There are a lot of tradeoffs in life. As a society, we want to stay safe in the winter by de-icing the roads with salt, but have to accept the unintended consequences — people’s cars are damaged as the salt causes serious rusting.

Salt and “brine” (which is a mixture of salt, water and sometimes other elements) are great at melting ice cheaply and efficiently by lowering the melting point of precipitation from 32 degrees down to about 15 degrees. But to get this benefit, we have accepted that people will have to be aware of and protect their cars from rust damage.

Protecting your car from salt

While any part of your vehicle could be affected by rusting (at least any metal part), the undercarriage of the vehicle is especially in danger as salty water splashes up from the road. Parts like the muffler, fuel lines and brakes are common victims of salt-induced rust damage.

But this doesn’t have to happen to your car. There really is a simple solution — wash the salt off your car. In areas that have long winters with many snow storms, it may mean two car washes per week. Most areas will be fine with two a month during the winter, taking care to wash the vehicle immediately after the roads have cleared of snow, ice and salt.

Focus on the undercarriage

It cannot be emphasized enough that the real danger to the car from salt is to the undercarriage of the vehicle. Because this part of the car is not visible as you enter and exit your vehicle, it may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind, but be aware that rust is likely causing unseen damage if you ignore this part of the car.

During your weekly or bi-weekly car washes, try to find a good drive through wash that sprays the bottom of the car well. If you can get a wax coat to finish off the wash, even better. During the spring and summer, you likely don’t have to wash your car this often to protect it from salt, unless you live by the ocean, but in the winter, it really is necessary in order to ensure your vehicle stays in working condition.

Protecting your vehicle goes beyond avoiding rust

If you’re really serious about protecting your vehicle, not just from salt in the winter, but all year long, it’s vital to get the right car insurance. Winstead Insurance in Elkton, Maryland, is licensed to write policies in DE, PA, MD, NC and has been in business since 1956. Give us a call today at 410-398-6700 to get a quote on your vehicle insurance.