It’s common knowledge that snow and icy road conditions can cause car accidents. That is also why salt is used on the roads, since it helps to melt snow and ice, but it also provides some extra traction when combined with sand.
That is why washing your car in the midst of winter is important aside from it looking clean, but also in order to remove the salt that accumulates. Cleaning road salt from your car’s surface is the best practice to help prevent rust damage. Brake lines are typically another of the areas affected, so having them checked frequently is important.
Road salt is good for having roads in drivable condition in the winter as it lowers the freezing point of water. It chemically turns that ice back into water so that the car tires can then reach the pavement for traction, instead of just sliding on top of the ice.
While road salt is imminent to safe winter driving, it is also extremely corrosive and over time it can cause extensive damage to vehicles.
The biggest threat salt poses to a vehicle is rust, which is accelerated by repeated exposure to salt. Rust on certain parts of a car can create a slew of problems ranging from hydraulic brake system leaks to subframe damage.
Due to the construction of a vehicle with most of the underbody being wide open, most salt damage occurs underneath the car and as a result can be difficult to detect visually.
After driving on salt treated roads, many drivers then pull their vehicles into a garage, which allows the ice, snow and salt from the roadways to sit underneath the car and rot away at the car’s under components. This rotting or corrosion can harm the car’s exhaust and muffler systems, coil springs and the frame of the car.
The necessity of road salt makes it hard to avoid these issues but visiting a car wash frequently during the winter months can help you battle salt’s detrimental effects.
Vehicles can also be taken to a collision shop prior to the winter season to have their vehicles pre-treated with an oil solution under-spray to help fight winter road salt damage.
As driving on road salt is fairly common during the winter months, you should be aware of potential damage and never drive a vehicle with a red brake warning light on. This light indicates a low fluid condition and can lead to severe consequences if driven without immediate consultation.
What can you do to fight road salt car damage?
1) Wash your car as soon as possible after each snow or ice storm. At maximum every 10 days.
2) Wash your car when temperatures reach 4°C or higher.
3) Washing your car in daylight hours gives it a better chance of completely drying before temperatures drop at night time.
4) Open and close all the doors, hatch and trunk after washing your car, and lock and unlock doors multiple times. This should be done as soon as possible to prevent freezing shut.
5) Avoid driving in deep snow – it packs against the bottom of the car. This can contribute to rusting and cause driving hazards.
While all damages are not necessarily visible, the best way to ensure that a vehicle is and will continue to function properly is to have it checked by a professional before the winter season or whenever it is also due for an oil change.
We can help you with that! Come to our repair shops in Hamilton and Oakville!