Keeping Your Car Rust Free

The winter months are harsh, that’s something every northerner knows.  From October to March, Mother Nature may grace us with a blanket of white as her season’s greetings, and communities everywhere have to buckle down through the winter’s harsh cold, bad commuting conditions, and amounting piles of snow along the roadsides.  One of the primary defenses against these icy months is salt spread either in rock or liquid saline form before and during every storm that passes overhead. This mixture lowers water’s freezing point, and mixing with the slush of the road prevents it from solidifying and encourages melting even as the air temperature may be well below freezing.  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 forms when moisture is left on exposed metal encouraging oxidation, and salt accelerates that process by eating through your vehicle’s wax and paint. Most vulnerable is your vehicle’s undercarriage, where metal is rarely 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!

Any indicator of wear and tear should be dealt with before it has a chance of getting worse this winter.  A visual check of your car’s underbelly by your mechanic can catch any hints of weak points or corrosion possibly already started to nip its progression in the bud.  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 also be applied to your vehicle to protect from salt corrosion, too.  Waxing your car will keep you paint safe from both salt and moisture, as it first needs to eat through the additional layer before reaching your car’s color.  Our tech consultant at Apple Valley Hyundai (Wincester, VA) notes that their dealership can apply an oil-based 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 your exposed metal elements.

Hit The Showers

Taking your vehicle through a car wash every month or after every storm will wash off any build up of salt that’s clinging to your vehicle’s frame.  A wash as soon as possible, particularly if your car was has an underbody spray, keeps your car clean and looking good against that obvious white dust that cakes onto cars in the winter.  Afterwards, you should allow your vehicle to naturally dry in the sun. Your instinct may be to shelter your car in a warm garage, but lingering moisture in the air of a closed space can still affect metal.  The winter dry air might be bad for our skin, but it’s great for keeping your car protected.

Driving smart is your best bet for making your car’s metal last for years to come.  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 salt rust year after year!

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