How to Prevent Road Salt Rust

Road salt.  It may be great for melting ice and snow, but it can also easily damage your vehicle.  Usually, a sand and salt mixture is used.  Salt lowers water’s freezing point, which causes the ice to melt regardless of below freezing temperatures.  Since your vehicle’s undercarriage is completely exposed, the parts there are at the most risk for damage.  Here are four ways to help keep your vehicle clean and free from road salt rust.

  • Wax your car before winter.  Giving your car a good coat of wax before the snow season helps prevent paint deterioration.  Puddles and plow trucks hold concentrated areas of salt that are likely to splash up onto your vehicle.  The wax gives you a layer of protection.
  • Pretreat your vehicle’s undercarriage with a specialized oil solution to help prevent salt and water from sticking to your vehicle’s metal parts.  Collision and auto part shops usually carry a selection.
  • Speaking of water, wash your vehicle after a snow and/or ice storm.  Don’t let the salt sit.  Choose a drive-through car wash or a hand wash that sprays under the vehicle.
  •  Get a pre-winter inspection from a trusted mechanic. Any indicator of wear and tear should be addressed before the temperatures drop.
  • Lastly, watch for warning signs.  Modern cars are pretty good at letting us know something is off.  If you see a red “brake warning” light on your dash, do not drive your vehicle. Have your car towed to your mechanic immediately and have your brake system inspected.

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