CHARLOTTE, NC (JANUARY 19, 2018) Following the recent winter storms that hit several areas throughout the Carolinas, AAA urges motorists to thoroughly wash their cars to help prevent pricey vehicle repairs caused by chemicals used to de-ice roadways. According to a recent AAA survey, U.S. drivers paid an estimated $15.4 billion in rust repairs caused by de-icing methods over the last five years, or approximately $3 billion annually. AAA warns drivers to take action to prevent dangerous rust-related vehicle damage to brake lines, fuel tanks, exhaust systems and other critical vehicle components.
“While the use of rock salt and brine is great for battling ice and snow on roadways and a critical component in keeping our roads safe during severe winter weather, it can also damage your vehicle,” said Tiffany Wright president of AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety. “After the snow and ice melt, it’s important to give your car a good wash to prevent rust damage to your vehicle. This is more than a cosmetic issue, it involves the safety of your vehicle.”
AAA recommends drivers take the following preventative steps in order to reduce the possibility of rust damage to their vehicles:
- Frequently wash your vehicle, paying particular attention to the undercarriage. This will loosen, dissolve and neutralize road salts. Many drive-through car washes offer an undercarriage rinse as an option.
- Always use a high-quality car wash solution, not a household dish detergent that will strip the wax from your vehicle.
- Repair any body-damage and touch up paint scratches and chips that expose bare metal which could lead to rust.
- When possible, limit driving immediately before, during and after winter storms when salt and de-icing solutions are being applied and are at their highest concentrations.
In recent years, many state and local transportation departments have shifted from using rock salt to liquid de-icers to combat ice and snow on the roadways. These newer alternatives are more effective than traditional salt because they can be applied before a snowstorm, have a lower freezing point and melt ice and snow faster. However, these same characteristics can be even more damaging to vehicles since the chemicals remain in liquid form longer and are more likely to coat components and seep into cracks and crevices where corrosion can accelerate.
“A good car wash is inexpensive compared to the possible hundreds or thousands of dollars rust damage could cost you in vehicle repairs down the road,” Wright added.
AAA strongly urges drivers who experience any of the following vehicle malfunctions to immediately move the vehicle off the road to a safe location and have it towed to a trusted repair facility.
- In-dash warning lights for brakes and other critical systems.
- A “spongey” or soft feeling when applying pressure to the brake pedal.
- An unusually loud exhaust sound or the smell of fumes in or around the vehicle.
- The prominent smell of gasoline or diesel fuel when the vehicle is parked or running.
When rust damage occurs, it is imperative to choose a reputable repair facility. The AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) network has plenty of facilities which have met AAA’s high standards, including, certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, rigorous inspections and customer satisfaction. To locate an AAR shop visit www.AAA.com/AutoRepair.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.