Drive-On Beaches Can Be a Fun Time, Your Car Might Disagree

Drive-on beaches are something we often see in older movies, and it seems like the perfect summer adventure. Not all beaches around the country offer the ability to drive your car down the water’s side, but when you get the opportunity it’s hard to deny it. There are plenty of reasons why drive-on beaches can be fun, but they can also be pretty harsh on your car, and if you don’t follow a proper maintenance schedule it can cause problems for your car.

Salty roads and beaches

We recognize that the salt added to many icy roads can cause corrosion on our car’s undercarriage and other metal components. Just like winter roads, the beach is covered in crystallized salt, which can do just as much damage to the undercarriage of your car. If you’ve ever gone home and continued to find sand in your belonging and inside your car for days to come, then just imagine all of the places that sand can get stuck to underneath your car.

New Volvo S60 R-Design exterior by the beach
Volvo S60 R-Design | Volvo

Getting stuck

Not all vehicles are created equal, and while it can seem picturesque to be driving down the beach with the windows down or even the top of your convertible car off. Your cool factor could go from a 10 to a 0 pretty quickly when you get stuck in a patch of loose sand. Depending on where you are, some tow-trucks are too heavy to drive on the beach, and you might have to rely on a stranger to help pull you out. Someone who isn’t experienced with towing could seriously damage your car, not to mention having to find a way to clean all of the sand out.

1967 Jeep Commando printed ad
1967 Jeep Commando | FCA

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A watery grave for our four-wheeled friends

There has been more than one case of a car being caught in the waters. Whether it’s treading too close to the water line and being stuck as the tide creeps in or getting snatched by a stray wave. Whatever happens, bringing your vehicle on the beach might not always be all fun and games. Perhaps parking on the pavement and making the short trek over the dunes is worth it to not put our cars at risk.

A red Jeep stranded on a beach during Hurricane Dorian
People look at a Jeep Grand Cherokee stranded on a beach during Hurricane Dorian in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg, Getty Images

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Unlucky for our idea of a perfect summer beach day, most beaches don’t allow you to drive on them anyway. It’s okay, though, while it might not be ideal to lug all of your beach chairs and towels across the sand to the water, it’s far less annoying than having to repair rust, or even worse, rescue your car from a watery grave.