A Wisconsin winter season almost always bring snow, and with a lot of snow, comes a lot of salt and de-icer on the roadways.
The most recent snowstorm forced the Milwaukee Department of Public Works to run more than 100 salt trucks on city streets. Those chemical are great for drivers looking for a safe commute, but can be damaging to vehicles.
AAA's five-year survey found an annual cost of $3 billion nationwide in rust damage. The study says $15 billion in car repairs is due to road salt and liquid de-icers.
Michael Maloney has owned Westway Autobody Shop for more than 40 years, but is a 50 year veteran in the car industry. Maloney's advice for stopping that national cost is simple.
"I see a lot of corrosion that comes from the bottom up...You go to a car wash and get an under-body flush that's where the rust starts is on the bottom," says Maloney," kinda like taking a shower and not brushing your teeth."
Both AAA and Maloney agree that winter car washes are preventative against rust. The salt, dirt, mud, and corrosion can get packed underneath your car and the wash solutions can help slow or stop rust damage.
AAA found 22 million Americans averaging 500 dollars in car repairs to parts like brake lines, strut towers and fuel tanks.
Maloney recommends weekly washes to protect your wallet. But if you don't want to, or can't seem to remember a weekly wash, once a month is fine too.
Three other tips that can save you some cash:
Limit immediate driving when salt and de-icer are put out on the roads
Quickly repair any body damage that exposes bare metal to the elements
Give your entire vehicle a thorough cleaning at the start of the spring season.