The last five days have all featured a chance of winter weather to some degree and at some point in New Jersey, and though there have been no severe impacts, roads were pre-treated in many areas.

Those treatments help keep drivers moving if they need to travel during a storm, but can pose a danger to all motorists after the fact.

The "brine" that has become such a flashpoint for Jersey drivers in recent years is typically a rock salt solution composed of sodium chloride and magnesium chloride and is "very corrosive," according to Joe Erickson, territory manager for AAA's automotive services department in New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut.

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And the mixture can eventually corrode the underside of vehicles if it isn't washed away, Erickson said.

"We're seeing an awful lot of brake lines being replaced as a result of people not washing, not paying attention to the undercarriage washes on their vehicles over time," he said.

Erickson recommends making car washes a regular part of the winter driving routine, whether it's taking a vehicle to a car wash business or making sure a mechanic looks underneath a car when it goes in for service.

"Don't just have the exterior washed, have the undercarriage washed. The thing with brine is that because it's a liquid, it'll get into every nook and cranny in your vehicle," Erickson said. "The takeaway is that you should have your car washed at least every couple of weeks after a snow event or a road brining event."

There's no need to panic about this, Erickson said, just keep an eye on it throughout the winter.

And don't, if you can help it, do it yourself. If you do, make sure you're using the proper cleaning agents.

"The other important thing is not to use dishwashing detergent. Dishwashing detergent tends to strip the protective wax off of your vehicle," Erickson said, calling this "definitely a no-no."

A car scrubbed with detergent will certainly look clean, Erickson said, but the removal of the wax will only make it easier for brine to break down the metal on the outside of the vehicle as well, in the long run.

Finally, Erickson advises drivers to maintain their automotive health when the weather gets warmer. Don't get through the winter and then wait until November for another complete car wash.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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