How damaging is salt to your vehicle? - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

How damaging is salt to your vehicle?

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MARION -- Road salt is essential for safe winter driving but it can also lead to numerous car troubles. Experts warn salt can be extremely corrosive.
On top of that, there are other things we commonly do this time of year that can damage our vehicles.  

"You're behind people, they are throwing it on you. People are passing you and they are throwing it on you. The wheels are throwing it up on you the whole time," said Shane Kelley.  

Shane Kelley with Marion Collision Center says road salt won't just eat away at your car's paint. It'll also corrode important mechanical parts of the vehicle that lie underneath..

"Your break line, fuel lines, any suspension components, those are taking the first big hit," said Kelley. 

That's why Russel Ticer decided it was time to make a stop at Finsh Line Car Wash in Marion. He paid for the best wash they have to offer, so he could get the undercarriage clean. 

"I got one that does it all. Always do. You spend this much money on a vehicle, you want to keep it clean," said Ticer. 

Kelley recommends washing off the salt as frequenty as you can, IF you have a garage. He says if you don't, it can wait until temperatures get above freezing, that way your doors don't freeze shut. But he says come Spring, you want to take cleaning your car very seriously, and give it a good once over. Because road salt left in the wheel wells and frame can damage your car all year long, every time it rains.

"Once you get into rain it gets wet, then you've activated it again. It's salt, put some water on salt and see what it does. Its very corrosive," said Kelley. 

Kelley says it's also important to check your antifreeze this time of year, and let your car warm up before you start driving and not just for your comfort. 

"Allow all your fluids to heat up, get flowing and warmed up before you head off, it'll help the longevity of the vehicle," said Kelley.

Kelley also shared with News Three that after a winter event, they end up fixing a lot of scratches and dents because of people beating ice off of the car. He says you may not realize the damage you're causing, so be gentle on your vehicle.   

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