Forecast – winter weather ahead
From cold temperatures to snow, slush and ice, winter weather can do a number on the roads and highways we drive on. To keep the roads safe for travel, our local road commissions do a commendable job of making the roads passable by plowing the snow away and applying salt to combat ice buildup.
While salt is good for breaking up and melting ice on the road, it’s not good for your vehicle. Highly corrosive, salt can erode key components of your vehicle including your braking system. Read on to learn what steps you can take to ensure that your brakes are in top operating condition for a winter full of traveling on snow and ice-covered roads.
Keep an eye on your brakes
Throughout the winter, monitor your brakes carefully for any signs of damage or wear. As you drive on snowy and icy roads, salt, dirt and grime can build up underneath your car. This buildup can affect all parts of your vehicle’s braking system. These parts include:
Check out this article to learn what to look for and how to perform a visual inspection of your brakes.
Also keep a careful watch under your car for any signs of brake fluid leaks. Corroding brake lines can leak, which can lead to a brake failure. If you see any leaks or detect any changes in the feel of your brake pedal, immediately take your vehicle to a mechanic who can diagnose and fix the problem.
A stuck emergency brake is something else to be aware of. Like the other parts of your vehicle’s braking system, salt and dirt can build up and cause your emergency brake to fail. If this happens to you, your mechanic will be able to get it working again.
What you can do
While you can’t control when the weather conditions will call for the roads to be salted, there is an important step you can take to safeguard your vehicle’s braking system. After a storm or driving on roads that have been treated with salt, take your car through the car wash to get off any salt buildup that may have occurred. Whether you go to an automatic car wash or do it yourself, pay special attention to the undercarriage of your car.
Be sure that the undercarriage and wheel wells get thoroughly rinsed off. Since these spots are closet to the road, this is where the salt has a tendency to build up. Doing this not only helps protect the important parts of your brake system but it can also aid in preventing unsightly rust from developing on the body of your vehicle.
Consult your mechanic for help
Salt buildup can get to the point that it affects the braking performance of your vehicle. If you feel like your brakes just aren’t working like they should, it’s time to make an appointment with your trusted mechanic who will be able to get to the root of the issue and get you back on the road in no time.
You rely on your brakes more than ever on when driving on winter’s snow and ice-covered roads, it is imperative that you don’t wait on this. Your safety and the safety of your passengers are at stake.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.