Insurance and Finance

Protect Your Vehicle from Salty Roads

By James Mayfield 2.10.15

The salt and sand spread over icy roads immediately before or after a snowstorm may be a much-needed benefit for drivers, but it has its drawbacks. According to, taking a few simple precautions can help prevent that slushy mix from damaging your car.

Before the first snowflake hits the ground, head to the car wash and have your car waxed and sealed. Once you’ve driven in the mud and muck, use a high-pressure garden house to spray down your vehicle from top to bottom, paying close attention to the areas beneath the wheel wells, under the bumpers, and behind the fenders.

Then scrub down your vehicle using soap specifically designed for cars (dish soap will strip that new wax job) and a sponge or wash mitt as opposed to shop rag, which may be made with scratchy metal bits. If you’re dealing with a super salty mess, add two tablespoons of baking soda to the water to help with salt removal and neutralization. Remember that even the nonmetal components — wheel covers, tires, outside door seals, trim — need attention too. Rinse well.

Next, dry the doors inside and out, getting behind door handles and hinges, ensuring they don’t freeze in place. The same goes for the edges of the hood and trunk. Spray protectant on your mitt then thoroughly coat all exterior rubber and vinyl surfaces, carefully avoiding any painted surface.

Finally, coat all exposed metal with wax, using a hair dryer to heat the surface (and even your buffing cloth) to encourage the wax to adhere better.