Driving during the winter time can be dangerous, especially if you live or drive in an area of the country that receives a lot of snow and ice during the winter months. To help keep drivers safe, and to allow cars to gain traction in snow and icy driving conditions, many county and state DOT crews throw down slag, or road salt on top of pavement. This road salt is often transferred to the behicle being driven through snow or slush on the roads. By not properly protecting your car from the road salt, drivers are risking damage to their cars.
To avoid damange to your vehicle over time from road salt, you may want to consider these tips:
Wax your vehicle before winter sets in. It may seem curious to wax your vehicle during the winter, but by doing so, you'll actually be protecting your vehicle's finish. This will help maintain your vehicle's paint and coat of clear finish, and keep it looking nice and fresh.
Avoid driving through deep puddles, if possible. Large pools or puddles of water on the road can collect road salt over time. Each time you drive through puddles after roads have been salted, you may very well be driving through road salt, which splashes up on your vehicle when you drive through the water.
Keep your vehicle washed. During the winter season, it's important to wash your car every 10-12 days. By doing so, you'll be rinsing away road salt that is left on your vehicle after driving on salted roads. Road salt not only sticks to your vehicle, and makes it look dirty, the road salt can promote rust to your vehicle over time.
Try not to drive through deep snow. Driving through snow can definitely be dangerous, especially if you don't have proper tires on your vehicle, with good traction. Just as snow can collect and become compacted in your tire tread, it can become compacted in your vehicle's undercarriage, which can cause damage, contribute to corrosion, and can possibly lead to problems when driving.
Try to repair paint chips of cacks in your vehicle's coat. If road salt reaches an unprotected area of your vehicle's finish, it may lead to possible rusting. The best way to prevent this from happening to to repair chips with a finish pen or paint, and to keep your vehicle washed- especially if the temperature is reaching above 35 degrees.
If the temperature is near or below freezing, road salt doesn't pose too big of a threat, but it's when the temperatures rise that the threat of damage to your vehicle increases. Keeping your vehicle clean, and taking a few extra steps to protect its coat and finish before winter truly sets in, will help keep it in great condition, and will significantly reduce the threat of road salt damage over time.
Source: Arrigo Fiat of Sawgrass