Living somewhere cold like West Chester, we are no strangers to the sometimes extreme weather that comes along in the winter months. We are used to being cold, and ready to battle the elements. Roads get salted in preparation for ice to keep us safe while we drive. It’s easy to appreciate the salt for preventing a wreck, but we often skip over thinking about what damage the salt might be doing to our vehicles at the same time!
The salt itself is the same kind of salt that we use on our food, it’s just not ground down as fine for use on roads. The salt lowers the freezing point of water, so that ice that has already formed melts, allowing car tires to gain traction from the pavement instead of slipping and sliding around on top of ice. Even though salt helps us a lot in the winter and keeps us safe, it will definitely corrode the metal on your vehicle after time.
Over time, salt can start to rust the parts of your car, and if the right spot rusts, you could be looking at some really serious problems that might be expensive to fix. Rust spots can cause hydraulic brake system leaks and damage the subframe. Since the underbody of the car is most exposed to the salt on the roads, it’s the most likely to suffer from corrosion and it’s hard to detect since it’s harder for us to see.
These conditions can be worsened if you pull your car into a garage after driving in the salt and snow. All of the snow melts, combining with the salt and it practically sits rotting the underbody of your car. Damage caused by road salt is extremely common in the Northeast region of the United States, so be aware of this!
To prevent and minimize damage caused by road salt, you should frequently take your car to the car wash. To be extra safe, we recommend going to a car wash that has under-spray to really reach the areas that might be missed in a regular car wash. You can also take preventative measures by taking your car to a collision shop for a winter pre-treatment that makes it difficult for salt to even reach the metal components of your underbody.
Driving in the winter is already stressful enough, but knowing how to prevent more damage caused by winter-driving can save you a pretty penny. Definitely stay safe by driving on salted roads this season, but keep your car safe as well by removing salt and preventing corrosion.