The adage “out of sight, out of mind” can be detrimental in some situations, especially when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Unfortunately, many car owners only focus on what they can see when they clean their vehicles, and areas like the vehicle’s undercarriage remain neglected for far too long.
As winter nears, it’s essential for vehicle owners, fleet operators, and people who use vehicles for work to know how to prevent salt damage on cars. The salt used on the roads to prevent freezing and black ice can limit accidents on wintery roads, but it can cause corrosion on the undercarriages of vehicles of all sizes.
Why Is Salt Bad for Vehicles?
Ice on the road is hazardous. The public works departments throughout the country use a specialized type of salt to artificially create a lower freezing point for the water on the road, making it more difficult for ice to form. Although this is helpful when it comes to preventing accidents and keeping drivers safe on winter roads, salt is a naturally corrosive substance. Salt can eat through car paint if left unaddressed for too long. It can also cause rust to form on a vehicle’s undercarriage due to temperature changes.
If you drive home from work and park your car in your garage, the garage is probably a higher temperature than the outside temperature. The lingering slush on the bottom of your vehicle likely contains a high amount of salt from the road, and the melting ice and snow from the higher temperature will cause the salt to stick to your vehicle. The chemical interaction of water and air on a vehicle creates rust, and salt also speeds up the corrosion process. Car corrosion from salt is extremely damaging as well as difficult and expensive to repair.
Too many vehicle owners consider car corrosion from salt to be a cosmetic issue. They assume that the vehicle still operates fine, so the salt damage on the car only affects looks. The vehicle owners who believe this likely do not look closely at what road salt has done to the undercarriages of their vehicles. This damage left unaddressed for too long will eventually cause very serious problems for any vehicle.
Smaller vehicles with lower profiles are especially vulnerable because it is generally harder for owners to clean the undercarriages of low-profile cars. However, larger vehicles used for shipping tend to spend more time on the road, and salt corrosion can diminish the lifespan of their undercarriage systems, like brakes, axles, and wheel housings.
How Long Can Salt Stay on Your Car?
Ideally, vehicle owners should clean road salt off their vehicles as soon as possible. However, it is not always feasible or reasonable to expect to clean the salt off a car every day after every drive. At a bare minimum, vehicle owners should clean their vehicles thoroughly once per month. While doing so, they should ensure they clean the undercarriages of their cars to wash away any road salt deposits before they can corrode the wheels, brakes, and other systems located on the bottom of the vehicle.
Salt damage on car parts not only diminishes their performance but also shortens their lifespan and increases the risk of accidents. For example, salt can cause brakes to fail much faster than usual, potentially leading to life-threatening situations. Even if the brakes continue to perform up to expectations, damage from salt can dramatically cut the lifespan of a braking system and lead to more frequent repairs and replacements.
Why Cleaning Off Salt Is So Important
While exterior damage will make it appear as though you do not care about your car or are too negligent in worrying about cleaning it correctly, the real problem is underneath the vehicle, potentially endangering yourself as well as others on the road around you. Salt damage on the exterior may look bad, but salt damage to wheels and other essential parts of your vehicle are objectively dangerous issues.
Start a New Car Washing Routine with Cloud10 Car Wash
Private drivers, fleet owners, and car enthusiasts alike all need to know the right way to care for their vehicles. While a once-per-month cleaning routine is the bare minimum, cleaning a car thoroughly twice per month is the best way to maintain and prevent rusting, corrosion, and exterior damage to your vehicle from road salt. This is especially true in the winter months when it’s used more heavily, and temperature fluctuations are more common.
Cloud10 Car Wash offers car wash plans designed to keep your vehicle clean and save you money. Cleaning your vehicle twice a month is essential during the winter, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of snowfall where the roads are covered in salt regularly.
If you allow road salt to remain on your vehicle too long, you risk ruining not only your vehicle’s paint and exterior but also the vital systems that keep you safe on the road. Failing to clean your vehicles appropriately will lead to expensive repairs, increase your risk of accidents, and diminish the appearance.
Save Money and Protect Your Vehicle
When you purchase a Cloud10 Car Wash monthly plan and use it twice or more per month, you are actually saving money compared to the price of individual washes. You are also actively protecting your vehicle from salt corrosion, which will lead to more expensive repairs and part replacements for your vehicle.
If you own a vehicle or a fleet in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Connecticut and want to keep salt off your undercarriage and your vehicle as clean as possible, come to Cloud10 Car Wash and take advantage of the value of the car wash plan. When you consider how much you could save in terms of repair costs and the possible damage total of an accident caused by degraded parts, a car wash plan is a sound investment that helps keep your vehicle performing at optimal levels throughout the year.