ATC Blog

How to Protect your Car from Road Salt

How to protect your carThe winter season brings snowy and icy roads that increase the chances of slipping and sliding while you’re driving. Unfortunately for your vehicle, one of the only solutions for this problem is spreading rock salt on the roadways to melt the ice for safer traveling. While the rock salt increases your overall safety when driving in wintry conditions, it can cause significant damage to your car.

When the salt clings to the underbody of your vehicle, it can potentially cause rust and corrosion to valuable parts. It can potentially eat away at your car’s metal parts as well as get stuck in hidden parts of your car that you wouldn’t know to check. The most common vehicle parts damaged by road salt are your exhaust, muffler, coil springs, and frame. This rust and corrosion can eventually affect the overall operation of your vehicle.

(Learn about the future of automotive collision repair here)

Below we’re provided some tips for protecting your car from the effects of road salt during this and future winter seasons.

Wash Your Car

Washing your vehicle is one of the best ways to get rid of the salt buildup underneath it. It’s also probably the only way to get rid of the salt that builds up in the hidden places underneath your car. During the winter months, try to wash your car at least every 10 days. Wash it during the day to avoid any freezing that can occur during the colder temperatures at night.

Tips to avoid road salt damage

Avoid the Salt

Driving over salt can be inevitable, but there are some ways to prevent salt buildup. Avoid driving through deep snow since it can hold hidden salt and really pack it deep into the undercarriage of your car. Salt also collects in large puddles, so if it’s possible, steer around them when you’re out on the road.

Wax Your Car

It’s important to wax your vehicle before the winter months begin because doing this will help prevent salt from sticking to your car and subsequently causing corrosion. You should periodically reapply the wax to your vehicle during the winter months to ensure continued salt protection for your vehicle.

how to avoid road salt damageSeal Your Undercarriage

Since the undercarriage is the part of your vehicle that’s most vulnerable to salt damage, it should be your top priority to protect it. Before the winter even begins, you can apply an undercarriage seal that will deflect salt and prevent it from accumulating and sticking under your vehicle for a long time, which is the leading cause of rust and corrosion. This seal can be applied at home or it can be done by a professional to ensure it’s applied correctly.

Your car is one of the biggest investments you will make, so keeping it safe and working properly is extremely important. Follow these steps so you can protect your vehicle and avoid salt damage this winter.

If you’re looking for some more automotive tips, you can download our free ebook The Car Lover’s Guide to Automotive Pearl Paint.


For program disclosure information, please go to www.autotraining.edu/consumer-information.

2 thoughts on “How to Protect your Car from Road Salt

  1. jan

    i had a rocksalt bag in my trunk and think it was unadverdtly punctured. i think it leaked and now when i get in my car it smells like something died in it. i clean car out got rid of salt and car still smells. is the smell from the rock salt?

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