Driving-Related Damage to Expect from Winter Salt

Posted By: Main Auto Body, Inc. | January 25, 2020

Salt Vehicle Damage

As the weather gets colder and rain turns to slush and ice, most municipalities treat roads with salt. This substance includes natural salt and additives to enhance performance and helps break down ice and stop slick surfaces. Salt improves traction and reduces the hazards of winter driving, but it can also do a number on your vehicle. Here, Main Auto Body, Inc. explores common winter salt vehicle damage and what can be done to protect your car season after season.

Body Rust

Driving on salted roads often leads to corrosion and rust patches on your car’s body. Your vehicle’s finish is made to withstand minor impacts, the elements, and more, but consistent contact with salt can eat away at paint over time. What’s more, even the smallest nicks and scratches allow salt to get beneath the car’s finish, where it quickly begins to form rust.

You might think that parking your car inside will help prevent the spread of rust since you’ll keep it off the streets and safely indoors. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Warmer temperatures inside your garage offer the perfect environment for the chemical reaction that causes rust. Soon, what began as a tiny imperfection may grow to a large patch of corrosion by the time winter is over.

Damage to Critical Systems

Body rust is bad enough, but winter salt vehicle damage can wreak havoc with your car’s most important systems as well. As you drive on salted roads, a constant stream of salty slush sprays your car’s undercarriage. This mixture coats the brakes, exhaust system, and suspension, creating the same rust you see on the vehicle’s body. Unfortunately, because these areas are hidden, you won’t know this corrosion is present unless you take a look beneath the vehicle.

When rust eats away at these components, the damage is more than cosmetic. For example, rust can diminish the performance of your shocks and suspension system, resulting in a bumpier ride. As corrosion spreads, you may notice unexpected movement when hitting a pothole or uneven pavement, difficulty steering, pulling to one side, or uneven tire wear that reduces traction. When combined with icy roads, these problems can make driving more stressful during the winter months and put you at risk for a collision.

How Can You Prevent Salt Vehicle Damage?

Avoiding road salt is nearly impossible – it’s important for safer roads, and we can’t stop driving just because it’s winter. To minimize salt vehicle damage, make sure to keep your distance from trucks dispensing salt and wash your car regularly, including an undercarriage spray. You can even pre-treat the undercarriage with an oil solution to keep salt away.

When it comes to protecting your car’s body, repairing any dings, scratches, or other damage to the finish is the best way to guard against corrosion. By restoring the surface integrity of the vehicle’s paint, you can keep salt out and guard against rust spots that make your car less attractive and diminish its value.

Get Expert Help for Winter Salt Vehicle Damage

Whether you’re concerned about existing rust and corrosion or want to repair damage and keep salt at bay, contact Main Auto Body, Inc. Our experienced auto body repair technicians can perform paintless dent repair to address any issues with your vehicle’s finish and restore body damage due to rust and winter salt exposure. To learn more, contact us online or visit one of our nine locations in Central and Northwest Oregon today.