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Your Car’s Undercarriage: How to Clean (and WHY)

by prince

Your Car’s Undercarriage: How to Clean (and WHY)

“Out of sight. Out of mind.” We’ve all heard the expression, and it’s especially true when it comes to washing our cars. One part of our car that tends to get neglected is the undercarriage. Unless you’re a mechanic, it’s very unlikely you’re looking under there very often, which makes it easy to forget about.

If you’re wondering if it’s important to wash your car’s undercarriage, the answer is YES.

Neglecting to wash your car’s undercarriage causes all kinds of problems, which can decrease your car’s longevity and cost you a lot of money. We want to share 3 types of potential damage and how you can prevent it from happening.

Potential Damage

Clogged Drainage Holes

Every vehicle has drain holes that are designed to let water easily escape from the nooks & crannies of metal in a vehicle. There are many drainage holes underneath your car so that water doesn’t get trapped where it shouldn’t.

However, because of these drainage holes’ location, they regularly come into contact with gravel, mud, debris, grime, and ice. All these elements can build up and eventually clog drainage holes, preventing them from doing their job.

You do not want trapped water in your vehicle, so it’s important you keep these drainage holes clear. An easy way to do this is by cleaning underneath your car a few times each year.

Exposed Metal & Rust

You’ll also find that rust is unavoidable if you don’t properly look after your car’s undercarriage. It’s inevitable that the metal underneath your car will get chipped & scratched by flying rocks and debris. Once the metal is bare and exposed, it’s more prone to rust.

Wash your car's undercarriage to extend your car's lifespan at Hughes Carwash

This is especially true in the Edmonton area. Most of our winter roads are maintained with road salt which gets layered on the exposed metal underneath your car. Although salt is great for keeping us from sliding into the ditch, it can be extremely hard on your vehicle’s undercarriage by speeding up the rusting process.

A simple wash of a car’s undercarriage will remove unwanted substances and hold off rusting.


One of the more serious consequences of neglecting the underside of your car is overheating. Layered debris can also act as insulation under your car, leading to the dangerously high temperatures of your engine and transmission.

Debris can also work its way into your engine, which can be extremely costly to fix (and sometimes irreparable).

Do yourself a favour and keep that undercarriage sparkling clean.

How to Clean an Undercarriage

Washing your vehicle’s undercarriage is easy if you’re using a professional washing bay. Just follow these steps:

  1. Lift your car slightly off the ground with a car jack (optional).
  2. Use a pressure washer to rinse under the car.
  3. Apply degreaser on particularly oily or greasy parts (optional).
  4. Spray on pre-soak and follow with soap.
  5. Gently scrub with a foam brush.
  6. Rinse!

To save yourself money and heartache, make sure you wash your car’s undercarriage once per season. If you’re big into off-roading or have a particularly messy trip, you’ll want to make sure your car’s wheel wells and undercarriage are thoroughly cleaned when you get back.

Visit a Hughes’ self-service bay in your area for a great space to clean your car’s undercarriage! Find your Hughes location today.

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