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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > Cosmetic Maintenance: Wash, Wax, Detailing, Repairs > Protecting new car from sand?
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      01-16-2013, 10:55 PM   #1
EnerJi
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Protecting new car from sand?

I just picked up my first BMW, a 2013 EB-II 335i at the Performance Center in South Carolina. Amazing car, and I plan to keep it several years.

My challenges:

My condo building garage parking space is mostly exposed to the elements. Bad garage design, and there's no opportunity to swap my space. I live a block from the beach, and there's also some significant construction going on within my immediate area.

Consequently, there is a LOT of dust and sand in the air. I left my old car for just a week parked in the space my new Bimmer is going to live in, and it was literally caked in sand, so much so that I could barely see out the front/rear windshield to move it into another space.

I travel out of town for work often and work from home when I'm not traveling, so the car may go unused for days at a time and accumulate sand.

My questions:

Short of moving, any suggestions on steps I can take to protect my car and its paint from the sand and dust in the air? As long as I take pains not to rub the sand into the paint, is it relatively harmless? Would regular waxing help protect the paint?

I would consider a car cover, but if I planned to use it often I realistically would not be able to guarantee the car was freshly washed and spotless prior to putting it on (no car washing allowed in the garage.) Therefore, I would be concerned that putting on and taking off the cover on while there is some sand on the vehicle might scratch the paint?

I know there are several beach-residing folks on the forum, so any and all suggestions are welcome!
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      01-16-2013, 11:53 PM   #2
Tsuyoi
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Consider getting a clear coat product or wrapping product for the areas most prone to this (fenders, side panels, door panels, etc). Opti-coat, clear bra, etc. Replace every few years, will keep the actual paint from ever coming into contact with the sand.
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      01-16-2013, 11:54 PM   #3
claykin
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I hear ya. Also live in South Florida, two blocks off the beach. In my case, single family home with an enclosed garage, so not as big a deal as you.

Your big concern is not so much sand, but salt, salt air! This is seriously corrosive. I can tell you from experience that you'll see corrosion in places you'd never expect it. Keep the windows and sunroof closed when parked and sitting. Also, make sure your tire air valve caps are always there. If they disappear buy a dozen spare caps and keep replacing them. Seriously. The salt air will corrode the valves and TPM sensors over time.

As far as sand on your paint. Is there construction going on in the area, or do you think this is beach sand? If no construction, its likely a combo of beach sand and salt. Wash and wax the car often.

A car cover can help. For South FL I prefer the Evolution fabric covers from Covercraft. IMO, the Evolution fabric is the best all around solution for South FL. If your car has light sand on it, the fabric backing should protect the paint from scratching. If sand is heavy and its windy outside, then I'd be careful.

That's my 2 Cents.

P.S. I have a Covercraft Evolution E90 sedan cover if you're interested in checking it out. PM me.
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      01-17-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
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The sand/dust/dirt itself won't harm your paint. How you remove the sand/dust/dirt is the real issue. First and foremost, you must flush the contaminants from the paint with copious amounts of water. From there, a very sudsy bath is in order with two buckets so you don't grind the dirt into the paint as you wash it. Never try wiping or dusting it off dry. As claykin indicated, the salt air is much more of a concern. Frequent washes and flushing of all exterior surfaces is the best defense against airborne corrosives.
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      01-17-2013, 12:59 PM   #5
rconti
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honestly, I think I'd put the car cover on even if the car wasn't totally clean (just not over sand).
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      01-17-2013, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rconti View Post
honestly, I think I'd put the car cover on even if the car wasn't totally clean (just not over sand).
There WILL be sand. In fact, the cover itself will end up caked with sand which will inevitably end up between the cover and the paint. I wouldn't use a cover unless you could ensure it was 100% clean every time you went to put it on the car. Covers often do more harm than good.
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