Wintry driving conditions often bring piles of snow and slippery ice to local streets. Road salt protects drivers by lowering the freezing temperature of sleet and snow, but it also gradually wears away at your car. Salt's corrosive nature encourages the formation of rust, especially on the underside of a vehicle. Rather than watch your car develop rust spots and damaged parts, follow these steps to ensure it emerges relatively unscathed by springtime.
Repairing Chips and Scratches
The paint coating every car body shields the metal below from corrosion, but it only takes a small scratch for rust to take over. Before winter begins, take your vehicle into an auto service center to have it inspected for dents, nicks, and other small damages that could lead to a major rust problem. These can usually be fixed with a quick touch-up and will blend seamlessly into the existing paint.
Waxing, Sealing, and Rust-Proofing
While your car's being serviced, consider opting for a thorough wash followed by waxing or sealing. This adds another layer of defense to the exterior of the vehicle. Waxing is more common after a wash, but sealant lasts longer and provides a more durable coating, and it can also make your car look shinier. For extra protection, you might also opt for a rust-proofing treatment, which coats the underside of the vehicle as well.
Washing Your Car Regularly
After this initial wash and wax, be sure to wash your car regularly throughout winter. Salt builds up over time, especially in the nooks and crannies of a vehicle. By rinsing it off every week or two, you can prevent the harmful buildup from eating through your car's outer layers. Rinse off the tires and underside as well, and try to give the car time to dry off before freezing night-time temperatures descend.
Avoiding Salt Exposure While Driving
You can also minimize your car's salt exposure by driving with caution in the winter. Puddles, for example, tend to collect higher concentrations of road salt, so drive around them when possible. Steer clear of snow drifts, and try not to drive directly behind another vehicle when it's kicking up sleet. Of course, sometimes exposure to road salt is inevitable.
Checking Vulnerable Car Parts
Finally, bring your car in for service at the start and end of winter to check the status of its most vulnerable parts. These include the brakes, fuel lines, mufflers, and hydraulics. Repair and replace corroded parts quickly to prevent further damage or failures. If you aren't sure where to begin when it comes to protecting your car from road salt in winter, contact your local auto service center to find out more and schedule an appointment.