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How To Keep Road Salt From Eating Your Car

How To Keep Road Salt From Eating Your Car

In some parts of the country road salt and brine are a normal part of life. Road salt is elegantly efficient at the job of controlling ice and snow on streets, but it is also efficient at causing corrosion on vehicles. Road salt gets mixed into wintery slush and then splattered all along the lower parts of vehicles. When you get road salt on car parts and allow it to sit, that’s when trouble begins. It is important to remove salt from car, truck, and SUV surfaces before it can take hold and cause damage. When looking at how to neutralize road salt on car parts you only need the right tools and supplies. Here’s how to remove road salt from car, truck, and SUV surfaces.

How to Remove Salt from Car Carpet

Even if you have good floor mats there is always the possibility that slush and road salt will make their way onto your interior carpet. The first step in how to remove salt stains from car carpet is to grab your vacuum. Get up as much of the salt crystals while they are dry. Next take a spray bottle and mix together equal parts white vinegar and warm water. The water/vinegar mixture makes it easier to remove salt from car carpet by breaking it down. Working in small areas give the salt stained carpet a good soaking with the water/vinegar mixture and let it sit for a minute. Now take a plastic bristle brush and scrub the stained area to work in the water/vinegar mixture and further loosen any salt. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the water/vinegar mixture. You may need to repeat the process several times to fully remove the salt stains. The final step for how to get rid of road salt on car carpet is to give the carpet a thorough vacuum with the wet/dry vacuum so there is no liquid left behind.

How to Remove Salt from Car Paint

Your best bet for removing road salt from car paint during the winter is your local car wash. Find a touchless car wash and use it often during the winter months. While it is possible to wash your car at home, when the temperatures are hovering near freezing the idea of cold wet hands isn’t so fun. Running your car through the wash every two weeks (or sooner if it is really nasty) will help prevent road salt from eating your car.

If you do have a warm snap and want to wash your car at home, take the time to wash it properly to make the most of your lucky weather. Pay special attention to using the two-bucket washing method so you aren’t putting grit back on your paint. Regardless of which method you choose, road salt on car paint needs to be removed before it has a chance to reach the metal body panels. Plus it never hurts to have a clean, nice looking car.

How to Remove Salt from UnderneathSnow plows

The underside if your vehicle is filled with nearly endless nooks and crannies where road salt can accumulate. One of the main effects of road salt on cars is a crumbling underside. Your best bet for how to clean salt off bottom of car components is your local car wash again. You want to select the undercarriage wash option to get salt that is clinging to your chassis and other undercar parts. This kind of wash will reach into the areas where road salt can accumulate without driving it any further into hidden areas. Something like a pressure washer will technically get the underside of your car clean, but the extreme water pressure can also force the salty mixture deep into crevices, which is the absolute last thing you want. 

Preventing Road Salt Damage

Keeping road salt from ever touching your vehicle’s metal is the most basic form of protection. Before winter settles in give your car a good wash followed by a fresh coat of wax. If you have any paint scratches use a touch-up pen to seal them so salt can’t take hold. You can also opt to have your vehicle treated with a rustproofing material. These compounds are applied to the underside of the vehicle and prevent salt from contacting metal body parts.

Check out all the products for cleaning your car available on NAPAOnline, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA Auto Care locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about how to remove salt from car carpet,the effects of road salt corrosion on cars, and how to neutralize road salt on car parts, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Brian Medford View All

With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of his many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.

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