What Does Road Salt Do to Car Paint?

It’s hard to avoid road salt in the winter, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of ice and snow. Road salt works by lowering water’s freezing point. When it’s sprinkled on patches of ice, it helps melt the ice and reduce slipperiness on roads, sidewalks and driveways. Unfortunately, road salt is also highly corrosive. If you don’t take steps to protect your vehicle, salt can cause rust to develop on the undercarriage. It can also cause paint damage to any area exposed to it. Just as you protect your vehicle’s interior by putting up a custom windshield sun shade on hot days, you should also take steps to protect your car’s exterior from salt damage.

How Salt Damages Paint

Most people buy dash covers for trucks, but don’t give a second thought to how salt is affecting their vehicle’s paint. When you drive on salt-treated roads in the winter, some of the salt inevitably splashes up on your vehicle. It leaves a white residue behind, which many people mistake for harmless slush. Unfortunately, if the residue is left on your vehicle, it starts to eat away at the paint.

Cover Your Vehicle

You may think your vehicle is safe if you keep it parked in your driveway for the winter, but even then, salty water from passing vehicles can splash up onto your car. For maximum protection, you should keep any parked or stored car protected with a fleece lined waterproof car cover. This type of cover keeps moisture from snow, ice and salty slush from damaging your paint job. It also protects your car from other damage the elements might cause.

Wipe Your Car Down

Anytime you drive on salt-covered roads, it’s important to wipe your vehicle down with a clean, microfiber cloth when you park it. This is especially true if you’re parking your car in a warm environment, such as a covered garage. When the salt-sprinkled ice on your car starts to melt as you enter a warmer environment, the salt can do even more damage to your car than it would in a cold environment. Keep this from happening by removing all traces of salt as soon as possible.

Add Wax To Your Car

When winter first hits, it’s wise to protect your vehicle’s paint by adding a thick coat of sealant or wax. You can even install a permanent coating that will keep corrosive salt from damaging your paint. Using a waterproof car cover can protect your vehicle when it’s parked, but you’ll still need extra protection if you plan to take your vehicle out on the road. Even after the ice has melted, salt can remain on the road’s surface for weeks. An extra layer of wax provides a great buffer between your car’s paint and road salt.

In addition to taking these steps, you should also wash your car regularly, no matter what the weather is like. Washing your car will remove any salt that has adhered to the paint. To avoid scratches from drive-through car wash brushes, use self-service car washes to clean your vehicle. Don’t forget to also protect your car’s interior with a quality custom windshield sun shade.