Winter in New Jersey usually means occasional snow and ice. Yes, some seasons are milder than others, but in general, we will see this type of weather at some point throughout the colder months.

As we've seen so far, this year is no exception. We've already seen all types of winter precipitation as well as frigid temperatures.

And those temperatures matter, too. Especially when it rains just before a strong cold front arrives. In other words, a perfect recipe for black ice.

As a result, our roads get treated with salt, brine, and sand. And out of all those treatments, brine tends to be the most common choice in the Garden State.

With all of that said, it's still important to get your car washed as often as you can. Sure, there are days that are below freezing, and car washes close due to the temperature. But when the mercury does rise above freezing, you should get your vehicle cleaned.

Modern Brush Car Wash Blue Color Graded Concept.

Now it may seem illogical at first, but when you think about all the damage salt and brine can do to your car, it makes more sense to just do it.

Don Spiro, Getty Images
Don Spiro, Getty Images

The problem with road salt is this: it's corrosive to the metal on your car. Yes, the roads may be more manageable with the benefit of salt to melt the snow and ice, but it's like acid to your car's frame. And the longer road salt is on your car, the better chance it has to cause damage.

Now, let's say it doesn't snow where you are but the threat of a winter storm is in the forecast? Say hello to brine.

First Snow of Winter 2017-18
(Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Brine is even worse on your car for this reason: it can get into even more places than salt. What's more, brine is often the go-to treatment for the roads in New Jersey and is typically done ahead of a storm. The problem with New Jersey, however, is they'll go crazy with brine on the roads even if the threat of winter weather is practically zero. So even without snow, the brine will still get onto your car and eat away at the metal components.

OK, now let's think about this... It rains. Can't the rain just wash away all that salt and brine? Don't count on it.


Although rain is a great way for mother nature to rinse off your car, it won't do much for the underside, especially if roads were recently salted or brined. Those puddles you drive over most likely still contain a mixture of all those chemicals used for treating snowy and icy roads.

As a result, those chemicals will continue to splash onto the undercarriage of your car. For this reason, it'll still be a good idea to get your car properly cleaned.


Some might prefer to clean their own cars, which of course is always an option. But keep in mind how much salt and brine collect underneath your car that you may not be able to get to.

With that in mind, it might be a good idea to visit your neighborhood car wash.


A car wash is more than capable to get those hard-to-reach places on the underside, and will also do a great job getting that unwanted salt and brine off your car. There's also the added benefit of supporting your local businesses, which is another big plus.

Remember, though. Even after you get your car clean, you still need to watch out for one more side effect of all those chemicals. And it's a side effect that a clean car can't get rid of.

old highway with holes and snow. Landscape road potholes in cloudy winter weather. concept absence of timely repair of highway.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The dreaded pothole, New Jersey's least favorite menace on the roads. Even though we might not be able to do much about potholes, we can protect the investments that get us from point A to point B.

So don't assume your car won't sustain damage this winter from brine and salt. If temperatures are above freezing, take it to get washed.

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