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It’s a familiar sight for anyone living in an area where winter precipitation regularly occurs - cars covered with road salt. While it is necessary for safer travel on ice and snow-covered roads, road salt (and the accompanying sand) can be hazardous to your vehicle over time. If left on vehicles, both substances will eventually lead to rust and corrosion.

Fortunately, there are preventative measures car owners can take to help keep their vehicle clean and safe after driving through road salt and sand.

Fall Season Prep

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Late in the fall season, prior to the time your area tends to begin seeing winter precipitation, thoroughly wash your car, making sure you do the undercarriage as well. After drying your vehicle, apply a fresh coat of wax to the exterior.

Undercoating your Car

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It is also a good idea to seal the undercarriage, as road salt build up can lead to rust and corrosion damage underneath your car. Areas where slush accumulates underneath the car are even more prone to damage. This service is typically offered by many car dealerships, but Pep Boys offers a variety of undercoating products for do-it-yourselfers as well.

Wash and Wax All Winter

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Throughout the winter, continue washing your car as often as possible, particularly following precipitation that requires the use of road salt. Remember to wash the undercarriage, wheels and tires. Thoroughly dry your wheels and any other parts of your car where water tends to collect. Washing your vehicle when plenty of daylight remains in the day can also help ensure it dries.

Drive-through Wash

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A drive-trhough car wash is your easiest option, but if one is not available, using a pressure washer will also do the trick. Just keep in mind that you only want to use washing liquid designed specifically for use on vehicles, as dish soap can cut through car wax and leave your vehicle with less protection against the elements.

Although it is necessary for driver safety, road treatment can lead to vehicle damage. But, by following the preventative measures, vehicle owners can combat the problem while staying as safe as possible in winter driving conditions.