Dirt Can Hurt More Than Just the Appearance of the Vehicles in Your Fleet

A dirty vehicle fleet can hurt more than you may realize

Dust and dirt accumulation can lead to a number of problems, including paint peel-off and rust buildup.
Dust and dirt accumulation can lead to a number of problems, including paint peel-off and rust buildup.

When was the last time you noticed how the vehicles in your fleet looked? Are they sparkling clean or are they dusty and dirty? If they haven’t been cleaned in a while, it may be time to schedule a wash, not just because they "look dirty" but also because a dirty fleet can hurt more than you may realize.

“It’s not just about aesthetics,” says Christopher Miller, vice president of E-ZOIL, manufacturer of performance-enhancing fuel additives and cleaning solutions. “The dust and dirt that vehicles accumulate on exterior surfaces while driving around can pave the way for many problems, including paint peel-off and rust buildup."

According to Miller, the scorching sun, driving rain, blowing dust and dirt, tree sap and even bird droppings can have a negative impact on a vehicle’s paint and clear coat. In areas that experience snow in the winter, road salt is the worst enemy, while in places closer to the ocean, fleets can show the abrasive effects of salt in the air.

The paint and the clear coat not only make vehicles look clean and attractive, they also serve to protect the metal and the components underneath. If grit collects on a vehicle, a single scratch can gradually wear off the paint over time, and eventually expose the metal underneath.

If contaminants find their way into the nooks and crevices of a vehicle’s body panels, they can cause rust to start, and once it does, it only grows. Rust is most harmful when it starts in the undercarriage, which houses many moving mechanical parts, and where it is not visible.

Furthermore, when dirt settles on the windshield, rear window or side view mirrors, it can increase blind spots and compromise safety.

Finally, a dirty fleet can communicate the wrong message about a company. Some truck fleets, for example, are well known for going the extra mile when it comes to keeping their vehicles clean. When their trucks and equipment are seen around town, it communicates a positive message to existing and potential customers. 

“A regular washing schedule with high-performance cleaners is critical to the maintenance and longevity of your fleet," Miller emphasizes. “High-performance cleaners containing high concentrations of specially formulated detergents can remove road film and diesel smoke, cause no water spotting and are safe to use on all surfaces. They are also biodegradable.”

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