Car wash can help prevent unexpected costs caused by road salt, brine

Car wash can help prevent unexpected costs caused by road salt, brine

It may be hard to find the motivation to get our cars washed during the winter, but mechanics say to avoid having your car end up in the shop thanks to damage caused by road salt and brine, a $5 car wash pays off in the long run.

Brine and road salt are two solutions crews rely on to keep cars from losing control on the roadways. However, if left untreated on our cars, mechanics say it could cause other problems down the road.

“It’s automotive cancer. Once it’s there, it has to be cut out or replaced or else it just keeps coming back and coming back,” said Guy Olson, service manager at Butitta Brothers Automotive.

Brine is stronger than rock salt. Its powerful solution, often combined with calcium chloride, means its strength also takes a harsher toll on the wear and tear of your car. Once your car starts to rust, Olson said the only way to fix the car is to replace the metal, which could cost up to thousands of dollars depending on the make of your car.

“The salt will actually hit the car, and unless it’s wet, it will not stick there. Now the brine is constantly wet, and it flies up and splatters on your car. It gets underneath the car, and it sits and stays on everything,” Olson said.

The city of Janesville uses both a salt brine and additional liquid chemicals to treat the roadways. AAA officials said drivers across the nation spend around $6.5 billion every year repairing damages by salt and brine corrosion.

It’s a cost drivers like Danielle Ciebell said they are willing to pay, even when it’s snowing, to avoid spending more money in the long run.

“I’m invested in the car so I’m trying to keep it as nice for as long as I can. So I figure a $5 car wash here and there, why not?” she said.

Olson suggests drivers wash their car at least two times a month to make sure any brine residue is washed away. He said the most important part to wash is underneath the car, where residue can hide.