Taking care of your car during the winter: What to know

If you live in the northeast like us, Philly to be exact, you are well aware that winter is in full effect. Temperatures are hovering around the teens and twenties which means we like to focus on the fun stuff that comes with it: think snowmen, hot chocolate, and hunkering down by the living room fireplace (a weekend of netflix and ubereats/doordash sounds about right). Even though we love these cozy aspects of our winters, there are also hassles that many can confirm and the struggle is real. But driving in the northeast during the winter may be the biggest pain point of all. Not only do drivers need to be vigilant for immediate dangers of failed starts, whiteout driving and black ice – but our cars, themselves, are at risk for damage.

If you haven’t already, it’s a great idea to take some safety precautions. Checking your lights, fluids, and tire pressure and maintaining your car battery, as recommended by Autotrader, are all great ideas. It’s really important to take care of the car’s body and exterior, too. Because of road salt and our winters, our cars really need TLC during this time of the year.

Each year, the Department of Transportation applies a massive amount of salt to our country’s roads to help melt snow quickly and minimize slippery situations. By the way, when we say a massive amount, we mean a massive amount. It’s estimated that 20 million metric tons of salt is used on U.S. roads every year. For context, that is enough salt to fill dump trucks bumper to bumper for 8,333 miles! That’s a distance from Burlington, Vermont to Seattle, Washington, back to Burlington, and then back to Glacier National Park in Montana! Thanks, University of Vermont, for those fun stats!

As we drive, that salt is left hanging onto our cars and creates a ticking time bomb if not dealt with quickly. Why does salt hurt our cars you ask? Let us put our science hats on for a second! Simply put, the introduction of sodium chloride into melted snow significantly accelerates the rusting process of your car. As the salt reacts with snow to lower its freezing temperature, the material releases ions that accelerate the iron oxide process and can even become acidic when reacting with hydrogen from the H20. The culmination of all these ions mixing together is a chain reaction that ultimately results in fast-spreading rust covering the undercarriage of your car. That rust can cause both cosmetic and functional damage to your vehicle which will need to be assessed by a professional mechanic. Bills for this type of damage can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands if it isn’t caught and dealt with quickly.

We know it sounds bad, but don’t panic! Driving through the snow isn’t going to destroy your car overnight or even after a few weeks. However, consistently leaving the snow-salt slurry on your car’s exterior will ultimately cause damage and potentially thousands of dollars of maintenance in the long run. Luckily there are dozens of recommended preventative options to help avoid damage including getting your car waxed and applying anti-corrosion to the underbelly. Like most things in life, consistency is key to seeing results! DMV.org recommends getting your car washed consistently is the quickest and easiest way to keep that pesky salt off your car and we couldn’t agree more. Regular visits to the closest car wash nearby is a quick way to rinse away your troubles.

To that end, Rynse is here to help! Our new car wash club gives customers unlimited access to our entire network of different locations (yes, unlimited car washes) all for one flat, low monthly price. In addition to having many convenient express car wash options, our technology allows you to drive up to any of the car washes on our network, get automatically recognized by your licence plate, and drive thru – it’s completely contactless and no need to get out of your (warm) car.

Now, when it snows you can simply drive up to whichever location is most convenient for you, wash off all that pesky salt and be on your way. Trust us, your car will thank you later. No matter what you choose and how you protect your car, we hope you have a great winter season and stay safe out there!