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As my detractors will gleefully point out, DC is ground zero for a blizzard this Saturday. I am expecting 12"-20" in Southern MD USA. Needless to say the SUV will be my primary vehicle for the next few days until the roads clear but once they are its back to the Black Adder.
Here's my question: What is the best way to clean road salt from a car? I am thinking of hosing it off when the weather breaks. Any tips on car care when removing the salt? Dont want to accidentally screw up the finish.
 

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The Connecticut DOT started using magnesium chloride in its road salt mixture a few years ago and the trucking industry claimed that it corroded brake lines, frames and electrical components. One notable quote from the CT DOT relative to cleaning up this chemical mess:
"One thing is for sure – you shouldn't power-wash vehicles. That just pushes the salt deeper into crevices."

Snow plus salt equals Connecticut controversy | The CT Mirror

Make sure it's well above freezing before you attempt to spray wash the surface, or you'll have flash-frozen suds. If you have to deal with driving through municipalities that still use sand...don't even think of wiping anything...especially with your color.

...glad to be a Floridian, now.
 

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Up until the last few years when I drove my cars in the winter as soon as the temperature hit above zero I took the car to the local self wash and gave it a good soaping and rinse, especially underneath the car. I took my own sponge because sure hell wasn't going to use the soap brush thats in the bay. Then gave it a good rinse and dried it off with good towels. I then gave it a good spray of quick wax. Timing is everything though, because if you try and clean while at 0 or below you'll be driving a block of ice. Try and do it on a sunny day when the roads are dry or you will be back to square one before you get home.

Alternative is to buy an old banger for a $2-3 grand or less and use it solely for the winter and then sell it after and then start the cycle again. I know a couple of guys that do this and it would surprise you what good little runners you can pick up these days, after all you are only using it from about December till end of April so really who cares what it looks like.

Nowadays I have a company vehicle so I really don't give a ****>:D
 

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road salt

I don't drive my SLK in the winter. I bring the car out after the first big rain of the spring - - so all the brine and road salt is gone. If you must drive in winter, I think the best protection is to rinse and spray wash as much of the salt from the underbody, wheel wells, and body as you can. It makes me sad when I see one of our cars driven in the winter slop.

Up until the last few years when I drove my cars in the winter as soon as the temperature hit above zero I took the car to the local self wash and gave it a good soaping and rinse, especially underneath the car. I took my own sponge because sure hell wasn't going to use the soap brush thats in the bay. Then gave it a good rinse and dried it off with good towels. I then gave it a good spray of quick wax. Timing is everything though, because if you try and clean while at 0 or below you'll be driving a block of ice. Try and do it on a sunny day when the roads are dry or you will be back to square one before you get home.

Alternative is to buy an old banger for a $2-3 grand or less and use it solely for the winter and then sell it after and then start the cycle again. I know a couple of guys that do this and it would surprise you what good little runners you can pick up these days, after all you are only using it from about December till end of April so really who cares what it looks like.

Nowadays I have a company vehicle so I really don't give a ****>:D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't drive my SLK in the winter. I bring the car out after the first big rain of the spring - - so all the brine and road salt is gone. If you must drive in winter, I think the best protection is to rinse and spray wash as much of the salt from the underbody, wheel wells, and body as you can. It makes me sad when I see one of our cars driven in the winter slop.
I live in an area where I was driving top down looking at Christmas lights 4 weeks ago and then 12" of snow yesterday, which should all be gone in a week of mild temps so luckily I can get to drive it all-year round.
 

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Never wash a salt ridden car that's hot. Corrosive chemical action at it's best.

Repeated washing vs winter preparation (good waxing and coating with appropriate shield, possibly paraffin) and occasional rinsing.

I'll be waiting until end of Feb for a good wash down. Didn't prepare for winter in time (Hence the Jacuzzi that kept appearing in the boot and fudging the pse).
 
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