14 Ways to Protect Your Car from Sand at the Beach

14 Ways to Protect Your Car from Sand at the Beach

December 01, 2017

Summertime is prime time for the beach. There’s nothing more relaxing than a dip in the water or lying about on the sand. But at the end of the day out (or vacation… if you’re super lucky), you want the memories from the trip to be carried in your mind or smart device photo reel – not your car interior/exterior.

Sand, dust, and salt air from the beach are fierce enemies of your car. They stick and fall into the most random of places, making it hard to keep your ride tidy. Since most cars on the road aren’t investments, they depreciate right, you do want them in good order to maximise resale value and of course keep a lid on your own sanity.
The article below delves into 12 simple but smart tips to keep sand in its place and protect your car.

  1. Pick Your Last Swim Carefully
    Before you head in for the day, make sure your last swim is in calm water. This water will contain as little sand as you’re gonna get which means you’ll carry little with you home. The last thing you want is for your last swim to be in a swell. You know what it is. It’s that murky brown water that’s rolling with more sand than you can poke a thong at (for our American friends, thong = flip-flop).
  2. Mesh Bags
    You’re gonna thank us for this one. Here’s the scene: a normal bag has a nasty habit of collecting sand in every nook and cranny. To get rid of the sand, you empty said bag from all your belongings (onto the sand?!) and shake the bag out. You then place your sandy belongings back into the bag. This makes no sense. SOLUTION: Throw your sunscreen, car keys, watch and wallet into a mesh bag. The mesh will allow sand into and, more importantly, out of the bag without you needing to do a thing! Better yet, it is washable and completely reusable. Your car and the environment (not trying to be ironic) will thank you for it!
  3. All-Weather Floor Mats
    An all-weather floor mat is different than a carpet car mat. For one, it’s made from an odourless rubber (the hard-core auto guys call it TPE) and usually comes with raised edges. These qualities make it possible to ‘quarantine’ any sand to the mat. In contrast, a carpet floor mat would love nothing more than to hide the sand deep down in the mat fibres.
  4. Sit On Chairs
    This one is a no-brainer. Instead of sitting on a beach towel, try chilling out on one of those foldable camp chairs. This will mean you pick up must less sand on your person and give yourself an awesome view of the beach.
  5. Line Your Boot / Trunk
    The cargo area of your car is a hot spot for sand. Everyone throws their stuff in back … the bags, towels, esky (for our American friends, esky = cooler), balls … and usually it’s riddled with particles your car interior hates. The fix is surprisingly simple: grab yourself a cargo liner. Like all-weather floor mats, boot/trunk liners are made from odourless rubber, have raised edges, and if it’s a good one – will be shaped to the exact shape of your cargo space. Pick one up for your car here, it’s guaranteed to fit and will only set you back $125 AUD.
  6. Wear Thongs (again, we’re talking about flip-flops)
    Closed-toe shoes will gather sand. It’s unavoidable. Next, the sand will be tracked into your car’s interior and embed itself deep down in the carpet fibres. As a beach-goer you’d know this is not an ideal scenario. To avoid all this, do yourself a favour and wear a pair of thongs or open-toed shoes. It will stop that nasty particle-on-particle feeling between your toes and keep your car’s interior looking nice.
  7. Rinse Your Ride Before You Rub
    When you get home, the exterior of your car will need a clean to remove the sand. You should give it a solid rinse with water before using a sponge to avoid smearing fine sand particles over your paintwork. Doing so will scratch your ride and make you very sad. Once rinsed, use a decent quality car cleaner for a sudsy wash. Pro Tip: also run the hose under the engine bay to help reduce the risk of rust taking hold. It’s not a full preventative measure but should help.
  8. Shake, Shake, Shake It Off
    “Shake it off” – is the best bit of advice Taylor Swift has ever given that also happens to apply to your trip to the beach. So before jump into your vehicle, dust off any remaining sand and dust particles. Clap your feet together, shake out your shirt… there’s no way you’re taking the sand back with you.
  9. Seat Covers
    Seat covers are a good option to protect the seats from dirt, spills, and sand. They’ll act as a protective barrier by coping the beating you’d otherwise have given your factory seat material. There are a range of seat covers on the market today, all with different protective qualities. For the most adventurous and outdoorsy types, we’d suggest a canvas seat cover. It is water resistant, UV resistant and comes with a 5-year warranty. Not bad. Prices start at $119.
  10. Throw A Sheet Over The Back
    If you don’t want to spend your moolah on car accessories, think about throwing a doubled over sheet on the back seats. It can be removed after each trip and cleaned. Just be careful with this option for small kids as a wriggly child will move the sheet and allow the mess onto the seats.
  11. Got Carpet Car Mats? This Is How To Clean Them
    If you get sand on your carpet car mats, use this method to clean it up. It will help you to pick up the sand that’s sitting down in the carpet fibres.
  12. Take A Shower
    These days, most beaches have a shower to clean yourself up after a long day in the surf. Make use of this to protect your car from the sand on your clothes. Also be sure to dry yourself with a fresh towel (not the one you’ve been laying on) to ensure you’re nice and clean before you hop into the car.
  13. Car Cover
    If you live near the beach, a car cover with fabric underside is worth thinking about. For those not familiar, you’d place the cover over the car at night or during the day (whenever the car is sitting around for a good length of time) to stop filth from resting on the car. It will also help reduce the damage caused by wet, salty air that corrodes the vehicle body. Why a cover with a fabric underside? It creates a nice cushion that will help stop the cover itself from scratching the paintwork. Pro tip: just make sure your car and cover are already clean before use. Otherwise, sand will be present and scratch your car.
  14. Bonnet Protector or Carbra
    If you drive frequently, chances are you’d want to protect your bonnet from small and large particles. These particles will be flicked up to your car both by other cars and the wind. A bonnet protector is the ideal way to nip that in the bud before damage is done / prevent further damage.

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