The Cleaner Car Co cares about your car. Our car care blog provides car wash and car care tips for Thomasville NC area car owners.
Hey there Thomasville, NC, we here at the Cleaner Car Wash are hoping you are enjoying the beginning of summer and are keeping your vehicle clean. Between bug splatter, rain spots and muddy roads, it isn’t easy.
Going to break tradition and do a slightly different blog post this time as we try to bring you up to speed on all the changes happening at the carwash.
First thing you may have noticed, that is if you had a car wash recently, is that there is a bright, shinny, new treadle plate in the car wash tunnel.
If you have followed our social media posts, you are familiar with some of the difficulties first time car wash users have had getting their tire onto the treadle pad, which is the trigger to start the car wash machinery, so we are hoping that the bright red pad serves as a target. Speaking of which, I tried to get Autec to paint a bullseye on the pad, but they were concerned someone might literally take target practice at it and we certainly don’t need bullets flying around.
Another development you have hopefully noticed is that we added vacuums at the car wash. It took way too long and was far too expensive but you folks of Thomasville, NC deserve it.
Just noticing that we have a shiny red motif working for us. Unintended but it looks good! Speaking of shiny, with the purchase of a $10 or $12 car wash, you get a shiny gold token which is good for 8 minutes of vacuum time. That should be more than enough to clean out your vehicle and if it’s not, then maybe you need to clean out your vehicle more frequently. One note on the vacuums: although our people are checking trash cans and cleaning up twice a day, please do your part to keep the place clean. Our business is a service to the community and we can only be as good as our customers let us be. Thank you!
The last item that was recently added is a gold token box on the kiosk.
No treasure inside there, but it is for our customers to deposit extra tokens. So if you are a monthly member, and really if you get a car wash more than twice a month, you should be, then you are going to end up with more tokens than you will ever need. Instead of letting them pile up in your vehicle or heaven’s forbid, throw them away, please deposit them in the token box. We started off with 500 tokens and are already having to buy more so they are somewhere being driven around Thomasville, NC and parts beyond.
That’s it for now so thanks Thomasville for supporting our family business. We really do appreciate you.
Summertime / And the livin’ is easy / Fish are jumpin’ / And the bug splat is all over my car / and truck / and heck anything that moves!
Well, Mr. Gershwin did not pen all those lyrics but I’m certain he would agree.
We all love us some summer in Thomasville, NC, but man, nighttime drives turn into an insect massacre the remains of which are splattered all over your vehicle. Sometimes it’s so bad it’s hard to see.
We’ve discussed this before but it bears repeating: the key to getting your car clean is to remove the contaminant as soon as heavenly possible. Fortunately for Thomasville, NC, the Cleaner Car Co. is open 24 hours a day so there is no reason to stop by anytime for a quick scrub-a-dub-dub.
And because we know that bug splatter can be the dickens to remove, we offer a special Bug Prep in the $10 and $12 carwash. It is a specifically formulated bug spray chemical to target and breakdown bug decomposition. The product is designed to lift and to remove all bug related debris present on the front of vehicles. How about that? And the person who invented it is right here in North Carolina.
That said, I’ll be honest: some splatter just won’t come off without some added elbow grease especially on the front bumpers.
Before signing off, just a quick note that our vacuums are up and running and we have finally programmed the kiosk to dispense a token when you purchase a $10 or $12 carwash. Card, cash or monthly members, you’ll all get a token with each purchase. I just ask that if you end up having more tokens than you need, please deposit the extras in the little gold box attached to the kiosk.
Hi Thomasville, NC we here at the Cleaner Carwash Co. hope you are all enjoying the glorious green of spring. After all the cold and wet of winter, we are grateful for the change in seasons.
But it must have been all that rain from winter, fall, heck even dating back to August that has led to an incredible amount of pollen. As many of you have told us, I ain’t seen the likes of this before.
Didn’t see one this bad at the carwash but there were some that came close…
The thing is pollen is like all other contaminants we have previously discussed. Pollen particles actually form bonds to the surface of your vehicle and those bonds must be broken prior to removal to avoid microscopic damage. What do we mean? Don’t wipe off the pollen with a cloth. You need to break the bond first. And how we do that at our carwash is through a hot alkaline presoak. The presoak is applied first to attack the bonds between contaminant (in this case, pollen) and your vehicle. This is followed by surfactants to lift, encapsulate and lubricate to prevent damage when removing the contaminants.
On it’s way to a pollen free ride…
The good news is that even our Deluxe carwash gives you the presoak so if your vehicle is mostly clean, just with a lot of pollen on it, for $6 we got you covered!
On a totally separate note, we found quite a few odd items in the carwash last week, including a Carolina Panthers soft cooler and a mailbox. About the latter, we have heard news reports that the mail has been slow, maybe now we know why!
Thanks again Thomasville, NC for your business and support. Our fundraiser for Ruff Love pet adoption services raised over $600. We are proud to give back to the community. Best regards from your friends at the Cleaner Carwash.
Let’s talk detergents. What’s more, let’s discuss the importance of lubrication in a carwash to avoid micro-abrasions and adding a layer of protection to your vehicle’s surface. Sound good? I thought so.
Before we dive in, did you know that our carwash was built right here in North Carolina? We are just an hour’s drive from Thomasville, NC to Autec’s facility where they both manufacture the equipment and produce the detergents we use. And there are a lot of detergents!
Kind of looks like Slurpee syrup doesn’t it? But you sure wouldn’t want a big gulp of that liquid.
As was mentioned in previous blog posts, it is important to get contaminants off your vehicle as quickly as possible. And that comes straight from Kurtis Price, Autec’s Head Chemist who proves his chops with beakers on his desk and a 4’ x 6’ periodic table on the wall in his office. The reason you want to remove contaminants ASAP is that it limits the etching that occurs and removes the left-behind debris before it bonds with the vehicle's surface. Wait too long, and breaking the bond requires some serious elbow grease. Think about how difficult it is to remove bird poop once it dries out and hardens on your vehicle.
The first step in AUTEC's carwash process is the introduction of an alkaline presoak material. Yes, we do use this at our Thomasville, NC carwash. This neutralizes any acidic contaminants on the surface (and in pores) and attacks the bonds that have formed between surface debris (bugs, salt, road grime, etc.) and the surface itself. The reason why we attack the bond is so that when the carwash removes the debris, it does not create micro-abrasions on the surface which over time will build-up and cause the surface to have a haze appearance. To further prevent these micro- abrasions and other damages, AUTEC uses a high lubricating detergent package to decrease friction between the debris and the surface as well as between the brush media and surfaces. To complete the carwash process, AUTEC utilizes a concentrated clearcoat protectant blend, adding a protective layer to the surfaces followed by a blend of hydrophobic molecules (drying agent) to aid in removal of wash and rinse water by the blowers and to repel water and any collected pollutants in day-to-day driving. This two-step finish process creates a shield on the clearcoat finish of the vehicle.
Did you get that? Any questions? Bring them on and we will see if the chemist can provide the answer.
Can you feel it, Thomasville, NC? Spring is in the air! After a very long and extremely wet winter (anyone know if Thomasville, NC broke any records?*), I for one am extremely happy to feel it, although as an allergy sufferer there is always a twinge of dread.
One element of spring I truly love is the return of birds and bird songs. Something deeply satisfying in hearing birds tweeting at each other. It’s like all is right with the world. Unfortunately, with birds comes bird poop and if your vehicle is in the flight path of their bombing runs or parked under a tree where the flock has come to rest, it can be a mess.
And the thing is, anytime a vehicle is contaminated by something like bird droppings, the rule of thumb is the sooner you remove it, the better. This is because the contaminants actually form bonds to your vehicle's surface layer (wax, clearcoat, paint). These bonds must be broken down properly before removing. The longer the bonds have to form, the stronger they are, and therefore more difficult to remove. Fortunately, the Step One Presoak chemical and application process at the Cleaner Car Wash is optimized to remove even the toughest stuck-on debris.
At the Cleaner Car Wash, we use AUTEC's Step One Presoak. This is a blend of alkaline builders, surfactants, and chelating agents aimed to breakdown, lift, and fully encapsulate all organic and oily contaminants on the vehicle's surface. The alkaline builders also neutralize any acidic residue which may be present. The chemical is applied to the vehicle first and is heated to fully activate the power of cleaning. AUTEC uses a specially designed closed loop, recirculating system to ensure every car gets hot presoak applied from the first to last drop. This process fully maximizes the cleaning potential given the short contact time before the wash process begins.
It works as the following photos from March 3rd demonstrate.
Before the car wash
After the car wash!
Full transparency: when this lady brought her car in, that bird poop has been on there long enough to become fully bonded with her car. The car wash removed 90% of the bird poop, but there was residue. I happened to be there with a handy-dandy microfiber cloth (did you come by the car wash for our microfiber give away? If not, stay tuned because we have more to give away!) so with a wipe or two the remaining stains were removed.
So let’s get ready for spring, Thomasville, NC! We are open 24-7 so next time you see bird droppings or another contaminant on your vehicle, bring it over and give your vehicle the car wash it deserves.
* A reader asked recently why I always add North Carolina after Thomasville (aka Thomasville, NC) and it’s because there is a Thomasville in another nearby state. You would be surprised - or maybe not! - how often folks get the two mixed up.
You hear it all the time. Some friend kind of half brags, half jokes; “You got a car wash! I let the rain wash my car. That’s what the rain’s for.” Far be it from me to ascribe motives to their saying that, but I’m here to tell you that they are making a major mistake.
It doesn’t draw a lot of attention anymore, but remember acid rain? Well, it’s still out there even in beautiful Thomasville, NC.
Before I explain why acid rain is an enemy to the whole car, especially the unpainted surfaces such as glass, chrome, trim, etc. and thus why you need a car wash, let’s make clear what it is. According to the Environmental Protection Agency:
“Acid rain results when sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and nitrogen oxides (NO X ) are emitted into the atmosphere and transported by wind and air currents. The SO 2 and NO X react with water, oxygen and other chemicals to form sulfuric and nitric acids. These then mix with water and other materials before falling to the ground.” Or on your car.
So it’s not just rain: snow, fog or hail are also included. Heck, even dust that collects sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides is considered a form of dry deposition acid rain.
Now this occurs both naturally from say, a volcano, which we don’t have in Thomasville, NC, but primarily happens from human sources such as electrical generation from fossil fuels, vehicles, manufacturing, etc. which we do have. Since we are not doing away with any of those industries, we need to care for our vehicle with a good car wash.
Here’s the thing: most surfaces are porous (as in they let stuff in) and acid molecules seep into the pores causing localized corrosion that can continue until the acid is neutralized. Unfortunately, a simple car wash rinse or a soap and water rubdown followed by a rinse doesn’t do the trick as soapy water itself is not enough to neutralize the acid.
So it’s important to get the contaminants off the vehicles surface as quickly as possible after a rain/snow/fog/hail event in order to limit the etching that occurs and to remove the left-behind debris before its bond with the vehicle's surface becomes more difficult to break and therefore remove.
Added to this, rainwater on a vehicle’s surface collects debris from the air, which upon drying, will deposit the captured debris onto the surface causing spotting. That spotting can etch the vehicle’s surface. Many times, this etching can only be removed through buffing and polishing techniques.
By now you may be wondering how bad are the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides concentrations in Thomasville, NC. We don’t have an exact count as neither Thomasville nor Davidson County has a collection site but in nearby Orange and Rowan counties there are sites which, on a scale from 1 to 7, put us around 4 for Sulfur plus Nitrogen (eq/ha). Not terrible when compared to some places in Iowa and Minnesota that are over 7, but also not great.
Hopefully by now you are in agreement that getting a proper car wash after a moisture event is necessary to prevent the long-term damage to your vehicle from acid rain. In the next blog post or as I like to call it, ‘the more than you need to know chronicles of a car wash owner’, we will get into the specifics of the detergents and agents we use at the Cleaner Car Co. to not only keep your vehicle looking clean but also to prevent damage from acid rain.
Well Thomasville, it is that time of the year. Winter is here, the goose is getting fat and the roads can turn slick with ice. When it happens, the best we can do is spread salt on the road to prevent accidents. But like so much in life, with the good (of salt) comes the bad (of rust). Fortunately, we at the Cleaner Car Company are here to help.
First snow of the season – January 8, 2021. Photo courtesy of Chrystiana Parrish Morgan
By now, you might be asking, good salt, bad salt? What’s he on about? Let’s talk about the good first.
SALT MELTS ICE. Don’t believe me, try it at home. Heck, make an experiment of it if you have the time and/or happen to a have child at home. When snow or freezing rain falls, black ice raises its ugly head. It’s then that our local Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) is HOPEFULLY out in full swing plowing, sanding, and salting the roads to make it as safe a journey as possible. Snow and icy road conditions cause car accidents. As stated, salt melts ice. Combine it with sand, and you’ve got some extra traction on the road.
All good so far at least in the way salt helps make driving safer.
The bad is that salt is HIGHLY corrosive. How corrosive you ask? I’m not sure it is more corrosive than Coca-Cola (hey, there is another experiment for a winter day!) but it is BAD. Like holes in the floor of your car so you can see the road bad if it is left on too long. That’s why washing your car, especially the undercarriage, in the midst of winter is critical. Not only will your vehicle look clean, but it will also remove the accumulated salt which in turn will help prevent rust damage.
Don’t trust me? A second opinion is usually a good idea so what do the folks at NAPA auto parts think about getting road salt off your vehicle: “Simply put, you should give it a wash”.
And here’s where you can get your vehicle clean!
Still not convinced you need to wash that road salt off your car? Need a little science? We got you covered at the Cleaner Car Company so read on.
Good question and let’s be clear, we are talking about the metal rusting not the plastic. In fact, if you had a car made out of plastic, you wouldn’t need to bother about rust although not sure how safe a plastic car would be and the salt stains sure ain’t pretty so you would still probably want a wash. But back to science, to understand why salt (particularly NaCl) will increase the rate of corrosion (rusting), the geniuses (heck anyone who can understand chemistry is a genius to me) at stackexchange explain:
“consider metallic iron FeFe which rusts (oxidises) to iron(II) oxide Fe2O3Fe2O3 in the presence of oxygen O2O2 and water H2OH2O.
Corrosion (rust) is a 'redox' reaction, which means it involves reduction of oxygen into hydroxide ions and oxidation of metallic iron to iron cations.
For any redox reaction to take place, electrons are transferred. In this case, from the metallic iron which loses electrons to oxygen. The presence of salt (or any electrolyte) in the water accelerates the reaction because it increases the conductivity of water, effectively increasing the concentration of ions in the water and so increasing the rate of oxidation (corrosion) of the metal.”
Got that? Personally, the equation of:
SALT + WATER + METAL = RUST
works just fine for me but still it’s good to know the fancy equation backs it up. And the key part here is rust, because rust is bad for your car. As in real bad, as in hey, you want to see where you are going while driving but not by looking at the floor of your car and watching the road pass underfoot.
Since you all are a curious bunch, let’s get into how road salt actually works.
How you ask? Well, by a chemical reaction which lowers water’s freezing point – basically, it melts ice – which in turn allows your tires to make contact with the pavement. Contact with pavement leads to less chance of your vehicle sliding on an icy road.
However, as the chemists noted above, that melting ice makes for a salty liquid that is covering the undercarriage of your car as well as the exterior of it. So unfortunately, if left untreated good old road salt can negatively affect your vehicle’s paint leading to corrosion with rust forming underneath, leading to bubbling up of the paint as the metal becomes brittle and flakey. Let it go long enough and the damaged area will come loose and then you are suddenly looking through a hole as you drive down the road.
Obviously we are a bit biased at the Cleaner Car Company but even the experts will tell you that you need to get your vehicle washed, including the undercarriage, after driving on roads that have been salted. And it’s never a bad thing to do so during daylight hours so it can dry before night-time temperatures drop to freezing. That said, we are open 24 hours 7 days a week so if the only time you can get it washed is at dark, well, it’s better to get the salt off than leave it on.
I could go on quite a bit longer about the glories and tragedies of road salt, but somehow I feel I meet be losing most of you so for now…so long, be well and get your vehicle to a quality car wash, like the Cleaner Car Company and treat your vehicle to an underbody carriage wash with a foam bath and side blasters for as little as $8.