As winter approaches, car owners prepare for a familiar problem: the damaging effects of snow on their cars. Although this happens every year, few people know the true cost of snow damage, or how to deal with it. Here are a few of the ways that snow damages vehicles:
In the winter, road salt is spread over snow along the road to melt it and clear the roads for driving. The salt lowers the freezing point of water, so even though the air temperature is below freezing, the snow and ice melt into the water; the salt is also mixed with sand to provide traction. Although this practice helps keep the roads clear and safe for driving, over time it leads to damage for cars; driving along roads treated with salt can cause severe body and undercarriage damage to your vehicle. This is because salt is extremely corrosive; it eats away at the metal and leads to everything from hydraulic brake system leaks to subframe damage.
Keeping all of this in mind, it’s so important to thoroughly wash your vehicle after driving on roads that have been treated with rock salt. Since this tends to be any road in New England between November and April, we recommend bringing your vehicle to a car wash frequently, or if you can do so, washing your vehicle yourself at home. As long as you are removing those salt particles from your vehicle (and don’t forget to wash under your vehicle too) this will help extend the life of your car by a lot!
As snow builds up on your car, it can seep into crevices on its exterior; then, when you turn on your car, the snow will melt in response to the heat from your engine. The water that results can cause rust damage to the exterior of your car, which can cause a range of problems from simple aesthetics (few people like seeing rust stains replace their paint job) to issues with your chassis and underbody.
Snow can also damage your windshield wipers and washing system. Thin layers of ice tend to form around the blades that are in tight contact against the windshield. Therefore, you need to ensure that both your vehicle’s wipers are raised before a snowstorm arrives. Make sure that you thoroughly remove any traces of ice from the wiper blades before putting them into place again, otherwise your windshield can easily be scratched by the invisible layers of compressed snow or pure ice.
The scourge of rust isn’t limited to the exterior of your car; where there is snow, there will be water, and that is true for the interior of your vehicle as well. When you carry snow on your clothing, the melting snow will seep into your carpets and ultimately make its way into small cracks and crevices in the car. Then, when the car is placed outside again, the water will freeze; the fluctuation between liquid water and solid ice can cause damage by cracking areas of your car such as the space between the door and the floor.
While it’s never a fun task, we want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Connecticut state law mandates that all vehicle operators must remove the snow from their vehicle before driving on any road. I am sure everyone has been behind someone who did not follow this rule and knows how dangerous it can be to have large chunks of snow hitting your windshield from the car in front of you.
So how can you prevent snow damage to your car? One way is to pre-treat your car in preparation for winter; use an oil solution under-spray to help fight winter road salt damage, for example. Furthermore, taking the time to clear your car of snow and prevent snow from piling up in the first place is crucial to keeping your car running smoothly in the winter.
At Just 7 Oil Change & More we use the latest diagnostic equipment to guarantee your vehicle is repaired or serviced properly and in a timely fashion. We are a member of the Professional Auto Service, an elite performance network, where independent service facilities share common goals of being world-class automotive service centers.
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