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March 02, 2017
Road De-Icers Cause $3 Billion in Vehicle Rust Damage Every Year
According to a new AAA survey, U.S. drivers paid approximately $3 billion in rust repairs caused by de-icing methods over the last five years.

With 70 percent (150 million) of Americans living in regions affected by snow and ice, AAA advises motorists to take action to prevent dangerous rust-related vehicle damage to brake lines, fuel tanks, exhaust systems and other critical vehicle components.
 
“Salt from de-icing can wreak havoc on a vehicle," says Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. "Motorists should frequently wash their vehicle, including the undercarriage. This simple task can save you from expensive car repairs.”

De-icing our roads is essential to safe winter driving. 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. They can be applied before a snowstorm, have lower freezing point and melt ice and snow faster. Research shows the newer alternatives chemicals can cause more damage to vehicles, seeping into cracks where corrosion can accelerate.
 
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. 
While some rust damage is unavoidable, AAA recommends drivers take the following preventative steps in order to reduce the possibility of vehicle damage:
 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Before the start of winter, thoroughly wash and clean your vehicle prior to the start of winter and apply a coat of wax to protect the finish.
  • Give the entire vehicle and undercarriage one last cleaning in the spring. Any deposits left over from winter can continue to cause corrosion year-round if not properly removed.
For more information on car care and safety, visit AAA.com/Auto.
 

Contact(s):

Gene LaDoucer
phone: 701.893.3759
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.


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