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Undercarriage Car Wash: Why and How to Clean 

  • Car Care Tips
  • Celine Jerly
  • 7 minutes

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Ever looked under your car? If you’ve been driving it for a while and have never done an undercarriage car wash, expect dirt, grease, and more under your car. But it’s not just about driving a dirty car; the dirt buildup can cause serious damage to the vehicle. So, let’s get started and learn how to wash your car’s undercarriage. 

The undercarriage is the car’s part below its frame. It is exposed to a lot of dirt, debris, salt, and other chemicals that cause rust and corrosion. If you don’t clean it regularly, these harmful substances can build up and damage your car’s components. A regular undercarriage car wash can help prevent this damage and keep your car running longer.  

You can wash your car’s undercarriage yourself or take it to a car wash that offers undercarriage washing. If you choose to do it yourself, here are some tips that’ll help get the job done: 

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See: Top tips for choosing the best car wash

Why Clean Your Car’s Undercarriage 

Prevent rust and corrosion: The dirt, debris, grease, oil, brake dust, grime, and road salt buildup on the undercarriage causes rust and corrosion, which damages your car’s frame, suspension, exhaust system, and other components. 

Improve fuel efficiency: Dirt and debris can block air vents and passages on the undercarriage, reducing fuel efficiency. You can improve airflow by clearing the blocks. 

Extend the life of car components: The undercarriage houses important components, such as the exhaust system, fuel lines, and brake lines. Cleaning helps protect these and extend their lifespan. 

Make your car look better: A clean undercarriage can make it look more presentable, especially if you plan to sell it later.  

Also Read: Undercarriage Washes – not a luxury, but a necessity!

Undercarriage Car Wash: How Often?

Getting an undercarriage wash at least once a year is a good idea. However, it depends on where you live and how often you drive in harsh conditions. For example, if you live in an area with harsh winters or frequently drive off-road, you may need to get an undercarriage car wash more often. Road salt used to melt snow builds up quickly and causes corrosion.  

You can get away with washing your car’s undercarriage every 2-3 months in mild winter climates. But in an area with moderate winters, you should wash your car’s undercarriage every month. In extremely cold areas with snow and ice, washing the undercarriage every week is also fine.  

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines. The frequency of washing your car’s undercarriage will depend on a few factors. If you are not sure how often you should wash your car’s undercarriage, it is always best to err on the side of caution and wash it more often.

Also See: Top Tips for Perfect Car Wash in Winter

What’s an Undercarriage Car Wash 

An undercarriage wash is a service that cleans the underside of your car. It typically includes: 

  • The car is raised on a lift so that the undercarriage is accessible. 
  • A high-pressure water hose is used to blast away dirt and debris. 
  • A degreaser may be applied to stubborn areas. 
  • The undercarriage is rinsed thoroughly with water. 

Undercarriage washes can be performed by hand or by machine. Hand-washing is more thorough, but reaching all nooks and crannies can be time-consuming and difficult. Machine washing is faster and easier but may not be as thorough. 

Learn More: Automatic vs DIY car washes – here’s the lowdown

View of a car's undercarriage

How to DIY Undercarriage Car Wash 

You can get an undercarriage wash at a car wash that offers this service. You can also do it yourself, but using the right tools and products is important. If you are uncomfortable working underneath your car, you can take it to a car wash offering undercarriage washing. 

What You’ll Need

  • A pressure washer is essential for cleaning the undercarriage of your car. Use one powerful enough to remove dirt and debris but not damage your car. 
  • Degreaser can help to break down grease and oil buildup. 
  • A stiff-bristled brush is best for scrubbing the undercarriage of a car. 
  • Safety glasses keep flying debris away from your eyes. 
  • Gloves protect your hands from chemicals and debris. 

How to Wash Your Car’s Undercarriage Yourself?

  • Park your car on a level surface. You’ll need to have enough space to work around your car. 
  • Jack up your car and support it with jack stands. Raise it high enough to work on the undercarriage. 
  • Remove the wheels for better access and visibility. 
  • Blast away dirt and debris on the undercarriage with a pressure washer. Use a wide spray pattern to loosen the dirt and debris. 
  • Apply a degreaser to any stubborn areas. 
  • Scrub the undercarriage with a brush. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. 
  • Rinse the undercarriage thoroughly with water. 
  • Remove the jack stands after lowering the car. 
  • Allow the undercarriage to dry completely before driving. 

Important: Tips for a Safe and Efficient Undercarriage Wash

  • Do it at least once a season or more often if you live in an area with harsh winters or frequently drive off-road.  
  • Do not use a pressure washer to clean the engine bay. The high-pressure water can damage the engine’s electrical components. 
  • Let the degreaser sit briefly before scrubbing stubborn dirt or salt buildup. 
  • Using a degreaser not designed for cars can harm your vehicle’s paint. 
  • Rinse thoroughly with water to remove all the dirt and degreaser. 
  • Be careful not to get any water in your car’s exhaust system. It could rust and corrode as a result. 

Also See: How Does Car Washing Affect the Electrical System? 

man using pressure washer on car
Photo by Ethan Sexton on Unsplash


Is it good to wash the undercarriage of your car? 

Your car undercarriage is exposed to dirt, debris, and salt. Over time the buildup causes rust and corrosion that could damage the vehicle. So, wash and clean it regularly to extend your car’s lifespan. 

How do I clean the undercarriage of my car? 

You can DIY a car undercarriage wash using a pressure washer and degreaser. Use a brush and scrub off stubborn grease. Jacking up the car helps reach all the tough spots.  

What is a car undercarriage wash? 

An undercarriage wash is a service that cleans the underside of your car – the part below the car’s frame. Regularly washing your car’s undercarriage helps prevent rust and corrosion damage.  

What do you clean the undercarriage with? 

You can clean the undercarriage of your car with a pressure washer, degreaser, and brush. Make sure to use a degreaser suitable for your car, and do not apply too much water pressure, as it can damage your car parts.  

Does driving in the rain clean undercarriage? 

Rainwater is not strong enough to remove the buildup on the undercarriage. In fact, driving in the rain can worsen the problem by splashing dirt and debris onto the undercarriage. 

What are the benefits of underwashing a car? 

Car undercarriage wash helps prevent rust and corrosion, improves fuel efficiency, extends the life of car components, and, most importantly, keeps your car clean and looking good. 

How often should you wash your undercarriage in the winter? 

At least once a month because road salt that melts ice and snow builds up on the undercarriage quickly and damages it if not cleaned regularly.  

 You Might Also Like: How much does a car wash cost?

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