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Can road salt really damage your car?

February 20, 2012|Justin Ward | Reporter

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — When the snow falls so does the road salt. The days following, when all of it melts and mixes together can be rough on your car.
But how much damage can salt really do?

"It will eat it, cause the metal to get flaky and it will peel off and make it get thin and you don't have any support. May have a ball joint fall out from underneath it," said Connie Campbell.

Campbell is the owner of Jiffy Car Wash in Martinsville. After 48 years in the business he knows about keeping a car clean.

Even though this is his busiest season, he says if you don't wash your car he says you could severely damage the car's undercarriage.

He recommends getting your car washed the day following the snow storm.

"If it starts corroding then it's hard to stop," Campbell said. "Wash your car every opportunity you get."

The damage doesn't show up overnight, it takes time, according to Martinsville area car mechanics.

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Salt will cause bare metals to rust quicker, but it will not rust or hurt the paint. Salt can build up in hidden areas especially in the engine and very slowly corrode the metal.

Washing underneath, and often, is key to keeping your car healthy. Local mechanics recommend every ten days even if it's not snowing.

He says leaving the combination of salt and ice on your car to dry can promote the rusting process quicker.

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