How Hard Is Road Salt on My Car?

December 31,2013

Most Michiganders are very thankful for the stretches of salt that coat our icy roads in the winter. Salt trucks work overtime to ensure as many roads as possible are navigable after the worst of weather. What we may not consider is the harmful effects salt can have on our vehicles throughout the season and even beyond.

Road Salt Damage

Road salt will eat away the paint on your car which leads to rusting on the frame and sometimes even the undercarriage. The effects of corrosive salt can take years to physically manifest, so you want to avoid buildup even in those areas that aren’t visible to the eye. The hidden salt buildups will eventually eat away at metal and after years become visible on the exterior of your car. Then it is too late to easily or inexpensively address. An auto repair service could help repair the damage, but depending on the extent could come with a large price tag.

Car washes in the winter are necessary and help prevent salt from building up, especially on spots you can’t see on your vehicle. Thoroughly washing and waxing your car in the fall is a great way to avoid salt buildup in the winter because it provides a protective layer throughout the season and makes it easier to remove the salt that accumulates in a Michigan winter.

Sealing your undercarriage is also recommended. Getting frequent car washes throughout winter will not only keep your car as salt-free as possible but will also help prevent it from getting into the engine and air filters which may cause bigger issues. Also check the bottoms of all doors and any edges – hood and trunk. Those and any other nooks and crannies need to be regularly cleaned and dried. Your car will “thank” you by remaining attractive and structurally intact.

Road salt is essential for safe driving in Michigan winters, and with regular cleaning and maintenance the salt will only help, not hurt, your car this winter.