How Can I Prevent Salt Damage to My Car?

It’s that season again where the gritters are out spreading grit to keep roads and motorways useable when the temperature dips below freezing. It’s a really important safety feature, reducing accidents and maintaining the flow of traffic, but did you know the salt in the grit is actually damaging your car?

Salt on the road in winter

What is the grit being spread on roads?

Whether it’s from the yellow bins at the roadside you often see near schools, or from the large trucks which roam the roads at night or in the early morning, the grit being spread is essentially a salt spread.

The moisture on the ground would usually freeze and create a slippery frosting at 0°C. However, by introducing salt to the equation, the moisture is turned into a saline solution, which freezes at a much lower temperature, therefore preventing slippery ice forming on roads.


What does salt grit do to my car?

First and foremost, it keeps your car safe on the roads by allowing your tyres to grip normally. The downside is that is speeds up the rusting process of the metal on your car by oxidising the water. This means that whenever you drive on a salted road, the moisture and salted grit mixture is going to be attacking the metal.

The integrity of your car is at risk from rust, both because it can damage things like your exhaust, but also because it can ruin your paintwork.


How do I prevent salt damage to my car?

If you’re not thinking about the longevity of your vehicle – be it the function or the aesthetics – then you’re missing a trick. There are a number of steps you can take to reduce how much salt impacts your car in the winter months. Here are our top tips for warding off this problem.

  1. Wash your car regularly – It can be a real chore – especially in winter – but washing your car regularly can help to remove the salt solution which will inevitably stick to your paintwork. It’s recommended you did this every 10 days to prevent damage. 
  2. Wax your car – If you wax your car already then you’re a step ahead. If you don’t, it’s a good habit to get into as it protects your paintwork by forming a barrier against muck, grime and salted groundwater. 
  3. Don’t drive in deep snow – You car is essential, but where snow is high you are not only at risk in terms of safety, you’re also getting the underside of your car wet and giving the salt on the ground a greater surface area to attack. 
  4. Repair your paintwork – Where your paintwork or body is damaged, it leaves a greater risk of saltwater rusting the metal of your car. Keeping on top of this eliminates the chances of rust setting in. 
  5. Avoid large puddles – Saltwater will collect even when the rain comes, so just as we’ve advised avoiding driving through snow, you should also try your best to avoid driving through large puddles for the same reason. 
  6. See a specialist car wash – To help keep the underside of your vehicle clean from grit and grime, see a specialist car washing company where they can use equipment to spray underneath the vehicle.

We hope that everyone stays safe out on the roads this winter, but if your vehicle has already been affected by rust, book in with us at Auto Exhausts & Tyres. We provide supply and fit new exhausts, clutches and tyres, plus, we come highly-rated by our customers – just see our reviews for a flavour of what people think to our services


Contact us today for more details or to book an appointment and we’ll be happy to help.