Automotive Fun Fact: For the Love of Salt

January 19, 2012

An estimated 10 million tons of salt are spread over U.S. roads each year.

One piece of salt quickly begins to melt fresh snow on the road.

There are a variety of chemicals and products used to clear roadways of snow and ice, but good ‘ole sodium chloride is the most popular choice due to it’s affordability and success.

Salt did not become the preferred choice for clearing roads until the 1940s. Prior to this time, cities and states used sand or cinders and relied on plowing to keep drivers safe. As the highway system expanded, the purchase of salt skyrocketed as many states and cities adopted road salt policies.

Today, one ton of salt costs approximately $30. Although salt is relatively inexpensive, states try to regulate it’s use to prevent waste. Most salt is used in the Midwest which accounts for 35% of salt sales. No wonder it is so important to wash your car!

Salt is an excellent de-icer, but it’s important to understand how salt effects your vehicle. Salt speeds corrosion, which can lead to breakdowns. Thankfully, preventing corrosion (and a trip to the car repair shop) is simple. Wash your car once a month and wax at least twice a year to avoid seeing a car mechanic!