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Road crews share how road salt may damage vehicles

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ST. LOUIS – As temperatures start to rise, drivers will have to deal with getting salt off their cars. Crews put down salt to tackle the hazardous driving conditions that winter weather can impose, but it can damage your car.

When it’s not serving a purpose, salt is more than just an eyesore. It can get on your your clothes and hands, and it can also do damage to your vehicle It’s been on the roads for weeks and salt can leave nicks, dents, and scratches on your car. While it helps melt some of the ice and keep drivers safe, when the ice is gone, it leaves a mess.

It isn’t just the appearance you should be worried about. Water from the ice and snow can lead to rust, and the salt will make it worse. They can also lead to the corrosion of brake and fuel lines.


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According to AAA, Americans spend billions each year on car repairs to fix rust damage from de-icers. Oskar Walther has been a car mechanic for nearly a decade. He says winter driving can lead to expensive repairs.

“Rust can form within 10 minutes of exposure and salt will just make that tenfold,” Walther explained. “I’ve seen whole subframes just swinging and dangling and they were just all completely rusted out.

“Yeah, it is getting everywhere but I never thought about how it would affect my car mechanically,” driver Layla Vasquez said.

So, when should you go to the car wash? Car experts say getting the salt off as soon as possible is the best way to prevent damage.

The salt is serving a purpose, though and until the snow melts away, the nuissance is worth the benefits. There’s rain in the forecast this week to hopefully wash that salt away as we warm up.

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