Salt is the enemy. Slowly the corrosion creeps all over your car’s exterior until your bright blue Chevy is an ugly, battered rust bucket not worth taking to the junkyard. How do you prevent the salt on the road from destroying your car? With these three simple tips.
Remember, these tips will not reverse rusting. The only way to do that is to take a grinder to your car or replace rusted parts.
The Cheapest: Baking Soda
Plain old baking soda, when rubbed on your salty car, will neutralize all the sodium already trying to leech into your paint and metal. This helps prevent additional rusting.
If you like, you can also use baking soda and vinegar in a spray to help protect your car before you head out on the road in the mornings. Simply spray down wheel wells and the bottom sides of your car. Unless your vehicle has a very sensitive paint finish, most cars can handle the mild acidic content of vinegar and the baking soda “sticks” better when wet.
The Moderate: Hosing Down Your Car No Matter What Temperature
If you don’t mind hosing down your car in 10 degree weather, this one might be for you. Keep in mind it will raise your water bill significantly if you do it each time you park at home.
There are a huge variety of undercarriage washer mats on the market for home use. Pick one and use it. Get a cheap back brush from your local department store to scrub the salt off your wheel wells and do this every time you go out. It isn’t exactly pleasant, but neither is having to replace a fender on your 2 year old car.
The Rolls Royce: Ceramic Coatings
While ceramic coating can be costly, it’s also all the rage for those looking to prevent rust on their vehicles. A liquid polymer ceramic bonding is applied all over your car, much like wax, including some key places beneath the hood. Depending on the technician, one to five coats may be applied. The car is then heated to allow the ceramic to “bake” tight.
The ceramic bakes clear and does not appear any differently than when the car went in for the procedure. The problem? Since this is a newer idea, it is a bit on the costly side. Prices range very widely and are likely to come down this winter, so we won’t be quoting them here. Suffice to say it can cost anywhere between three and four figures for your average sedan.
However, the process is permanent. The baked ceramic does not respond to the salt and it can be harmlessly washed off in the car wash once a week instead of dragging out the hose every time you get home. If you can afford it or if you find a very good deal, we strongly suggest ceramic coating on your vehicle to keep it looking it’s best for years to come. The investment is worth it.
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