Does road salt cause rust?

2016 Civic Ratings

Now that we are in the thick of winter, road salt is a necessary evil. 9 million tonnes of salt is used in Canada each winter to help melt ice quickly, and improve traction on the roads. The downside to this, is that road salt can cause and accelerate rust build up on your vehicle.

The corrosive nature of road salt is perfect for melting ice. However, the metal on your vehicle is also vulnerable to corrosion. The most commonly effected areas are the underbody, exhaust, muffler, coil springs, and subframe. The underbody of your vehicle is constantly in contact with road salt. Salty water from the melted ice will splash onto the underbody from the moving tires, and it is obviously difficult to see how much accumulates. Recently, the NHTSA also discovered that road salt corrosion was responsible for brake line failures on vehicles that had a history of driving on heavily salted roads. Over time, rust can eat right through a vehicle’s brake line, leaving the brakes ineffective.

The best way to prevent rust from salt, is to utilize a rust prevention method, and clean your vehicle regularly in the winter. A rust prevention method like an underbody spray, can be essential for protection from salt. Underbody sprays coat the bottom of your vehicle in a protective coating that prevents the salt from coming into direct contact with any metals. Additionally, washing your vehicle can help prevent the damage that occurs from salt build up.

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