Although we enjoyed a warmer-than-normal December, don’t get too excited. January is here now, and weather experts have predicted that it’s going to get downright chilly outside. Once the temperature drops, that means snow and ice are likely on the way, and anticipation of inclement weather always brings out the salt truck crews who work to coat roadways with salt before, after, and during winter storms.
We might hate the stains it leaves on our cars, but road salt helps save a lot of lives each winter. In fact, the use of road salt has been shown to reduce collisions by up to 88 percent and injuries by 85 percent, according to the American Highway Users Alliance, so it’s no wonder we see our roads covered with layers of salt throughout the winter months.
While road salt is certainly a benefit when it comes to safe winter driving, the downside is that it can wreak havoc on your vehicle. Read on to learn about how to protect your vehicle from road salt and some precautions you can take against it.
Road Salt’s No. 1 Hazard for Cars: Corrosion
“The biggest threat salt poses to a vehicle is rust, which is accelerated by repeated exposure to salt,” according to Kristen Rodman in an article for AccuWeather.com. “Rust on certain parts of a car can create a slew of problems ranging from hydraulic brake system leaks to subframe damage.” Road salt is extremely corrosive and can cause major rust damage to both the exterior of a vehicle and its undercarriage. The latter is particularly vulnerable to damage, though it may not be easy to detect visually.
If not addressed in a timely manner, road salt and other elements that get sprayed up into the undercarriage during driving can build up on important parts of a vehicle. This is an especially important concern for those who park their vehicles in garages after driving on salt-treated roads, as doing so “allows the ice, snow, and salt from the roadways to sit underneath the car and rot away at the car’s under components,” Rodman writes. “This rotting or corrosion can harm the car’s exhaust and muffler systems, coil springs, and the frame of the car.”
Vehicle damage caused by road salt should not be taken lightly. Drivers who notice possible problems should consult an automotive professional immediately.
Here in the Martinsburg and Inwood area, there’s no way to avoid getting your vehicle covered in road salt during the winter, but there are ways to prevent the damage it can cause.
How to protect your vehicle from road salt:
- Wash your car frequently during winter months, paying special attention to the undercarriage.
- Wax your vehicle, and then apply a wax sealant for optimum protection.
- Seal your undercarriage as well.
- Talk to an automotive professional about sealants and other precautions against road salt damage.
- Avoid driving through deep snow, which can get packed into the undercarriage.
As you can see, with a bit of planning and by ensuring that your vehicle is properly cared for, you can avoid common car woes caused by road salt in the winter.
While you’re in vehicle maintenance mode, consider upgrading your auto insurance coverage to better protect yourself against mishaps caused by wintry weather conditions. Give us a call today at 304-263-3361.
Photo Credit: Road Salt. Licensed under CC BY 2.o.