New road salt causing excessive corrosion under vehicles

New road salt causing excessive corrosion under vehicles
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 1:49 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News is getting answers on an issue involving vehicles. A car dealership in Springfield has been noticing a lot of corrosion underneath cars every year, especially during the winter time.

Looking at one car at Balise Hyundai, you probably wouldn’t notice anything wrong, but underneath, a mechanic could notice corrosion and rust. Balise Hyundai General Manager Brian Houser told Western Mass News it is something the dealership has been noticing.

“You can see some small signs of maybe one out of every ten vehicles coming in here, but people who don’t take care of it or leave it untreated, that’s when you’re in a situation and see major issues with your vehicle down the road,” Houser said.

We noticed some of that damage ourselves. This extensive corrosion is mainly from snow salt introduced a couple of winters ago in the state. Parts that have usually been affected are the control arms by the tires, the exhaust pipe, the whole brake system, and the sub-frame. Houser warned that this issue could bring dangerous consequences outside of failing a safety inspection.

“It could also put your family and other occupants at risk for something majorly going wrong driving at high speeds. If you hit a pothole and you have the sub-frame that’s starting to corrode, it can break off. You’re talking major repairs, tow bills, and unexpected expenses,” Houser added.

The damage caused by this excessive corrosion could also be a financial burden for drivers and families.

“A sub-frame on a vehicle could go anywhere between $500 and $1,500. An exhaust system, you’re talking the same ballgame. Brake system, you’d be talking between $300-$800. It can definitely pile up quickly,” Houser explained.

As a result of the corrosion, Houser highly recommends drivers to get their cars washed during the winter time, either once or week or immediately after a snowstorm.

“Get your undercarriage washed through a car wash…Salt pretty much gets deteriorated when you have water. That’s what effects as far as to do with this job. If it’s on a dry road, then you could have that continuously go up in your wheel wells and the under-components of your vehicle,” Houser said.

Other advice is to get vehicles a multipoint inspection before the cold months roll in.

Houser said his dealership also has a material for under the car to keep those parts in check.

“[The mechanics] have wax-based sealants that they can spray underneath the automobile to protect from this corrosion…We have the right safety equipment to protect our staff, so you want to make sure that it’s done right,” Houser explained.

Western Mass News reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for a comment on the road salt now being used, but we have not yet heard back.