The winter months can be harsh, something every northerner knows. During this timer, Mother Nature often graces us with a blanket of white powdery snow and low temperatures. And communities everywhere buckle down and prepare for harsh cold, bad commuting conditions, and frequent storms.
One of the primary defenses against these icy months is salt. Usually spread either in rock form, salting trucks traverse paved roads before and during every storm that passes overhead. Ever wonder whysalt is used? According to Volvo of North Miami (Miami, FL) a saltly water mix lowers water’s freezing point, and thus keeps ice from forming.
While salt protects you from slips and slides through your commutes, it does just the opposite for your vehicle, thanks to its corrosive effects. Rust (iron oxide) forms when moisture is left on exposed metal. Salt accelerates that oxidation process. Most vulnerable is your vehicle’s undercarriage, where metal is barely protected by a layer of paint or treatment shield.
So how can you protect your vehicle this season? There’s some preventative steps you can take before the bad weather really hits and after a storm to keep your vehicle safe from destructive rust.
Inspect and protect – A visual check of your car’s undercarriage by your mechanic can catch any hints of corrosion possibly already started. These spots of rust can then be treated to some undercoated to seal water out. You should also touch up any scratches your car’s paint may have so as to limit the metal you have exposed to the elements.
Layer up – Preventative treatments can be applied to your vehicle to protect from salt corrosion. First, your dealership or local mechanic shop can apply an oil solution to your vehicle’s undercarriage. Everyone’s heard of the natural repulsion water has to oil; this layer supplies a hydrophobic shield that prevents water from ever directly coming into contact with exposed metal. Second, you can undercoat the entire underside of your car. It is best to have this professionally done.
Time for a shower – Taking your vehicle through a car wash every month or so will wash off any build up of salt that’s clinging to your vehicle’s frame. After a good car washing, you should allow your vehicle to naturally dry outside. Your instinct may be to shelter your car in a warm garage, but lingering moisture in the air of a closed space can actually accelerate rusting.
This is a suggestion that applies to driving safety as well as preventing rust. Don’t venture out onto slushy or snowed roads unless you absolutely need to, and avoid areas of built up ice or puddles, as that is where snow plows will dump the most salt. Drive safe this season, and keep your car safe from rust.