The winter months can be a hardship for anyone. From cranking up the heater to shoveling the driveway, cold and snow adds a few more to-dos to your day. And while snow plows and ice melt may seem like a blessing to your daily commute or trip through the mountains, it’s important to understand how ice melt works and how it can affect your car.

If you’re finding snow and dirt residue from your drive sticking to your vehicle, it’s time for a wash. At Firehouse Xpress Car Wash, we offer four tiers of car wash services to accommodate your budget and your car wash needs. Visit us today at either of our locations in Fort Collins or purchase an unlimited car wash package.

The Science Of Ice Melt

Magnesium chloride, otherwise referred to as ice melt, is a type of salt that causes a chemical reaction in water and lowers its freezing point. It helps melt snow and ice on roads so your tires can maintain traction. It prevents you from sliding all over the road.

Unfortunately, water causes rust on vehicles that have iron. With melting slush being sprayed all over your car by your own tires and traffic, the ice melt that’s keeping your car on the road is also causing damage to your car. Not only that, but salt actually speeds up the process of rusting. This means that the ice melt that’s mixed in with the slushy snow on the road is accelerating the rusting process and also eating away at the finish and paint on your car.

Suddenly, the saving grace that’s keeping you on the road while there’s snow on the ground is also your car’s worst enemy. So, what do you do?

Keep Your Car Clean

The best way to prevent the finish on your car from peeling or the body of your car from rusting is to keep your car as clean as possible and take preventative measures that keep water and road salt from sticking to your car.

At Firehouse Xpress Car Wash, we offer a car wash service called The Captain. On top of a basic wash, we apply a magnesium chloride removal in the winter months to make sure your car isn’t being eaten by salt water. It also includes an undercarriage wash so you don’t have snow pack on the bottom of your car that risks potential damage.

As a preventative measure, we also recommend The Chief, our best value car wash service. It includes everything from The Captain, as well as a Polyshine Premier Polymer Foam Wax, WeatherGuard All Season Protectant, and Black Diamond Tire Shine. Applying a coat of surface protectant and wax before winter months will help prevent snow, slush, and salt water from sticking to your car in the first place.

For a complete list of services included in The Captain and The Chief, check out our car wash menu.

Additional Tips

  • It’s a good idea to wash your car as soon as possible after a snowstorm
  • To prevent water from freezing to your car right after a wash, get it washed while the sun is out and the temperature is close to 40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Bring an old towel with you to the car wash to dry your car off afterward
  • Open and close doors and your trunk after the car wash to prevent them from freezing shut


The winter months can be a trying time for you and your vehicle. There’s not much we can do about the weather, but we can help keep your car in great condition with our undercarriage wash, ice melt remover, and surface protectant and wax. Find a location near you and visit Firehouse Xpress Car Wash today!