Did you know road crews dump roughly 349,000 tons of road salt on Twin Cities streets every winter? It’s true — and if you do a lot of wintertime driving in the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, that salt can damage your vehicle if you don’t take steps to protect it.


How do you do that? Read on for four simple and effective ways to protect your automobile from damage caused by winter road salt.

1. Wash Your Vehicle Regularly (During the Day)

Regularly hosing down your automobile is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent road salt buildup and damage. Ideally, you should do this during the day when outdoor temperatures are above freezing (preferably above 40°F) to ensure water doesn’t turn to ice on the exterior of your ride. 


How often should you wash or rinse off your car? Plan on stopping by the car wash every 10 days or so, depending on how often you drive. However, you may want to go more often if it’s particularly snowy, icy, or muddy outdoors. More frequent washing is the best way to help keep excessive (and damaging!) salt and dirt accumulation from sitting on your paint and undercarriage for too long.

2. Apply Wax to Your Vehicle’s Exterior

Wax creates a protective barrier between your vehicle’s paint job and the elements, which means it’ll help prevent salt from corroding the exterior of your ride. If you want to protect your vehicle’s undercarriage, too, you can also apply wax there, but you may want to invest in an undercarriage-specific product for best results.


How often should you wax your ride? That really depends on outdoor conditions. During a mild winter, you may be able to get away with applying wax just once, right before the weather takes a turn for the worse. But during particularly bad winters, you may need to reapply wax every eight weeks to keep your vehicle’s finish well protected. 

3. Use a Rust Inhibitor on Exposed Metal

Road salt can quickly corrode exposed metal, so if you want the best protection for your vehicle’s undercarriage, consider applying a corrosion-inhibiting spray to the entire thing. That’s especially true if your vehicle’s undercarriage already has a few rusty spots that you’d like to keep contained. 

4. Time Your Trips According to the Weather

Whenever possible, avoid driving when you know road crews will be applying salt or other potentially corrosive chemicals to the roads. And if your area uses gravel, do you best avoid driving when you know that’ll be applied, too.


When there’s lots of traffic on gravel-laden roads, other drivers’ tires can easily kick up pebbles that can fly at your windshield, crack it, and necessitate prompt auto glass repairs. Freezing temperatures can then exacerbate even a minor chip or crack and may leave you with a severely damaged windshield that requires replacement.


Check out these other winter windshield maintenance tips for other ways to keep your auto glass in great condition throughout the snowy season.

Get Top-Notch Auto Glass Repair Service in the Twin Cities

Taking measures to protect your vehicle from salt-induced damage is important, but those measures won’t do much to protect your auto glass from unexpected chips and cracks.


If you find yourself with a damaged windshield, side windows, or rear window this winter, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Only 1 Auto Glass for help! We specialize in auto glass repair and replacement for all makes and models of vehicles and have multiple convenient locations throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro.


To schedule an appointment or get a service estimate, call us today at 651-789-1111 or request a free estimate online, and we’ll reach out with more info!