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A beach goers guide to car care

Summer 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 14 simple but smart tips to protect your car and keep sand in its place.

Top Car Care Tips

  1. Pick Your Last Swim Carefully

    Before you head in for the day, make sure your last swim is in calm water. This water contains less sand which means you won’t walk out with sand in every little corner of your clothing and body. It also means you will carry less sand into your vehicle! The last thing you want is for your last swim to be in a swell. You know what a swell is, right – that murky brown water that’s rolling with more sand than you can poke a thong at (for our American friends, thong = flip-flop)? Swim smart people.

  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 of all your belongings (onto the sand?!) and shake the bag out. You then place your sandy belongings back into the bag……huh?! 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!

    Mesh Bag
    Mesh Bag
  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. Price for a set of all-weather mats starts at $199. We sell exact fit WeatherTech and Sandgrabba mats. Check out the options for your vehicle by entering your make and model, here.

    Floor Liner
    Floor Liner
  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 much less sand on your person, reduce the amount of sand carried into your vehicle, and give yourself an awesome view of the beach.

    Fold-able Camp Chair
    Fold-able Camp Chair
  5. Line Your Boot / Trunk

    The cargo area of your car is a hot spot for sand. Everyone throws their stuff in the back … the bags, towels, esky (for our American friends, esky = cooler), balls … and usually it’s riddled with sand particles your car interior hates. The fix to this 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 a cargo liner for your car here, it’s guaranteed to fit and will only set you back $125.

    Cargo Liner
    Cargo Liner
  6. Wear Thongs (again, we’re talking about flip-flops)

    Closed-toe shoes gather sand. It’s unavoidable. But the next thing you know, the sand is tracked into your car’s interior and embeds 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. Life tip: don’t wear thongs while driving! If it’s not already against the law, it should be. Thongs are a real safety hazard that are likely to get stuck on your brake or acceleration pedal. 

    Flip Flops
    Flip Flops
  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 rip your heart out.

    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 you 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.

    Regrettably, we’re included the song below as reminder.

  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, comes with a 5-year warranty, and will fit your exact make and model. Not bad. Prices start at $119. Enter your make and model here for availability.

    Car Seat Cover
    Car Seat Cover
  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 if you have small kids. 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.

    Live near a beach?

  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 chips and scratches caused by small and large particles around the beach. These particles will be flicked up to your car both by other cars and the wind, so investing in the right car accessory is a good call. Here’s a quick look at the options you’ve got:

    A bonnet protector is a plastic shield that will stop chips around the front lip of your vehicle’s bonnet. They’re easy enough to install and are fairly small, so easy on the eye. A carbra, on the other hand, will cover a lot more territory. The benefit of this is it will shield the front bumper and a good portion of the bonnet itself. The downside is that very noticeable in the more common versions so it will take away from the ‘factory look’ (if that’s what you’re going for). There are newer, clear options on the market so check those options out too.


About FitMyCar

Save yourself the hassle of shopping with the car dealer and head straight online to purchase made to fit car accessories for your make and model. Find floor mats, dash covers, cargo liners, ute / truck bed liners, seat covers, phone holders, first aid kits, and more, and get it delivered to your door. So say goodbye, dodgy sales pitch & suit. And hello to made-to-fit gear and awesome service.

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Luke Samuels

Luke is the Marketing guy at FitMyCar. He's been writing & selling stuff online since the day he got his licence to drive and despite a lack of taste in cars, he's managed to work in one automotive role or another for half his working life.

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