Why Does Salt Damage My Car During Winter Driving?

Salt has been used during winter to improve road conditions for decades. Due to its chemical properties, salt lowers the freezing temperature of water, which causes it to melt ice that it comes in contact with. Melting the ice on the roadways is essential to driver safety, but the salt can also be very damaging to your vehicle.

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Why Does Salt Damage my Vehicle?

Salt acts as a catalyst in the oxidizing reaction (rusting) that happens to exposed steel on your vehicle. This means that it will make rust form more quickly. Exposed metal from a scratch or scuff in the paint can rust in just as single winter - even if the vehicle is brand new. In older vehicles salt can penetrate the metal 'from the inside out', meaning it gets into the inside of doors and floor panels, and starts the rusting process there. Newer vehicles usually have paint in those hidden areas in order to protect against this.

How Can I Protect My Vehicle From Salt Damage?

Washing your vehicle regularly during the winter is the most effective way to proactively protect against rust and salt damage. The wash will rinse off your vehicle, keeping the metal salt free. Also, always ensure that your car is rust coated prior to the winter months, and that any paint scuffs or scrapes are repaired. 

Winter Washing Tips

Washing a vehicle in the winter time can bring its own set of complications. Hansma is here to solve these complications, and keep your vehicle in great condition.

When to Wash:

  • Wash vehicles every two weeks during the winter.
  • Wash vehicles if temperatures rise above freezing, as liquid water reacts more strongly then snow to cause rusting. If the snow starts melting, try your best to keep your vehicle clean of salt and water.

Washing Tips:

  • Wash vehicles during daytime hours, so it has an opportunity to dry off before the freezing night.
  • Immediately following the wash, open all of your doors and your trunk several times. This is to prevent them from becoming frozen shut.
  • Rinse off the undercarriage of your vehicle regularly. See if you can find a car wash that does this, or purchase a winter hose setup for your home and do it yourself. 

For more car maintenance tips and tricks, visit our blog!

 

Posted on September 18, 2014 .