Protecting Your Vehicle From Salt
With the winter months upon us, salt will be covering the roads to help maintain safe roadways. While salt is an incredibly useful tool to help de-ice roadways, the toll it can take on your vehicle is substantial. Salt causes corrosion at a fast rate when it comes in contact with your vehicle's steel chassis and trim panels. The trouble that can occur from this corrosion will ultimately destroy your car if left uncared-for, rusting out the frame, and potentially damaging the mechanical parts of your vehicle.
Why Use Road Salt?
Image via Flickr by charlie cars
Road salt has been used since the 1930s to help prevent ice on the road. When salt is dropped on ice, it lowers the water's freezing point and starts to melt the ice down. This allows vehicles to get better traction and tire contact with the pavement. While using road salt can do some severe damage to your car, the cost, abundance, and ease of use for applying salt to roads is why we continue to use it.
How to Protect Your Vehicle
Wash Your Vehicle
If your vehicle has been in contact with road salt, it's essential to wash, or at the very least rinse, your vehicle's underbody as soon as possible to clear it of any leftover salt. You would typically do this after the roads have been cleared of snow and salt. When washing your vehicle after a snowstorm, if possible, try and do so when the temperature is above 40 degrees to prevent water from freezing on your car.
Keep Up on Waxing
It is an excellent practice to keep your vehicle waxed. This will prevent salt from getting ingrained into your vehicle's exterior coat. Before the snow season, it is an excellent time to get your vehicle detailed and waxed. Taking your vehicle to a car wash that offers an undercarriage wash and protection is another great way to protect your car. Many car washes offer undercarriage wash and protection. Getting this service done, along with a quick spray-on wax at a commercial car wash, will help ensure your vehicle stays fresh after each encounter with road salt.
Avoid Deep Snow and Puddles
When driving on salty roads, try to avoid deep snow as the snow can get stuck in the underbody of your vehicle leading to more salt and corrosion. Another practice is to do your best to avoid puddles after the snow has melted. Road salt will collect in puddles on the road after the majority of the road has cleared, so they contain a much higher concentration of salt.
By maintaining a clean vehicle throughout the winter months and focusing on the undercarriage of your vehicle, you can be sure to have a healthy, rust-free chassis for years to come. Road salt can do incredible damage to your brake lines, suspension components, and the vehicle panels and frame. All of this can lead to costly repairs and pose a severe safety risk if left unattended. If you are proactive and take a hands-on approach to prevent these troubles, you will have a safe, clean vehicle for years to come.