Preventing Rust from Road Salt


Salt is used on sidewalks, driveways and streets to melt ice and prevent the surfaces from being slippery. While salt helps people walk and travel safely, it does have its drawbacks. Since your vehicle is made from metal, the salt can cause major damage on the body and undercarriage of the car. Salt that remains on the car for any length of time can cause corrosion and rust. It can also interfere with the mechanics of your vehicle and lead to problems such as inhibited air flow, reduced braking action and vibrations.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of road salt on your vehicle. Let’s take a look.

Wax, Seal, Repeat

The best time to plan your salt defense strategy is before the first snowflake falls. Right around this time of the year, wash your car thoroughly and apply a coat of wax, followed by a wax sealant. This gives your vehicle’s paint a protective barrier. Also take the time to seal the undercarriage. The brake and fuel lines are most susceptible to corrosion damage, so it pays to have this step done. You can have your dealership do this or purchase a product from your local auto shop.

Wash Regularly

One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent rust is by keeping your car clean. Stop by the car wash every 10 days or less. Wash your vehicle before the temperatures reach 35 degrees since road salt won’t do much to your car at freezing temperatures. It’s once the temperatures warm up that the chemical reaction and corrosion occur. You should have the car waxed and re-sealed at least every three months.

Drive Smart

Avoid driving through deep snow when possible. The snow can become packed in the car, causing corrosion or mechanical problems. You should also avoid driving through large puddles of standing water. This is hard to do when the snow starts to melt, but it’s important to at least be aware of the potential danger and change lanes or drive around the puddle when possible. Road salt collects in the puddles, so when you drive through, the salt splashes up on the vehicle.

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