How to Prevent Rock Salt from Damaging Your Car This Winter
As temperatures continue to dip, road crews will soon be sprinkling roads and highways with rock salt. This salt, also called halite, is used to lower the freezing point of water, which prevents ice from forming and keeps our roads safe to drive on.
Unfortunately, while rock salt is necessary for maintaining safe driving conditions, it can also cause severe damage when it makes contact with our vehicles. This is because rock salt creates a chemical reaction that can corrode your vehicle. In particular, your brake and fuel lines are especially at risk due to their proximity to the undercarriage. Damage caused by rock salt can lead to expensive repairs down the line as parts become corroded and useless.
In order to protect your car against this corrosion and avoid costly repair fees, it is important to take certain preventative measures this winter.
1. Winterize your car early.
In the fall, wash your car and apply a layer of high-quality wax. The wax creates a barrier between your car and the elements, preventing snow, salt, and other debris from sticking to it. Remember that the wax will slowly deteriorate over time, so you should reapply the wax several times through the winter.
2. Wash your car regularly.
Make it a point to take your vehicle to the car wash frequently this winter, especially after driving on salted roads. By thoroughly washing your car, particularly the undercarriage, you will rinse any trapped rock salt off the metal and prevent rust and erosion. Make sure to only wash your car during the day to give it time to dry before nightfall.
3. Avoid driving before and after snowstorms.
Road crews lay fresh road salt before a large snowstorm is expected to hit and again after the storm has ended. Driving during these times puts you at risk of excess salt sticking to the car’s undercarriage.
4. Don’t drive across snow-covered roads.
Driving through the snow can pack road salt deep into the undercarriage where it is difficult to remove. If there is deep snow on the road or in your driveway, wait for it to be plowed or find an alternate route. Driving across snow-covered roads is extremely dangerous and can lead to your car getting stuck, leaving you stranded and potentially causing a life-threatening emergency.
5. Fix any minor damage prior to wintertime.
Before winter sets in, take your car to the shop and have it inspected. You will want to ensure that any deep scratches, chips or rust spots are repaired before the first big freeze. Having this minor damage fixed before wintertime prevents water, dirt and rock salt from reaching the metal and forming rust, which can lead to a more expensive repair bill if not promptly dealt with.
Corrosion caused by rock salt can cause extensive damage to your vehicle this winter. However, by following these five tips, you can reduce your risk of rock salt damage. As you prepare your car for winter, take time to reach out to an independent insurance agent for a review of your auto coverage before you must navigate potentially dangerous winter roads.