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The fight to keep your car clean in the winter is tough, even more tough if you live in Wyoming. We often have customers stop us and ask us about the dreaded winter film that persists on their vehicles even after going through the automatic wash. Let us explain how this happens and how to defeat it.

The reason for the stubborn film can generally be traced to two simple reasons:

  1. Not washing the car frequently enough and/or

  2. Driving in harsh conditions, i.e. in locations where mag chloride or salt is used.

The main reason we see this film build up is that the chemicals used to melt ice and treat our roads are stubborn. Actually, they are VERY stubborn and as our roads become wet, these same chemicals are transferred to your vehicle. As you drive down the road at 65mph you are then drying these chemicals to your clear coat in a never ending process of applying and drying.

This is a very common problem but the solution is quite simple and effective.

Over time, these road treating chemicals essentially become molecularly bonded to your car’s clear coat and a simple non-friction wash will not break this bond. To effectively beat the film one must use either very harsh chemicals or use friction. This is where things get really touchy. Given our soil conditions in Lander - either clay or sand - using friction can be very dicey and can lead to a scratched vehicle and that is precisely why we only have touch free washes. Using harsh chemicals is even worse because they can be dangerous to not only your vehicle but also our equipment, the City sewer system and are not healthy to breathe in…...thus we don’t use them. So, the solution is friction but how does one do it right?

To beat this stubborn film we highly suggest that one first use the self serve wash bay and thoroughly wash the vehicle (wash from top of the car down) to remove any surface dirt.

Once that is done we then suggest the car owner then use the foaming brush function and repeat the process. The friction from the foam brush will break the bonds of the murky film layer and the material will be suspended in the soap solution and allow for the film to be rinsed away. Take time and really scrub every surface with the foam brush because it is only this friction that will break this bond and allow for your cars shine to come through.

After completing the self serve wash, run your vehicle through either automatic wash bay.

In the top two wash packages, there are two separate wax application passes that restore your clear coat and a barrier is laid down to protect your paint. Now for the biggest part - one needs to wash their vehicle on a regular basis so that the road grime does not get through this wax barrier and bond to the clear coat again. We highly suggest washing your vehicle weekly

(or biweekly at a minimum) otherwise you can plan on the film will get through the wax laid down on the prior wash and bond to your clear coat finish again.

We understand the frustration of this situation but there is really only one solution and that is to regularly wash your vehicle. We live in a great spot but our vehicles take a beating for that choice so let’s make the most of it and beat that stubborn film! Our vehicles are some of our biggest investments so take that extra step to protect your investment!

Written by Ron Hansen


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