Don’t be salty! How to Avoid Winter Road Salt Damage

December 21, 2017

Welcome to winter, Cleveland.  People that aren’t used to snow think that it’s white.  In Northeast Ohio, we know that white snow becomes a grayish, blackish sludge that creates slippery roads, and let’s face it, it’s ugly to look at.  But it is our reality for several months out of the year.

To help combat the slippery conditions that snow and ice create, ODOT releases hundreds of crews each year to deploy our secret weapon against winter: Road Salt.  There’s no doubt that road salt makes things safer on the roads we travel each winter, but it also does damage to our cars which may reduce the resale value of your vehicle.

-Salt hides in places you don’t even see under your car’s chassis, and it can rust the underbody of your car.  It takes a while for this to happen, and the rust process is accelerated by changes in temperature.  So how can you help prevent it?

-If you don’t park in a garage, don’t sweat it.  Rust forms when moisture and oxygen combine on metal, so when the ice on your car thaws in a warm garage, that moisture starts to create rust.  The road salt accelerates the process.  No matter where you park, rust can affect every vehicle that comes in contact with road salt.

-Naturally, washing your car helps.  But if you can wax your car before the snow flies, the wax will give your car a better chance of surviving the effects of road salt unscathed.

-The more frequent the washes, the better.  If you can wash your car once a week as the snow flies, it is more likely that you will get all of those hidden spots addressed and you won’t have as much damage from the road salt.

-Avoid driving right before, during and after a storm. This is when all of the salt trucks are on the road spreading large amounts of salt. It’s also a good idea to leave plenty of room on the road for salt trucks.

-Address body damage early. If you notice any body damage, rust, chipping or scratches, it is best to address these issues before rust takes over and becomes an even bigger problem. Have your vehicle inspected by a respectable auto repair shop during a winter oil change to make sure there are no unwanted problems caused by rust and winter driving conditions.

Rad Air helps get your vehicle ready for winter!  We can’t stop the snow from coming, but we can make sure your tires, brakes, wiper blades and heater are all ready to take on the winter.  Schedule a winter vehicle maintenance visit today and let us get you ready for winter!