does road salt damage car paint

Does Road Salt Damage Car Paint: What You Need to Know

Tucson’s best auto body shop, the Formula 1 Collision Center, can answer a question on many motorists’ minds: “Does road salt damage car paint?”

Many residents of states in the northern United States have decades of experience with snowy roads and rock salt. Tucson, AZ, has more sunshine and less snow than most of the country, but it gets cold enough that you might have to deal with snowy roads from time to time. 

Salt on Tucson Roads

The Arizona Department of Transportation uses deicing salt on major roadways, so if you drive in the state from the late fall to the early spring, you might encounter salt on the roads. Arizonan motorists, particularly those who leave colder climes for relief from the cold in the winter months, should keep the question in mind: “Does road salt damage car paint?”

How Road Salt Affects Car Paint

Road salt can accelerate the progression of rust on metallic car surfaces, including the car’s body. Metal components on the underside are prone to rust damage.

Rust forms when oxygen in the air combines with iron molecules in steel, producing red, flaky iron oxide. Salt makes it easier for oxygen and iron to exchange electrons, which encourages ions to form. 

How Does Salt Get on My Car?

Other vehicles around you will kick up salt as they drive over salted stretches of road, which splatter the hood and side panels. Your tires will kick up salt as you drive, sending saltwater onto the surfaces on the underside of your car. In deep snow, your car might come into direct contact with the snow surface. 

The Long-Term Effects of Salt

As rust eats away at the metal parts of your car, it will weaken the car’s protection against moisture, causing rust to spread. Holes in the car’s body hurt fuel efficiency. 

Rust can damage the exhaust system, wheels, brakes, and other essential parts of the car.

Protecting Your Car from Road Salt

The best ways to keep your car from rusting are to limit your car’s exposure to salt and moisture and to prevent saltwater from remaining on the car’s surface after exposure to corrosive salt on the roads. Take the following precautions to reduce the likelihood of salt damaging your vehicle:

  • Store your car in a warm garage when you are not driving it.
  • Have your car washed to remove salt after contact with salt water.
  • Replace rusted body panels and car parts to slow the spread of rust.
  • Wax your car in the fall or add a rust-resistant coating to its surface to provide a layer of protection.

Fix Winter Car Damage in Tucson, AZ, at Formula 1 Collision Center

Formula 1 Collision Center is the leader in Tuscon, AZ, car repair. Call us at 520 369-4291 if you still have questions about protecting your car, such as, “Does road salt damage car paint?” Our professionals can also help you determine what kind of custom paint job to get for your vehicle.

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