Winter may slowly be retreating, but there's one threat that still looms.

Cars in winter
Steve Frost, ThinkStock

Rock salt and brine used to treat New Jersey roads during ice and snow events can cause corrosion to cars and trucks if left untreated.

"Long-term, it can have a fairly corrosive impact on the car," said Joe Erickson, automotive services territory manager with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The brine used to treat roads is basically a mixture of 23 percent salt and about 75 to 80 percent water.  According to Erickson, the solution can get into places that rock salt typically doesn't go -- suspension, wheel wells and remote places on the car's underbelly.

And don't delude yourself into thinking that a rainy day will wash all of those corrosion problems away from your car. The rain may help the body of the car, but it won't do much to impact the car's underbelly.

"The rain or the melting snow will mix with the salt, and when you drive through a puddle or when you drive on a wet road that has had salt, it is going to do the exact same thing as the brine. It will get up into the undercarriage," Erickson said.

There is some good news though, according to Erickson.

"The manufacturers have done a very good job in the last 10 years dipping the vehicles, or the metal, to try and prevent corrosion. So the cars are made much better nowadays," Erickson said.

Regardless, every vehicle will benefit from a cleaning at the end of winter to rid the car of residual road salt.

"Back to the car wash. That's the takeaway," Erickson said.

Motorists should look for car washes that use a detergent with a low pH balance.  Erickson said it's also a good idea to have the entire vehicle, including the  undercarriage, inspected on a regular basis.

"That will tell you, or the technician will be able to identify a potential problem before they can become real problems," Erickson said.



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