Old man winter is causing car corrosion

7:23 PM, Feb 28, 2014   |    comments
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FALMOUTH, Maine (NECN) -- With yet another storm headed to parts of New England Monday, it's a harsh reminder that winter is keeping a tight grip on the region.

That means messy travel, plows, and another round of car corroding salt on the roads. It's a side effect of the season that keeps mechanics and car washes very busy.

If you've never taken a look underneath your car, you're missing something you don't want to see - rusted break lines. They can burst instantly in a panic stop or even in normal driving, according to mechanic Nick Pawloski.

Rock salt is one culprit, but the main cause of winter car corrosion is chlorides. They are great at melting ice, which keeps more cars from slipping and sliding during storms, but they also have a down side. They cause steel to fall apart.

That's why the Falmouth Car Wash is busy, even on a very cold winter day. More than three thousand cars will go through the bays every week and come out clean and salt free.

At the Maine Department of Transportation, Brian Burne tries to figure out how to keep the roads as safe as possible during storms. His winter tool box inclues magnesium chloride. Chlorides work better than salt in low temperatures.

Saving cars from corrosion isn't the DOT's top priority, but it is a consideration, which is why they use a product called Ice B Gone. They say that product looks and smells like molasses.

The DOT doesn't claim molasses can stop the rust, especially in a winter like this one where the storms just keep on coming. For now, it will help a little, but Springtime will help the most, and that can't come soon enough.

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