This is a closer image of an automobile wheel fitted with snow tires, surrounded by the winter’s salts and sludge. Note how the tread pattern is able to grip the snow.
If you’ve been driving across the North for a while you’ve probably witnessed the corrosion that is due to road salt. Fortunately, the damage is preventable!
The roads that are snowy and icy across the nation require salt and other ice melt methods to make them usable even in winter. Although road salt (i.e. the salt used to make snow) as well as brines can be essential in ensuring the safety of roads but they can also cause damage to your vehicle.
How Does Road Salt Harm Cars and Trucks?
Most car parts like the suspension, body, and brake components comprise steel, which makes up an alloy made of iron, carbon as well as other components. When iron is in contact with oxygen and water the chemical reaction takes place which produces iron oxide, also called rust.
Salt permits electrons to move faster in the chemical reaction, not so much as causing formation of rust, but rather speeding up the process of creating rust on steel parts.
The majority of rust begins with bare metal fasteners as well as suspension components that are located on the bottom of the vehicle. Typically the paint on a vehicle will cover the bodywork it is possible to see. However, if the paint is damaged in any way, leaving exposed metal beneath, it’s an ideal place to start corrosion. The lower edges of your vehicle are the most likely to be affected by rust because they are prone to rocks chips that you don’t notice when you drive.
How Does Rust Affect My Car?
These bare components of steel comprise several of the bolts that hold your vehicle together. This could cause some problems for DIYers who want to loosen bolts that have rust when doing simple brake work at home, like.
Professional mechanics, regardless of many years experience and a plethora of equipment, experience exactly the same issues which add time (and consequently costs) to repair. The list of issues that the rust-related damage can bring is lengthy and includes several crucial safety elements, according to AJ Nealey, owner of Nealey Auto Service in Edgewater, Md.
“Lately we’ve been seeing rusty brake calipers, caliper slider pins and even occasionally steel brake lines that rust through,” the expert states. “We also find control arms, suspension components so worn out that you are able to press them using your fingers”
How Can I Avoid the salt from causing damage to My Car?
There are many methods to avoid the damage caused by rust that salt can cause.
- Make sure you wax your car prior to winter. It isn’t a good idea to wax your car at low temperatures because the wax will be extremely difficult to apply on the vehicle as temperatures drop. In the fall, the application of quality wax can give your paint an additional layer of protection against the elements.
- Wash often. Washing your car during winter helps to remove the road salt and prevents its contribution to the development of the rust. “After a winter storm, drive through an automated car wash — maybe twice, since road brines can stick to the underside of the car,” Newley advises.
- Avoid driving through snow plows. When driving in the fresh-plowed slush of a municipal snowplow might seem appealing, take note that the plow is dropping salt, which will be able to stay on your car. Allow the plow space to work, and also protect your vehicle during the process.
- Avoid deep puddles. The gray puddles of melting snow are soiled with salty water that can splash on the undercarriage side of your vehicle when you traverse them. Sometimes, they’re inevitable however, if you’re able to avoid them, stay away then do so.
- Think about the possibility of an undercoat. Opt for the one that is added by the dealer or have it applied by a trusted local shop following purchase, Newley says. This will give your car an extra layer of security to protect the fasteners as well as steel sheet from exposure to salt and water.