How Exposure to Road Salt Affects Your Car?


Road salt is effective at melting ice and snow because it causes a chemical reaction that lowers the freezing point of water. When you sprinkle salt on ice or snow, it dissolves in the moisture and forms a saltwater solution. Because this mixture has a lower freezing temperature than plain water, it can aid in melting snow and de-ice roads while also preventing treated areas from refreezing, allowing automobiles to pass safely. This chemical reaction, however, can endanger your vehicle.

What Effect Does Road Salt Have on Cars?

Road salt can assist in making winter driving conditions safer, such as by removing slippery roadways. It can, however, have a substantial impact on many of a vehicle's systems. Here are some of the most common issues caused by road salt buildup on a car.

  • Corrosion of the frame and body

The chemical reaction induced by road salt is fantastic for removing ice and snow, but it may also cause corrosion concerns, particularly on the underbody of a car, where it can come into touch with the frame and other structural parts. These parts are often composed of steel and are especially prone to rusting when exposed to salt. 

  • Paint damage

When road salt comes into touch with a car's paint, it can dull, chip, or fade the surface. Salt can cause the paint to blister or peel off the metal surface in extreme circumstances.

  • Brake deterioration

A car's brake system is made up of various metal components, such as brake pads, rotors, and calipers. When these components, like other metal components, come into touch with road salt, they can rust and get damaged over time. This might result in decreased braking performance, which can be hazardous when driving in wet weather.

  • Suspension decay

The suspension of an automobile is made up of numerous metal components, including springs, shocks, and control arms. These elements are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear, and they are prone to corrosion when exposed to road salt. If the suspension components rust or degrade, the ride quality and handling suffer, as does the wear on other systems.

  • Other component failures

Road salt exposure might impact other components such as the engine, silencer and electrical system. Rust and corrosion can limit engine performance and cause electrical issues such as difficult starting or battery troubles.

How to Deal with Road Salt

Ceramic car wax is a sealer that offers an extra layer of protection to your car's paint, insulating it from road salt and other damaging substances. A good wax coating on a vehicle also has other benefits, such as making it easier to clean and less prone to gather winter road filth (including road salt). 

Regularly Wash Your Car

It is critical to remove road salt as soon as possible to avoid corrosion and paint damage. Depending on where you live, this could mean going to the car wash a few days after each snowfall, or it could mean weekly or bi-weekly washes. Include cleaning the undercarriage on your to-do list, whether you wash the car yourself or at a professional car wash.

Inspect for Damage

Winter weather can have a variety of effects on your car, regardless of whether your town or municipality utilizes road salt to treat roadways. That's why it's important to check your automobile for problems (both inside and out) before the spring. Early detection of possible problems like rust and failing components can save money in the long run and ensure safe driving. 

Resolve Issues

Get paint scrapes and exposed metal surfaces repaired right away to avoid problems in the first place. Furthermore, don't let rust or corrosion accumulate; these conditions will not go away on their own and will only increase. 

Avoid Potholes and Puddles

While avoiding potholes is good advice any time of year, these roadway flaws are frequently holding pools of road salt waiting to be spilled over your automobile. The same may be true about post-storm puddles as the weather begins to warm up. To reduce your car's exposure to road salt, make it a habit to avoid these places (when it's safe).

Stay a Long Distance Behind Snow Ploughs

While it may be tempting to closely follow a snow plow in the hopes of driving on a clear road, your vehicle will almost certainly face copious volumes of road salt from the truck's backside spreader. What's worse, the granular form of road salt can inflict chips and nicks on your car's finish, especially when thrown from the plow.

Invest in a Postseason Detailing

Having your automobile detailed after the winter is a good technique to remove road salt and other paint surface buildups while avoiding rust damage. This is also another chance to check for post-winter damage.

Consider Additional Undercoating

While most modern vehicles have adequate undercoating, an older vehicle may require additional undercarriage protection. Over time, existing undercoating may have degraded or been ruined. Any work should be done by an expert to avoid applying new undercoating to a rusted surface (which would simply disguise the corrosion problem, not fix it).

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