How to Stop a Harsh Winter Being Harsh on Your Vehicle | Body Scratch Repair Hertfordshire

Vehicle Repair for dents, car paint scratches and alloy wheels

How to Stop a Harsh Winter Being Harsh on Your Vehicle
It’s fact - the reason why winter is so harsh on our vehicles is all down to road salt.

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Introduced in the 1930s, road salt has been the answer to making Britain’s freezing roads much safer. It helps prevent ice forming and aids existing snow and ice to melt too. Unlike our European neighbours, relatively few people in the UK fit winter tyres to their cars or vans so road salt meets the demands of drivers plus it’s very cost effective. But, it’s also the main contributor to corrosion.

How does Road Salt Cause Corrosion on Vehicles?

Road Salt works by lowering the freezing point of water. Water is made of tiny molecules are always in motion but slowed by cold temperatures and then clump together at freezing point. When road salt comes into contact with water it dissolves and separates into individual sodium and chloride ions. It is these ions that lower the freezing point of water to somewhere around -9°C. 

Whilst it’s a great safety tool, road salt has the ability to absorb moisture from the air which means that it attracts, absorbs and retains it wherever it is deposited. So, on vehicles where road salt is accumulated any dampness will accelerate a process called electrochemical oxidation which we all know as the dreaded rust!

Modern car paints offer a good level of protection against rusting but once this has been breached by weathering, stone chip damage or collision damage, corrosion will quickly set in. Unfortunately, it’s not only the paint that’s under attack but the brake, steering and suspension systems are also highly vulnerable.

Dissolved road salt also transforms water into something call an electrolyte. This is a substance that can electrically conduct.  Not only does this accelerate the speed of rusting, but it also facilitates galvanic corrosion. This is another electrochemical process where one metal corrodes better when in electrical contact with a different type of metal. On cars, this often happens on alloy wheels that have some stone chip or kerbing damage. It occurs when iron-rich brake dust is present on the damaged rim surface and then starts a rapid corrosion process on the aluminium alloy.

How to Solve the Problem of Rusting

  • Have any stone chips, scratches or collision damage repaired as soon as they are noticed.
  • Apply sealant or wax protection to maintain a barrier against moisture.
  • Pressure wash your car regularly in order to prevent salt deposits and grime from building up.
  • Pay particular attention to your wheels when cleaning using a non-aggressive wheel cleaner ensuring you remove all of the brake dust and road salt.
  • Use a synthetic polymer sealant or natural carnauba wax coating on exposed surfaces in wheel arches and beneath the vehicle
If you have any stone, chips, scratches or dents Sprayplan is fully mobile and can offer you a fast, reliable and high quality repair service. For more information or to get a quote get in touch today.