For areas that get reasonable amounts of snow in the winter, road salt is an essential tool for keeping roads drivable and relatively safe. In fact, even small quantities of this substance can be very effective at removing surface-layer snow and ice. However, as useful as it is, road salt is far from safe for your car. This is how road salt affects your car’s tires and your vehicle as a whole and how you can mitigate the damage.
Road Salt and Corrosion
Unlike table salt, which is heavily processed so that we can eat it, road salt is a raw material. Untreated sodium chloride has a strong absorbing and drying effect on liquids. This makes it great for removing winter hazards from pavement, but the combination of salt and moisture can result in eventual corrosion in your car’s metal components. Your car’s wheels, paint, and undercarriage are often the most-affected parts.
As far as how road salt affects your car’s tires, we’re glad to say damage is typically limited. This is due to the rubber compounds from which vehicle tires are often made. These materials already lack moisture and therefore aren’t as reactive when they come into contact with salt. Road salt can, however, leave a residue on your treads.
Tips for Minimizing the Impact
If you’re concerned about the amount of salt near your vehicle this winter, there are a few things you can do about it. First, try to keep your car clean. Salt really starts to corrode and rust your car if you allow it to sit on the car’s surface. As such, regular cleanings are the best ways to keep this chemical reaction at bay. You can also place protective covers over your car when you’re not using it. This will not only protect it from the snow but also keep the salt from adhering to the cold metal.
To protect your tires, it’s recommended that you store your car in an enclosed space such as a garage or storage unit. Then, clean your tires thoroughly whenever you do use the car. This way, you limit their exposure to the salt.
If you’re looking to purchase new tires to navigate the winter terrain, RNR Tire Express has just what you need. Our used tires in Raleigh, NC, come in a series of different tread patterns, and they’re made to handle roads of all kinds. So, when you need a winter tire on which you can rely—in rain, snow, or salt—we can help you find it at the right price.