Winter is the time of the year when many of us worry about the effect that the gritters’ de-icing salt will have on the bodywork of our cars. But need we be concerned today as we once were?
De-icing Salt Car Protection
It is certainly true that the chlorine ions found in de-icing salt (rock salt: sodium chloride) can react with metal and attack it, making it susceptible to rusting. However, whilst this was a common feature of cars manufactured in the 1970s for example, things have certainly changed for the better in the 21st Century. The quality if the steel used to manufacture cars today is vastly improved and therefore renders them less susceptible to attacks from the dangerous chemical elements found in de-icing salt.
Not only that, vehicles today are often manufactured with rust or corrosion resistant coatings, giving them even more protection against the damage that de-icing salt once used to inflict on car bodywork.
There are still other things that can be damaged severely by the use of de-icing salt, such as street furniture like metal benches as well as larger and more significant structures such as steel bridges and those made out of reinforced concrete. This makes the cleaning operation after a heavy snow and ice period even more important to prevent corrosion from the many tonnes of de-icing salt used over time. Whilst de-icing salt can help make the roads safe, which it does in a significant way across the world, it comes as no surprise that residue left on the roads should be cleaned away rather than being left to sit for considerable periods of time.
It is wise also, despite the better quality and anti-corrosive properties of the steel metal used by car manufacturers, to rinse off any excess salty deposits as soon as possible from bodywork, tyres and under wheel arches where protection against de-icing salt may not be as strong as elsewhere on the vehicle. It may not hurt your vehicle immediately, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.