Road salt can damage your vehicle

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — City crews stayed busy treating roads Thursday morning and continuing into this morning.

As drivers head out on the roads, they will notice roads treated with a salt and sand mixture.

Crews use salt on roads because it melts ice even if the air temperature is below freezing. Crews also use sand because it keeps the salt in place and adds traction to wet roads.

While treating roads helps drivers travel safely, it has drawbacks.

A vehicle’s undercarriage is the area most at risk.

“Brake parts, fuel lines, body mounts,” said Jerry Huerter, owner of Overland Park Automotive. “Salt gets stuck up in around them and over the years will corrode them and rust them out.”

However, Huerter said it’s more concerning that the first to give out is usually the braking system.

“Brake rotors, brake calipers, if the calipers rust they don`t operate properly. It will prematurely wear your brakes out,” said Huerter. “The brake lines, if they rust through, they could lead to a leak and you could lose your braking ability and wouldn`t be able to stop.”

Repairs to a braking system could cost thousands, he said.

While drivers can’t avoid treated roads, there are a few things they could do beforehand to prevent the road salt from damaging the car.

Ways to prevent damage

  • Wash your vehicle after a snow storm to get the salt off. Choose a drive-through car wash or hand-wash that sprays under the vehicle.
  • Before the next winter storm comes, wax your vehicle.
  • Avoid puddles and plow trucks. Puddles hold large amounts of salt, and driving behind a plow truck means you’ll drive through a fresh layer of salt.
  • Get your car inspected to make sure there’s no wear and tear.

More information can be found on the DMV website.