How is Salt Bad For Your Car’s Paint?

Road Salt Can Cause Rust on Your Car

Good question. We have all heard that road salt that is used in winter months is bad for your car’s paint, but is it really?

What is Road Salt?

Road salt is used to create a lower freezing temperature on road surfaces, leading to less ice on roadways. What you normally see on the roads is a mixture of salt and sand. The salt does the work of keeping freezing temperatures down on the road, while the sand helps keep the salt in place and adds a little traction.

So is Road Salt it Bad For My Car?

Salt is corrosive, this means that it can eat through your paint over time. If left unattended, salt could lead to paint damage and rust on your undercarriage over time. You should also know that salt and warm temperatures do not go well together. Yes, salt is bad for your vehicle.

“If you park your car in a warm garage and the ice on it melts, you are at higher risk that salt is going to damage your car. Rust forms when moisture and oxygen combine on metal, and salt accelerates that process because it corrodes.

The idea of a car coming in and out of a warm environment is great for the driver, it’s great on motor and transmission, however on the body it is more difficult,” said Matt Feehan, President of American Auto Body in Brooklyn Park.

What’s the Solution?

Road Salt Can Cause Rust on Your Car

Have Your Car Protected – You should have your vehicle’s paint protected in the beginning of the winter months with a nice coat of wax or sealant. Going a step further and having a permanent coating installed is even better. This will ensure the you have a layer of protection between your paint and the corrosive salt.

Wash Your Car Monthly – This is the minimum you should wash your vehicle when salt has gotten onto it. Be sure to stay away from drive through car washes with brushes since they scratch your paint. You also want to make sure that your undercarriage gets a nice cleaning so the salt doesn’t hide in there and cause rust over time. We recommend you use self service car washes, touchless car washes, or have a professional take care of the vehicle for you. Be sure to rinse the salt off before you make contact with the vehicle, since the salt can scratch the paint if your a trying to wash the car with the salt on it.

If you do these two simple steps, your car will be in much better condition overtime and you can combat the corrosion of salt that devalues your car is left unattended. Hope that helps! Let me know in the comments below, what have been your experiences with road salt?

Image courtesy of HinghamWeather