British Columbia

Beware car damage caused by salt, warns BCAA

Salt may work well for de-icing roads and sidewalks, but one expert says it can cause serious damage to vehicles.

Spokesman Stu Miller says salt can create serious damage to essential car parts

The City of Vancouver alone has used more than 7,000 tonnes of salt on roads so far this winter. (City of Vancouver)

Salt has been a coveted substance in the Lower Mainland this week. 

But while it works well for de-icing roads and sidewalks, one expert says it can seriously damage vehicles.

"The main thing it does is it forces body parts to corrode prematurely such as fenders, doors and rocker panels," said BCAA spokesman Stu Miller.

But Miller warns the damage isn't just cosmetic — it can also impact essential car parts.

"It can also eat away at the brake lines, fuel lines and suspension."

"[It's] very dangerous. What can happen is, over time, as they corrode through, all the sudden you get a brake fluid leak and you compromise the way your brakes are going to work in your vehicle."

But there is something vehicle owners can do.

"The only way around this is to wash your car on a regular basis. Washing the exterior but you also want to make sure you get the underbody as well," he said. 

"Granted, washing on a driveway when it's freezing isn't great, but that's what car washes are for."

When there is heavy salt on streets for a prolonged period of time, Miller recommends taking vehicles through a car wash as often as once every 10 days.