Ways to Prevent Rust From Road Salt

March 5, 2024

Road salt helps keep us safe as we travel local roads and highways in poor weather conditions—but it sure can do a number on our vehicles. Salt is used because it lowers the water’s freezing point, melting any ice that has formed and preventing further ice buildup. Unfortunately, salt can cause corrosion and rust on your vehicle, particularly on your car’s exposed undercarriage.

While we’re nearing the end of winter in Northeast Ohio, it can be helpful to file these prevention tips away for next season to avoid any future salt damage.

• Wash your car after a snow storm.
This may seem obvious, but it does help to wash the salt off of your car as soon as possible. Sometimes we think it isn’t worth it to wash our car in the middle of winter; after all, it will just get dirty again, right? Post-snow storm washes aren’t really for cosmetic reasons; they are preventative care for your car. Don’t forget to spray the undercarriage!


• Stick to a regular car wash schedule.
Even when there isn’t a major snow storm event, road salt is still used to prevent ice buildup on roads and in parking lots. Try to wash your car every 2 weeks, at the least—and take advantage of days when the temperature is above 40 degrees as prime opportunities for a wash.


• Try not to follow the plow.
That moment when you find yourself driving directly behind a plow is the worst. You’re probably cringing as you hear the salt pinging against your car. If you have the option, change course to avoid being directly behind the plow.


• On that note, steer clear of puddles.
Salt tends to collect in pools of standing water, so when you can, avoid giving your car a “salt bath” by driving through a puddle.


• Wax your car before winter.
Wax is a great way to give your car a strong protective coating against road salt.


• Get a seasonal car inspection.
A certified auto technician can identify areas of wear and tear before the winter season, helping you take steps to prevent further rust buildup and corrosion once the snow and ice arrive.

We hope these tips help you prevent the rust and corrosion that can occur when a car owner doesn’t take any action to remove or avoid road salt buildup. Let us know if you have any questions!