De-Icing Causes $3-Billion in Rust Damage a Year

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu
de icing causes 3 billion in rust damage a year

Rust damage caused by road de-icers is costing Americans $3-billion annually.

According to a recent survey conducted by AAA, U.S. drivers paid an estimated $15.4-billion in rust repairs over the past five years because of de-icing methods. The association also said 22 million U.S. drivers have experienced rust damage to their vehicles due to salt and liquid de-icers, with repairs averaging almost $500 per occurrence.

Making matters worse for vehicle owners, many state and local transportation departments have shifted from using rock salt to liquid de-icers in recent years. While the newer alternatives are more effective, they are more damaging to vehicles since the chemicals remain in liquid form longer and are more likely to coat components and seep into cracks and crevices where corrosion can accelerate.

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In addition, another AAA survey found that nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage last year, with repair costs ranging from under $250 to over $1,000. The possibility of pothole damage increases as snow and ice melt and roadways begin to crumble.

“While the application of de-icing salts and solutions is critical to keeping our nation’s roadways safe every winter, it’s important that drivers pay attention to warning signs that their vehicle may be suffering from rust-related damage,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This can be much more than a cosmetic issue, it can also create serious safety issues for drivers by impacting brake lines, exhaust systems, fuel tanks and electrical connections.”

Join the conversation
  • Eric Cameron Eric Cameron on Feb 22, 2017

    There really isn't anything else that can be used...need to lower freezing temperature of water, and de-icers are the only way. I think it's just a fact of life. I heard cheese brine might be less harsh on vehicles but it's nowhere near as good as salt or de-icer chemicals.

    • Jeff T Jeff T on Feb 22, 2017

      Lol I didn't know that about cheese brine. The smell would be interesting. You're right though salt is what it is.

  • Bondo Bondo on Feb 23, 2017

    On the upside I'm getting pretty good with a welder..