How does sand affect my car?

Published: Mar. 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM CDT
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Many drivers may not realize all those tiny grains of sand can damage the body of your car.

"Basically it can eat it away. There's a clear coat on your paint jobs," said David Poulos, Manager of Poulos Tire and Auto in Biloxi.  "You've probably seen where the hoods have turned white.  A lot of that is sun.  But we see some of it.  The sand will do it on the bumpers and things like that."

Specks of sand can also get embedded in your windshield.

Then there's the damage you don't see right away. If you're driving and notice that your car isn't as powerful as before, or that your brake system is making some strange squeaking noises, that could be caused by sand.  That means it's time to check under the hood.

Sand can easily collect in air filters. Clogged filters can restrict air flow, which can lead to other problems.

"It can get into the brake pads, can get into the calipers, causing a caliper stick, can cause premature bearing wear by getting into the pulley system, as far as doing some deterioration on belts," said Assistant Service Manager Steve Hughes.

Sand can also affect the sensors in your car, giving you false readings. The managers said sand rarely gets into the internal engines of cars.