Minimizing damage from road salt

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GRAND CHUTE, Wisc. (WBAY) - It's that time of year in Wisconsin when many of us are dealing with salt encrusted cars.

Fire truck pulling into fire station
Firefighters rigged up a device to give a fire engine an undercarriage wash as it pulls in to the Grand Chute Fire Dept. (WBAY photo)

That corrosive salt also creates an obstacle for Grand Chute Fire Department to get its money worth out of its machines.

"New truck can cost $500,000 to $750,000. We want to be good stewards of the taxpayer's money," said Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schommer.

It tries to use these trucks for 15 to 20 years.

That's why the department has rigged up a device to wash away that hard-to-reach salt underneath.

"Even though all of our trucks are rust proof, we still are very proactive, trying to keep the rust and salt off as much as we can," said Schommer.

Local auto repair shops are reminding drivers of how corrosive that salt can be.

"An eight- or ten-year-old vehicle can be deemed un-repairable, darn near," said Dave Zentner, owner of Zentner’s Auto Body.

Causing more damage than just some rust spots on your car's body.

"Steel structure, brake lines, gas lines, gas tanks," said Zentner.

To reduce the damage, Zentner's says rust proofing your car is an option.

Plus, it's a good idea to wash your car, including the underside, a couple of times a month.

Tuesday, the lines were long at PDQ Car Wash in Grand Chute.

"It's a very popular times of the year. We wash a lot of cars in the winter," said Justin Knitt of PDQ.

PDQ says it offers an undercarriage wash in most of its wash packages.

"It's a warm wash water solution, we spray on the bottom," said Knitt.

Zentner says you should also be sure to flush the salt away after the winter season is over.

"I mean, if they want it to last, it's got to get washed off or it's going to continue to eat at it all summer with rains," said Zentner.

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