If you're wondering, “can salt damage your car?” the short answer is yes. Therefore, you'd better wash your car after you drive on salty roads to prevent causing severe corrosion and damage to the bottom components.
Winter impacts our vehicles and driving in many different ways. Whenever we say the winter season is coming, many of us think about the slippery roads and the vehicle issues. However, the other thing that many of us might not think of is how bad salt could impact vehicles.
In this article, we will provide you with a detailed overview to answer the question, “can salt damage your car?” We will also provide you with some details about how to protect your vehicle from winter salt damage.
Finally, if your vehicle got damaged because of the salt, we will provide you with some expert opinion about whether it's worth fixing or selling your car.
Why is salt used for roads in winter?
Before we dig into the details about salt damage to your car, it is essential to understand why salt is used on roads in winter.
Salt is a very cheap chemical that has a powerful capability of lowering water freezing temperature and melting at very low degrees approaching 32 Fahrenheit.
Many cities worldwide that experience heavy snow invests significantly and prepare for winter by dumping larger quantities of salt on the roads. This is because salt is extremely effective in solving driving problems and preventing slippery roads. After all, it has a negative potential on the vehicle's health.
Can Salt damage your car?
Manufacturers are aware of the negative impacts of salt on vehicles. That's why they design a very strong protective layer on top of the vehicle's exterior to ensure that salt doesn't get into the metal components.
However, the bottom of the vehicle is some more concerning, where many of these valuable and important components sit. That's why Automotive Experts always recommend washing your vehicle after driving through a heavy snow day, especially when salt is spread on the roads.
Here are some of the negative consequences that salt could cause on your vehicle:
The biggest problem with dealing with salt when driving is that salt increases the chances of corrosion. Even if your vehicle is protected with a strong paint layer, there is still a chance for us all to get to your vehicle's metal components through any scratches or slide damages.
If your vehicle has minor corroded areas, you increase the chance of spreading the damage by driving your car on salty roads, which could significantly impact your vehicle's health.
Impacts your vehicle’s drivability
Since the bottom portion of your vehicle houses important components, severe salt can sometimes damage these components and create holes that allow fluid to leak outside the car.
If this situation continues and gets to a certain level, you won’t be able to drive your car for short distances.
reduce your vehicle’s value
If corrosion gets into your vehicle, it does not stop at one spot. Instead, it spreads like cancer and continues to damage the vehicle.
Once this happens, your vehicle’s value can get reduced significantly. Imagine if you try to post your vehicle on a classified website like eBay Motors or Craigslist; who would want to buy a rusted car?
Therefore, it’s critical for you as a driver to familiarize yourself with ways to protect your car from salt.
How to prevent salt damage?
Considering the severity of the damage as you drive on salty roads, you must understand all potential recommendations that could prevent salt damage.
While there are many tricks you can implement, Automotive Experts put together a list of things to consider as your planning for the winter season to prevent salt damage. Let's take a closer look below:
wax your vehicle
If you drive continuously on salty roads, you might want to think about investing in quick Wax. You add a layer of strength that protects your vehicle exterior from Salt damage by waxing your car.
Keep in mind that before you wax your vehicle, you should evaluate whether it’s worth it or not. For example, if your winter season doesn't have heavy snow, it might not be worth the investment in waxing your car.
Wash your car
Many drivers might think it’s fine not to wash the car during winter. This is because washing it will not make it look better because it will get dirtier. However, by washing your car, you prevent salt accumulations on the exterior. Therefore, you won’t give a chance for salt damage.
Wash your car immediately
It’s important to note that you don't only have to wash your car, but also, you need to wash it before slat dries out and before it starts impacting your vehicle. for example, removing the salt before it becomes more effective and harshly damages your car.
Timing matters when it comes to dealing with salt and cars. However, not every time can we wash our cars immediately after driving. Therefore, you’ll need to balance between how many times you can wash your car and the protection you want to provide your car when driving during the storm.
Never drive behind snow blowers.
The worst thing a driver would do is drive behind a snowblower. If there is a chance for some salt to get onto your car, the chances increase significantly as you drive behind a snowblower.
Not only about quantities but also about how much of your vehicles’ exterior gets exposed to the snow. For example, if you just drive on salty roads, there is a chance for salt to impact only the lower portions of your car. However, after driving behind a snowblower, more snow approaches the upper portions of your car, which might not be ready to deal with all this salt.
Avoid driving through puddles.
Even if the puddles might sound like only water, more salt is expected to accumulate in these puddles. As a result of driving through this puddle, a lot of water gets splashed all over your vehicle. Thus, more salt reaches your car and damages wider areas on your vehicle’s exterior.
Fix any minor chips
Sometimes no one would pay attention to minor chips on the vehicle’s exterior. However, these chips are perfect areas for salt to seep through and reach the vehicle’s frame. As you know by now, if salt approaches the metal frame, it leads to more severe damage.
Fixing these chips never costs you a lot of money. However, if you think about how much it will cost you to fix significant rust damages, you’ll think twice before heading to the winter season with paint scratches and chips.
Keep the tires clean.
The other thing to keep in mind in preparation for the winter season is to keep the tires clean. In most scenarios, tires pick up a lot of salt and allow it to seep through the rest of the vehicle. By cleaning the tires, you limit salt damaging your car.
Limit your driving before and after a snowstorm
As you might already know, salt is spread on the roads, typically before and after a snow storm. Therefore, you should prevent or limit driving during these times.
Otherwise, you wouldn't expect larger quantities to hit your vehicle’s exterior at different times. Note that the situation might be different depending on where you drive.
For example, if you’re frequently driving on the highways, your chances of dealing with salt are less frequent during all times other than the snow time because vehicles pick up some of the salt as they drive.
On the other hand, if you continuously drive on city roads, the chances are that you’ll pick up larger quantities of salt considering the limited number of vehicles driving on the same road.
Is it worth fixing salt damage?
It All Depends. Before deciding whether you should cell or fix your salt-damaged car, there are several factors to consider. Let's take a closer look at some of these factors:
the severity of the damage
As we indicated before, salt damage varies and depending on your vehicle's original status, the severity of the damage Depends. For example, if your car already had mine are down because of corrosion, this corrosion can spread fast as you drive on salty roads.
On the other hand, if your vehicle doesn't have major scratches and what you're noticing is just a couple of minor rust, you can take of this immediately and prevent it from spreading around the car. Thus, You'd better fix this car.
Sometimes, even if the damage looks severe, it might not be so bad. In other words, you're better evaluated based on what the mechanic tells you. If the mechanic confirms, you should focus on selling the car rather than wasting time, money, and effort.
Typically, most Automotive Experts recommend evaluating and checking in with her your repaired costs are approaching 75% or more from the value of your vehicle. If that's the case, it's a good situation to sell your car.
As you evaluate the repair costs, consider calculating the total repair costs. In other words, you should not only calculate the repair cost needed for fixing the salt damage. Instead, you should also account for other looks like a tire rotation or oil change.
you're intending for keeping the car
Before you put a huge investment in fixing salt damage, it's important to step back and re-evaluate whether you want to keep this vehicle for a long time. It's known that most car owners are expected to own the vehicle for about ten years. So if the vehicle has been with you for close to ten years, it might be the right time now to evaluate whether you want to keep this car or not.
If you confirm, it's time to upgrade to another vehicle; it might not be worth your investment in fixing the salt damage.
Dealing with the winter season can be extremely challenging, especially for new drivers worried about controlling the cars. However, there is a more challenging element that many of us should focus on, which is the impact of salt on our vehicles.
Many readers reached out to us, wondering whether salt can damage your car or not. Unfortunately, salt can have very extreme negative impacts on our vehicles, especially if we have rusted components already or have some scratches or damages in the exterior paint.
This article walked you through all the potential negative consequences of salt on your car. Then, it provided you with several tips to help you prevent salt damage during the winter season for the morrow. Finally, it highlighted what are you should fix or sell your salt-damaged car.
In general, experts recommend washing your vehicle immediately after a storm. Also, limit your driving immediately before and after a heavy snow event.
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