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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Wevers

"So what does road salt REALLY do to my car anyway?"

You've asked so here's the science based answer (and why just rinsing won't help).

Look Familiar?

It's no secret that road salt is bad for your car. But when you hear "salt corrodes metal", that oversimplifies the chemical process. Here's WHY road salt sitting on, orin, your car is bad.

When salt crystals break down in water to sodium and chlorine ions, the ions create an effective electrolyte. Electrolytes are the key components of the corrosion (rusting) process. While water alone can act as an electrolyte, "salt water", or water that has salt crystals dissolved in it, is a powerful electrolyte which speeds up the corrosion process. Common road salts such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride create even more ions than traditional salts when dissolved in water, making for some very powerful electrolytes mixtures.

Add to that some road salts and blends are hygroscopic, meaning they attract moisture, or deliquescent, meaning the can attract so much water just from the air they dissolve into a brine.

As you drive through brine and salt water on the roads during winter, this electrolyte solution splashes over all surfaces of your car, getting into every crevice and crack (and then getting brought into the interior of your vehicle on shoes and boots). Once dried, the salt crystals will adhere to every surface they come in contact with.

You see salt covered cars all winter long. Removing this white, crusty, dried on salt can be quite difficult, as the bond is strong. Many people like to "hose the salt off", but that is only making the problem worse! Rinsing your car with just water re-starts the corrosion process. As you are rinsing the car, the water becomes contaminated with the salt, creating a new electrolyte mixture, driving this corrosive mixture deeper into your car's surfaces. Water alone, even with high pressure, is not enough to effectively remove salt and prevent corrosion from setting in.

Your vehicle is your second largest financial purchase (behind real estate) so let us help you protect your investment. Book a vehicle clean today!

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