5 ways to protect your car from road salt

Posted on Monday, March 2, 2015

5 ways to protect your car from road salt

South of the border, New England has gotten pounded with snow. In Boston, for example, as of Feb. 26, more than 100 inches have fallen in Massachusetts' capital city, putting this winter as the second-largest year for total snowfall, according to local weather reports.

No matter where you are, eight feet of snow is an awful lot. But in Canada, these totals can be fairly typical in a number of different provinces. In London, Ontario, for example, 76.5 inches is what the region typically sees in overall snow accumulation, according to Environment Canada, and in Moncton, New Brunswick, 111 inches is the annual average amount.

So you can only imagine the amount of road salt that highway crews use each year to melt Canada's streets of ice and snow. Based on data from Statistics Canada, an estimated 5 million tons of road salt is used annually.

That's an awful lot, and unfortunately, much of what's leftover gets lodged in the various nooks and crannies of passenger cars and trucks. This can lead to corrosion, which can cause the exterior of cars to rust prematurely.

Though you may not be able to do anything about how much salt is used or how Mother Nature cooperates, there are ways of protecting your vehicle from the harsh effects of road salt. Wheels.ca has some recommendations:

1. Use rust-proofing spray
The advancements in technology have enabled vehicles to be more resistant to rusting, which typically occurs due to the age of cars combined with weather conditions. There are some exterior products that you can apply to your car to improve its resilience to road salt. Wheels.ca noted that the best rust-proofing sprays are the kinds that are mineral oil-based.

"Oil-based sprays displace moisture and can be applied to a wet surface," Wheels.ca reported. "This, combined with a thicker gel type oil for the underbody, wheel wells and rocker panels, will provide optimum protection against road salt."

It noted that in addition to the body of cars, rust proofing oil also protects electrical components from corroding.

2. Have car professionally serviced
Detailing companies are great to take advantage of to get the interior of your vehicle spick and span, looking like crumbs or dirt has never graced the inside. But there are also services that can make the exterior of your vehicle virtually impenetrable to the dirtying effects of rust. Wheels.ca said Rust Check and Krown specialize in rust proofing.

3. Take care of dings, scratches promptly
If your vehicle has already been victimized by scratches that kicked-up road salt results in, it's important to prevent chips and dings from worsening. You should be able to find touch-up paint at most automotive product stores in a color that matches your car's exterior. Paint improves both the aesthetic quality of your car and also helps stave off rusting when the body of your car is exposed to the air and the elements.

4. Purchase customized floor mats
The interior of your car can take a real beating when there's road salt all over the place. Salt also lines driveways, so it's bound to get stuck in the grooves of your shoes' soles. Rubber car mats help keep your car's original floor mats looking as good as new. These can be placed over your mats or serve as a temporary replacement.

5. Get a car wash
Having your car washed can seem like an exercise in futility, seeing as how the dirt on the roads gets kicked up and covers cars moments after getting cleaned. But it's a good idea to have your car washed every couple of weeks to clear out the salt that gets trapped in the underbody and wheel wells, among other components.

Wheels.ca has a few other additional tips to fend off road salt this winter.


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