The Effect of Road Salt on Your Car
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Winter driving tips, check out this article!
Outside of poor weather conditions, traffic, pedestrians that don’t pay attention and
other drivers that fail to adjust driving habits to the winter weather, there is another
more subtle threat to you and your vehicle that often gets overlooked – road salt.
As soon as the snow begins to fall we see the fleet of snow plows spring into action and
start spreading road salt all over the road. Yes, it works effectively to get rid of ice and
improve the overall road conditions during the winter to make our roads safe.
However, it is doing a disservice to your vehicle.
Road salt was first used before the Second World War and has been a staple ever since.
It is used by municipalities across Canada because it is not only widely available, but it is
also the most cost effective methods to de-ice roads.
Unfortunately road salt is corrosive. It is a chloride based mixture that is mixed with
other minerals such as potassium, sodium and calcium.
While it is cost effective for municipalities, road salt can be costly for vehicle owners if
they do not take the necessary steps to protect their car during the winter. As you drive,
your car picks up the road salt and its residue and if it is left on your car for a long period
of time it can do some serious damage.
The negative effects of road salt on your car
Common issues resulting from road salt:
It can lead to the development or spreading of rust on the undercarriage and across the
body of your vehicle
Damage to the paint and finish of your car
Issues with the operation of your vehicle if it gets into your engine or other areas
Damage to the interior of your car if you do not have effective winter mats
What you can do to reduce the impact of road salt on your vehicle
While the easiest way to reduce the impact of road salt is to just not drive in the winter
when road salt is on the road, but this is simply not feasible. The good news is there are
a couple of things that drivers can do to minimize the effects.
The most important thing that you can do is wash your car on a regular basis during the
winter. While many people don’t see the point in washing their car during the winter, it
is not about keeping it clean, per se, but getting the salt off.
As a general rule, you should wash your vehicle about every 10-14 days, depending on
the weather and other factors. You should only wash your vehicle when the weather is
above freezing. Finally, wash your car during the day, so the water from the wash does
not freeze. And, when you get the car washed, don’t forget to get it waxed as well. This
will make it easier to brush the snow and scrape the ice off your car in the morning.
Follow these simple tips and you will be well on your way to protecting your car from
road salt and its corrosive effects.