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  • Writer's pictureAutowash

MAGNESIUM MENACE! How to Stop Road Salt from Ruining Your Car

Toyota 4Runner full of magnesium chloride

WHAT WINTER ROADS ARE DOING TO YOUR CAR Throughout Colorado's winter, while we navigate roads made safer by deicing agents, a hidden menace lurks – magnesium chloride! Known for its effectiveness in melting ice, this compound, often used in combination with sand or gravel, is a double-edged sword. It improves winter traction as you drive, it is kinder to the road surface, spring vegetation, and animal life than traditional road salt, but it also poses a significant threat to your vehicle’s appearance and longevity! Magnesium chloride has damaging effects on everything from the paint and trim to the structural integrity of the frame, suspension, body, brakes, and exhaust.

Comparing the chemical structure of magneium chloride to sodium chloride.

A COSTLY CHLORIDE Magnesium chloride is favored by most municipal transportation departments for its lower freezing point and its ability to preemptively treat roads, but the very same characteristics that make it effective as a deicer make it cling tenaciously to vehicles. Over time, its corrosive nature can wreak havoc, eating away at the vehicle's exterior and critical components. This isn't just a theory; it's a costly reality. Research from AAA has revealed a staggering $3 billion annual toll on U.S. drivers due to rust damage from de-icing methods, including magnesium chloride. It's a wake-up call for vehicle owners: what's good for the roads isn't always good for your car.

Magnesium Chloride

DEFENSE AGAINST DAMAGE So what should you do to stop road salt from ruining your car? There will be a part of every year where your vehicle will be exposed to magnesium chloride. Whether you drive when there is ice on the roads or not, mag chloride is present! As the snow and ice melt the deicing agent is left behind, so those following weeks and months those puddles of snowmelt are full of corrosive chloride. Additionally, the moisture on the roads in the early morning or late afternoon, even after all the show is melted, is hygroscopic evidence that MgCl is still present. Its properties allow it to continue to pull humidity from the air, reducing it's freeze point and causing that moisture to accumulate on the road.

But fear not, for Autowash offers a host of solutions designed to mitigate, minimize, and prevent the effects of deicers. In our automatic touchless bays, vehicles are treated to an undercarriage bath unlike any other. High-pressure water jets, using 99.9% filtered, spot-free, heated water mixed with a specialized chemical, neutralize magnesium chloride's corrosive effects. This isn't just a rinse; it's a targeted attack against one of winter's most damaging byproducts that neutralize the residue, blasts it away with high-pressure, and leaves behind a light coating to help prevent future damage.

The battle against magnesium chloride doesn't stop at the undercarriage. Throughout the wash cycle, Autowash uses true spot-free, heated, water that is pressurized through dozens of specialized nozzles. With a precise amount of pressure, in a carefully engineered spray pattern, with just the right angle. This propriety system is the industry's most effective at blasting away any lingering residues from your vehicle's paint and glass without requiring brushes or contact. Coupled with our exclusive non-corrosive soap formulas, the Autowash process is a comprehensive cleaning for your vehicle that will halt the persistent threat of magnesium chloride damage.

In select wash levels, we finish the process with a protective layer that enhances shine and deposits a sacrificial barrier to shield your vehicle’s exterior in the short term from any potential magnesium chloride threat. And all this is accomplished without you ever having to leave the warm comfort of your vehicle!

Mercedes being washed at Autowash


Maybe you’re more of a do-it-yourself type of car owner. If so we have solutions for those who prefer a hands-on approach with Autowash self-service bays which are equipped with Mag-Away – a foam formulated specifically to neutralize and remove magnesium chloride. This isn't just another soap; it's a winter washer's secret weapon. We advise a generous application as part of any winter cleaning regimen, ensuring that whether you are just opting for a quick rinse, or are planning to maximize your wash time to clean more thoroughly, you can drive away with confidence, knowing they've taken a crucial step in preserving their vehicle's longevity and shine. Apply Mag-Away to paint, glass, and wheels. We even recommend you spray generously into your inner fenders to treat suspension, brakes, and wheels. Then finish your Autowash self-serve visit using the full complement of car cleaning options, including our Complete Crush soap, heated high-pressure water, and the same true spot-free rinse we use in our automatic bays to ensure a thorough clean.

Banner full of Autowash benefits


The battle against magnesium chloride is an ongoing, annual, winter saga so regular vehicle maintenance isn't just about aesthetics; it's a necessary strategy to combat the effects of corrosive deicing agents that can harm your vehicle's functional components. The reality is, that winter driving isn’t always safe and the measures used to keep the roads passable are a necessary evil we all have to face. Because we can’t stop the use of magnesium chloride the next best thing we can do is prevent it from harming the cars we love. Autowash doesn't just offer a clean car; we provide peace of mind and a line of defense in the fight to protect one of your most valued investments. So, as the snow falls and the roads are treated, remember that Autowash stands ready to help you keep your car in tip-top shape, and you should choose Autowash… Because you love your car!™️



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