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How BAD is winter salt on cars


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#1 chefwong

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 06:11 PM

If it's above freezing and the paint aint' wet, winter salt is non-reactive right ?

Zaino isn't beading on the paint after washing no more....and it was put on in late November. I had high hopes for Zaino as far as longevity.

I'll wash the car another warm day and see if it's still there.

#2 FordTaurus

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 06:30 PM

I've always gone by the rule that if the temperature is above freezing for any significant amount of time, the salt can be doing damage. Washing the car on another warm day or bringing it through a coin-op DIY wash to get the majority of debris off until you can get in a real, careful wash is probably the best course of action at this point.

I wouldn't be too dissapointed with the performance of the Zaino you applied. While I have gotten some other products to last the majority of the winter (I don't have much experience with Zaino), the harshness of the mixture that your local crews use on the roads as well as the number of times you have washed the car all affect the durability negatively.
The soap used at many auto washes and DIY washes is often harsh enough to wear away/remove the wax or sealant, especially if you use them regularly.


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#3 Autopia Expert

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 06:44 PM

Road salt is VERY corrosive. No sealant will protect against continued exposure to road salts for an extended period of time, regardless of the ambient temperature.

Many of the larger sealant/wax manufacturers do salt spray tests on paint and polished metal panels to test corrosion with their products. I have no idea if Zaino has tested their products in a salt spray environment or not. However, my recommendation for re-treatment in this type of environment is every 60-90 days for sealants and every 30 days for waxes. The more frequently you wash your car the better off it will be. I know this is difficult in cold winter climates, but washing is the best preventative maintenance.

#4 DAVESCHIM

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 07:25 PM

Originally posted by chefwong
If it's above freezing and the paint aint' wet, winter salt is non-reactive right ?

Zaino isn't beading on the paint after washing no more....and it was put on in late November. I had high hopes for Zaino as far as longevity.

I'll wash the car another warm day and see if it's still there.



I don't think thats too bad?? I wish my wax would of lasted 3 months in the salt and snow. :sosad

#5 TOGWT

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 07:26 PM

Frozen salt is inert but add water and it becomes very corrosive, wash the car and remove as much salt/dirt as possible. The way to avoid the salt/water corrosion is to dry the vehicle as thoroughly as it is possible. The sealant you applied will provide some protection (as DavidB has stated “No sealant will protect against continued exposure to road salts for an extended period of time”. As soon as there is a break in the inclement weather renew the vehicles protection.
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#6 foxtrapper

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 07:38 AM

Salt absorbs water. Don't forget that. The solution stays liquid to a lower temperature than 32 F. Don't forget that either.

So if you think you're safe either because the salt looks dry, or because it's cold or hot outside, you'd be wrong. Try it yourself in the garage. Sprinkle some salt on a piece of bare steel and look at it in a few days.

#7 Lowejackson

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 07:59 AM

Surely this applies to bare metal. How under normal circumstances would the salt corrode paint

#8 TOGWT

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:04 AM

Originally posted by foxtrapper
Salt absorbs water. Don't forget that. The solution stays liquid to a lower temperature than 32 F. Don't forget that either.

So if you think you're safe either because the salt looks dry, or because it's cold or hot outside, you'd be wrong. Try it yourself in the garage. Sprinkle some salt on a piece of bare steel and look at it in a few days.



But then we were talking about a metal/paint/sealent or wax protected vehicle. I will say again dry salt is inert, salt+ water is corrosive. If your bare metal is damp (condensation or whatever) it will indeed corrode.
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#9 G35stilez

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:11 AM

Interesting info David. I didn't know it had to be that often, but thank you :).


To clarify, road salt is far from table salt. It contains chemicals that melt ice/snow, etc. I don't know the exact chemical makeup but I do know its slightly hazordous to vegeatation, so that says something to me.
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#10 chef

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:35 AM

Originally posted by Lowejackson
Surely this applies to bare metal. How under normal circumstances would the salt corrode paint




Technically it might not corrode the paint (it might but I don't think so) but what it will do:

Salt is hyroscopic (attracts water) and the combination of these two speeds up reactions; read oxidation of your paint

In its dry form salt is very abrasive, think we all know what that will do

We also all know water gets places we don't expect (in behind badges etc.) during the winter the water carries the salt with it and into those places setting up cancer and bubbles. It is no coincidence that northeast cars have more rust than southwest cars.

#11 foxtrapper

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:36 AM

Originally posted by TOGWT
I will say again dry salt is inert, salt+ water is corrosive. JonM


Perhaps you aren't aware that air has humidity? And that salt being hygroscopic will pull that moisture from the air? So a dry salt coated car exposed to air is experiencing the corrosive effects of salt because of the way salt pulls moisture from the air.

That's why I didn't say anything about adding water to the test I described. Standard air anywhere on the planet has enough moisture in it to allow the corrosion to take place. You don't need to dampen it. That's why I didn't say anything about dampening the salt, there's no need.

Summary, NO WHERE is the atmosphere dry enough to prevent salt from corroding things.

Rock salt and table salt are both sodium chloride. They are identical chemically. Only if the road crews are playing things like magnesium chloride do you get into differences.

#12 chef

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 09:03 AM

Originally posted by GSRstilez
Interesting info David. I didn't know it had to be that often, but thank you :).


To clarify, road salt is far from table salt. It contains chemicals that melt ice/snow, etc. I don't know the exact chemical makeup but I do know its slightly hazordous to vegeatation, so that says something to me.



Actually road salt's (rock salt or halite) main ingredient is good old NaCl, same as table salt. It is just in a less pure form. It may also have some other salts mixed in but these are expensive and not used everywhere. It will also usually contain a mixture of phosphorus, nitrogen and cyanide (as well as others). These are primarily used as anit-caking agents and as reaction accelerators.

It is not the additves in road salt that are dangerous to the plants it is the high concetration of NaCl in the soil that is dangerous to the plants.

#13 G35stilez

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 09:26 AM

Ohh, thanks for the clarification chef.


Regardless, it is pretty hazardous to your vehicle :).
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#14 another qx4

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 04:07 PM

today i just came back from costco. i was unpacking everything from the trunk and putting it on the frozen ground which has about 1/2 inch of slush/ice. i left the coffee can on the ground for a few seconds and i picked it up a brought it inside. by the time it dried it was all rusty, thats how bad road salt is. if it can cause my moms MPV (washed every month) muffler to fall off in the middle of a highway it can damage your paint.
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#15 Eliot Ness

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 04:53 PM

Originally posted by another qx4
........if it can cause my moms MPV (washed every month) muffler to fall off in the middle of a highway it can damage your paint.


I've got a couple of friends that own muffler shops up in Ohio and they love it when there is a rough winter and a lot of salt is used.

#16 lbls1

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:30 PM

I have a lot of road experience with the dreaded salt. Believe it or not, it isn't harmful to your paint if you do not leave it on for an extended time. A good rule of thumb that I go by is to wash the car at least once a week, rain or shine.

I'll leave salt on the car no longer than 3-4 days, and then give it a thorough hand wash. I have taken it to automated car wash places, and that's good if you are in a pinch.

After the bad weather is over, it is also good to find an underbody wash center and get all of that salt from the chassis.

The short of it is that just use good judgement and do not allow the car to get excessively dirty from salt for more than a week.

PS: It does put a whalopping on your waxed surface!!! Make sure you are using good stuff. You will be grateful later!
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