Brine is coming — don’t let it damage your vehicle
It's there for a good reason, but the brine sprayed on New Jersey's roads in advance of winter weather can also have a detrimental effect on your precious vehicle, unless you do something about it.
As the northwestern segment of the Garden State prepares for a round of sleet and freezing rain, auto-repair experts want drivers aware of the potentially damaging impact of the liquid de-icer that will likely be applied to roads several times throughout the state over the next couple months.
"It picks up and stays inside the subframe and stays on all the components, and it's very corrosive," said Joe Erickson, automotive services territory manager for AAA. "Anything that's sprayed by the solution is definitely prone to corrosion over time."
Based on anecdotal reports from mechanics, Erickson said brake lines appear "to take to the brunt of the hit."
"It's a pricey job, and it varies by vehicle," Erickson said.
The salty solution has the ability to reach parts of the undercarriage that rock salt typically can not.
Between Nov. 1, 2018 and Feb. 1, 2019, the state Department of Transportation used more than 2 million gallons of brine solution to treat the roads.
While manufacturers have implemented tactics to better prepare the chassis, brine can right through it, Erickson said. So it's up to motorists to extend the life and efficiency of their vehicles. Many folks wait until the end of winter to get a car wash, Erickson said, but lots of damage may have already been done by then.
"My suggestion is always to wash your vehicle frequently at a car wash that sprays the undercarriage," Erickson said. "If you're meticulous about having the car washed, the undercarriage washed on a regular basis, then you can stay way ahead of it."
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.