By Dan Strumpf, AP Auto Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Got a scratch? You wouldn't put salt in that wound. And if your car gets a ding, you'd be wise to follow the same advice.
With snow and ice falling, trucks are spreading ice-melting salt to keep cars from skidding.
That same salt can corrode your car's body and undercarriage, turning nicks into nasty rust spots, even with protective paints and coatings.
Here are some simple, cost-effective ways to prevent corrosion during the season of road salt.
THE CHEAP SKATE
A garden hose and a pair of rubber gloves are enough to wash salt from your car. Simply reach underneath your car and spray thoroughly and deeply. Water alone won't get out all the dirt and grime, but enough of it will dissolve any salt and prevent corrosion.
"Your garden hose can be the best game," says Bill Moss, a longtime auto mechanic who owns a shop in Warrenton, Va.
The most important part of the car that needs protecting is the underside, where the brake line, fasteners and other rust-sensitive components are housed, he says."Rinse around the wheels and as much of the undercarriage as you possibly can."
Moss says signs of corrosion begin to show between five and 10 years of driving in winter weather.
One good clean at the end of the winter should be enough, he says, but several rinses throughout the winter can't hurt.
THE BARGAIN HUNTER
You wouldn't take a bath without soap, so it's understandable if a water-only car wash doesn't feel right. For those with a winter car care budget — but not a big one — follow the two Ws: wax and wash.