether you live there because your livelihood comes from the sea, or you just love to bask in the sun, beachfront living is amazing. Your car, on the other hand, might feel differently. All of the things you love about the beach can be tough on your car's exterior. Sun, sand, and salt water can all cause damage to your car.

The Formula For Corrosion

The formula for corrosion is simple: Salt + Water + Oxygen + Metal = Corrosion. Here is a quick science lesson. Salt is a conductive material. It speeds up the breakdown of metal by making it easier for electrons to leave the metal and combine with the water to create rust.

Now that you know how it works, you might understand why your car might not love your beachfront condo. The salt water, the air, and the metal from your car can all combine to create rust and corrosion on your car. If metal is exposed to these conditions for a long period of time, the metal can become so damaged it will just fall apart. Not good if you are a car.

The Sun

While you enjoy lounging in the sun with a daiquiri, your car is dying. The sun is where the trouble starts. As the sun is beating on the hood of your car, it is fading the paint and creating microcracks in the finish. These teeny tiny cracks allow that warm salt air to get right down to the metal of your car.

The easiest way to protect your car from the sun is to keep it covered. A garage, an open canopy, or a cloth car cover will keep the sun from damaging your paint. There are also waxes with UV protection available. A good coat of wax and some type of cover will go a long way in keeping your paint in good shape.

The Salt Air

The smell of the sweet salt air has been memorialized by artists since the beginning of time. Painters, poets, and songwriters have all touted the benefits of a good ocean breeze. Your car would disagree. If your car could write a song about salt air it might be titled “Another One Bites the Rust” or “Killing Me Softly With His Salt.”

If you remember the formula for corrosion, salt + water + oxygen + metal = corrosion, it's easy to see why your car might not love the sweet salt air as much as you do. As the salty dew settles over your car, it can fall into all those microcracks the sun has created. When you drive through the salt spray along the ocean, salt can invade your brake systems and the undercarriage of your car. You know, all of those metal parts.


Everyone knows you live at the beach. The sand coating your floorboards makes it easy to tell. Sand spreads easily. It will stick to something when its damp, only to drop off when it dries. This means your car's undercarriage is susceptible to getting covered with sand and the bacteria and salt that covers it.

Sand is dangerous to your undercarriage for a few reasons. First, sand can get into moving parts and degrade the lubrication and cause damage to things like brake calipers. Second, sand comes from the ocean. The ocean is salty. Salt will stick to the sand and can transfer the salt to the metal pieces on the undercarriage of your car.

How to Protect Your Car

Protecting your car from the beach weather is a little more time consuming than if you live elsewhere, but it's pretty simple.

  • Park under cover or use a car cover to protect your car from the sun and salt spray.
  • Rinse your car off weekly. This includes spraying off the undercarriage and wheel wells.
  • Wash your car bi-weekly. Use a clay bar to pull off heavy stuck on residue and a quality car wash to remove all the salt and sand from your car.
  • Wax your car every four months with a UV protective wax.
  • If you drive your vehicle directly on the sand, consider having a protective coating sprayed on the undercarriage of your vehicle.

Beachfront Living

No matter if you love the rocky shores of Maine or the white sand beaches of San Diego, there is a beach scene for everyone. The smell of the salt air will wake you every morning and the soft sounds of waves crashing on the beach will put you to sleep every evening. Living at the beach will mean a little extra care for your car, and Golden State Trading has the tools you need to treat your car to its own spa day.

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