Does Danbury’s New Road Deicer Cause More Car Corrosion Than It’s Worth?
Living in a salt belt state makes commuting in bad weather a worry. Here in Western Connecticut and the lower Hudson Valley, storms are tamed with the newest fixes for winter road safety.
Pam Brooks recently spoke with Joe Cavo, President of Danbury’s Common Council, who revealed the city is selling all salt and sand reserves that were in use prior to this winter. The new brine-salt liquid deicer being sprayed on our roads before storms as a preventative works so well, we need little more than that.
You can see the brine appearing as white lines on roads before bad weather. Usroads.com says that they’re made with rock salt (sodium chloride) and sometimes magnesium chloride, dissolved in water, which melts snow on contact at lower temperatures, hence, there is a call for less plowing to maintain our highways. Standard rock salt tends to end up on the side of the road before it gets a chance to melt icy roads, and common sand damages aquatic life as well as the environment way more than brine reports the Seattle Times. So heading this storm season we’re looking good.
According to the article on our website, Cavo says that not only is the spray saving us money, but there are many benefits to using it. He says that it’s a time and money saver because crews don’t have to go out when winter’s over to sweep up all of the sand, as well as vacuum out all of the storm drains that have filled up with the muck. The article claims that when you factor in the costs of clean up, the new salt treatment makes sense and even the schools are happier because tons of sand isn’t being tracked in.
The new brine solution is great for municipalities, but not so great for car owners. The Washington Post agrees that these salt solutions are cheaper and more effective but keep in mind the solution is more corrosive because it’s more effective. As the salt is completely dissolved it reaches all the way up to places under your car that rock salt generally doesn’t reach.
As reported by the Trib in Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh area mechanics have seen lots of damage to cars they fix. They say: “These cars are shiny on top, and the underside's just dissolved”. Mechanics they interviewed believe brine use is making vehicles rust out rapidly. One owner of a shop in the region stated there’s been a big jump in repairs for corroded brake lines and suspension items in recent years. He drew a correlation between the introduction of the new road treatments and a significant increase in car corrosion.
The Daily Press in Virginia tells us the undercarriage is more vulnerable as brine may make its way into scratches causing cosmetic damage, cracks and even eat through wiring.
But the safety and this new wave of road brine, and decreased environmental impact it brings, is paramount to any damage it may pose to your automobile.
The takeaway: If you wash your car enough, experts say damage will be nominal or none at all. The remedy — Be sure to spring for the undercarriage wash after the storm. It's an ounce of prevention.