Does road salt cause rust?

by | Jan 19, 2021

If you wondering if road salt can cause rust on your vehicle, the answer is yes. Salt brine is used an anti-icing agent mixed in with sand and used on most of our highways here in BC when temperatures dip below 3 degrees Celsius. Rock salt continues to be used in some areas, with environmental research continuing to push and develop alternatives such as Beet 55, a by-product of sugar beets. Added to this, is the salt we spread over private driveways and walkways to melt snow and ice. Salt carried inside vehicles from winter footwear will damage the interior of your car as well. Rubber car mats are an economical fast-fix for this problem. Even new vehicles can show signs of rust in three years or so, if not treated with sealants. It’s important to protect your vehicle against rust before it eats through the metal, compromising vehicle safety. Regular inspections are important, because rust can start under the vehicle and in small nooks that are hard to see.

Q: How can I protect my car from road salt?

A: Anti-rust sealants spayed on the underside of your vehicle contain tar, polymers or wax and permanent sealants are applied once to a clean, dry vehicle. You can have your car professionally sprayed, or do it yourself with a quick-dry undercoat that may need reapplication. If you decide to apply the undercoating yourself, please be aware of the safety hazards. Gear up, and read the labels carefully. Rubberized undercoating products usually offer the best protection for your vehicle’s undercarriage with the best sound proofing as a perk. Asphalt based undercoating is used for industry on heavy machinery, trucks and rec vehicles. Paraffin (wax) based sealants are economical and seep quickly into deep seams offering moderate protection against moisture and rust. The results of paraffin undercoating do not last long, and you may have to reapply every season, but it’s easy to apply. Polyurethane undercoating also works well by sealing unoxidized metal against rust but requires surface prep work before application. All surfaces should be clean and dry before any sealant application.

Fix Paint Chips

Check your vehicle body for paint chips often, as this is the first point of entry for rust once the protective layer is gone. Your new car probably came with a jar of fix-it paint to match your factory colour, but if not, paint is pretty common in most auto sections of any hardware store. Clean the patch first, dry it, then apply the paint in above zero temperatures to ensure proper drying.
Wash Your Car Frequently
One easy way to remove road salt is to wash your car frequently. However, try to wash your car in above zero temperatures when locks won’t freeze.
We invite you to call us and have your vehicle serviced, including rust proofing. We save you money by recommending preventative maintenance and use quality Napa parts for lasting repairs. We have two locations in Kamloops to serve you better, and remain open for business following precautionary measures to keep customers and staff safe. To make an appointment with our outstanding auto technicians, phone AutoPro Alignment & Maintenance on 2063 E Trans Canada Hwy – service advisor Nicole at: (250) 374-8787 or T & H AutoPro 130 Wilson Street – service advisor Gena Caputo at (250) 554-3444. We look forward to serving you.

Schedule an Appointment

Contact us to book an appointment with one of our friendly service advisers.