Mechanics warn salt on roads can damage underbody of cars; offer corrosion prevention advice

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – It’s no longer snowing in the Ozarks, but there’s salt all over the roads.

General Manager at Rick’s Automotive Tim Fess says salt can damage the underbody of your car quickly.

”Any exposed metal like steel or iron will rust and in the presence of moisture and salt, that corrosion process is quite accelerated,” Fess says.

The corrosion can eat away at the metal underneath the car, damaging parts of the car as it rusts.

In a salty environment, Fess says it happens ten times faster.

“It can occur literally in the matter of a day or so,” Fess says. “Once it starts, unfortunately like cancer, it’s very hard to reverse.”

Fess says it’ll cost more to repair.

“Having to remove nuts and bolts for regular routine maintenance can also be affected because now things that you could once remove have literally welded themselves together and they have to be sometimes cut off with a torch,” Fess says. “For instance to access a body frame out here or a battery cable connection right here. What appears to be a routine operation is quite a bit more complicated in the presence of corrosion and rust.”

Driver Keith Thompson says despite the fact it’s not snowing anymore, he sees a ton of salt on the roads.

“Especially when you’re on the highway it’s flinging up and hitting the car,” Thompson says. “It’s definitely beating up the bottom of that undercarriage.”

Fess says the best thing for car owners to do is rinse underneath their car.

“The car washes in the area have underbody rinses to prevent that salt build-up,” Fess says. “The more often you wash it, the less often you’ll have corrosion issues.”

That’s something Thompson tries to do in the winter months.

“Over time I know that cars on the coast rust underneath over time so you definitely have to spray it off afterward so it doesn’t rust,” Thompson says. “You gotta clean the top like the bottom. You don’t just brush the front of your teeth. You wash the whole thing.”

Fess says if you don’t take care of it early, there can be corrosion in between the layers of paint on your car, which leads to body damage on the car and more costs for drivers.

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Copyright 2022 KY3. All rights reserved.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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