AAA says that rust damage caused by the chemicals used to de-ice road surfaces annually costs U.S. drivers $3 billion in repairs.
According to its latest report, the rate of corrosion has been accelerated as components are exposed to chemicals that are now used in many areas over rock salt. As a result, up to 22 million drivers have experienced rust damage over the last five years, with brake lines, fuel tanks and exhaust systems requiring repairs. On average, fixing these problems is said to cost $500 per occurrence.
John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, says that “while the application of de-icing salts and solutions is critical to keeping our nation’s roadways safe every winter, it’s important that drivers pay attention to warning signs that their vehicle may be suffering from rust-related damage.”
AAA recommends that drivers pay special attention to the tell-tale signs of corrosion, including in-dash warning lights, spongey brakes and exhaust systems that are unusually loud or emit strong fumes.
To prevent rust damage, the organization encourages drivers to try to avoid travelling when de-icing solutions are applied and to frequently wash their vehicles to loosen, dissolve and neutralize agents that can cause corrosion.