5 Ways Road Salt Impacts Your RV and How to Avoid Them
Alright, guys, if you live in a cold area, you know how much road salt sucks. It makes your beautiful RV look like it hasn’t been washed for years.
Aesthetics aside, road salt is corrosive, accelerates rust, and is generally nasty to your RV. And that’s not all; there’re plenty of other reasons you must avoid road salt.
In the guide below, I’ll share the effects of road salt on your RV and some important tips on how to prevent these effects.
Effects of Road Salt on your RV
Anytime roads get salted when it snows, RVs usually get coated with a whitish-gray spray that looks like a flocked Christmas tree.
RVers who usually don’t address this issue end up with a lot of rust problems. Road salt massively encourages rust.
However, it’s not like the salt will instantly transform your RV into a powder of rust dust blowing in the wind. Sometimes, the effects of rust aren’t visible, especially on the undercarriage, but with time, the results will start to show up on the metal surfaces.
Your RVs undercarriage is one area that bears the brunt of road salt damage. And unfortunately, this spot isn’t visible, so it’s easy to overlook and assume everything is fine.
However, it’s important to consider inspecting your RVs undercarriage because rust may eat it up fast, and in some instances, it gets so bad that it’s not worth repairing.
And if there’s a rubber undercoating, there’s a chance it’s already rotted underneath. The salt gets behind the rubber coating and rots the vehicle from the inside out.
The problem with a worn-out undercarriage is that it exposes some of the vital elements of your RV, such as the water, electrical, and fuel systems.
In short, if the integrity of the RVs undercarriage is compromised, it could be disastrous and pose serious mechanical damage.
Stripped Paint and Damaged Decals
If road salt is left on your RV surface for too long, it may create creases and cuts on the paint. Over time, this will result from paint chipping and erosion of the decal.
Of course, RV aesthetics aren’t a huge deal, but it matters if you need your RV to look nice, especially for resale purposes.
The chipped paint and decal are an eyesore and will make your RV look beaten up.
Brake and Fuel Line Leaks
It’s important to check the condition of your RV brakes for your safety. There’s even a further need to confirm the RV brake status, especially during winter, because faulty brakes can cause you to slip off the road.
Unfortunately, the presence of road salt can accelerate the rate of brake failure. See, when the road salt is left on the RV brake calipers for too long, it builds up into a hard deposit, eventually affecting the brakes’ stopping power and efficacy.
On top of that, when the salt combines with water, they create a corrosive substance, which may affect the integrity of the brakes and fuel lines. For example, if the fuel lines are affected and leak the braking fuel, the brake’s stopping power is ultimately compromised.
Damage to Other RV Mechanical Parts
In addition to the brake components, plenty of other RV pieces are likely to get adversely affected by exposure to road salt.
They include mufflers, coil springs, axles, and more. Any component of your RV that will come into contact with the road salt is likely to suffer from salt damage.
How to Prevent Road Salt Damage
It’s entirely possible to avoid road salt, especially if you’ll be using your RV during winter. However, there’re a couple of safety precautions you could take to minimize the effects of road salt on your RV.
Wash your RV Thoroughly
Rustproofing, undercoating, et al. help prevent road salt damage, but none of these methods are as efficient as a simple, thorough wash.
If you wash off the road salt timely, I don’t think any damage or harm would be done to your RV.
My recommended approach is washing your RV after every winter storm, particularly paying attention to the undercarriage.
However, you could also do it after every week if the conditions aren’t that bad. Road salt isn’t a magical chemical that will wear your RV steel components once it makes contact.
The washing frequency will depend on the conditions and how often you go out. But as I mentioned, washing my RV weekly in the winter months is usually sufficient to keep out the effects of road salt.
The problem with allowing the road salt to sit on your RV for a long time, especially in a moist environment, is you’re likely to experience some issues.
Use Spray Oils
The best thing you could do to your RV, especially before winter hits, is to spray oils that slow down the effects of corrosion.
And if your RV already has salt or brine, wash it thoroughly and apply the spray oils to stop corrosion.
If there’s light rust, you don’t even need to wash it. Simply sand it down and spray on the affected area.
If you’re concerned about the aesthetics and worried that the paint and decal would wear off when exposed to road salt, consider adding a ceramic coating or sealant.
Even wax can be decent for a while. While it won’t last all winter, it helps keep the road salt from digging into the paint.
Before winter, you could also consider cleaning, waxing, and adding plastidip.
I’m a big fan of plastidip because it allows me to play with the colors and do it on my rims too!
Plastidip is a spray-on rubber material that covers your RV and acts like a protective rubber. So, all the sand, road sand, scrapes, and other debris will accumulate on the plastidip, not your RV.
And when spring comes, you simply peel this shit off, and it feels like unwrapping a new car.
RV Driving Tips to Prevent Effects of Road Salt Damage
While road salt isn’t entirely possible, there’re a few driving tips and tricks you could use to prevent it from ever getting on your car in the first place.
Understand that road salt doesn’t magically jump off the road straight into your RV. In most cases, it’s usually thrown on your RV by spinning tires. Every car, RV, or other automobile driving on the same path as your RV sprays huge plumes of dirty brine off each of the four tires onto your RV.
So, here’re the tricks to minimize getting sprayed with brined:
Decrease your Following Distance
One of the helpful things to do when driving an RV is to decrease the following distance. 99% of the road salt in front of your RV is usually from the RV or car directly in front of you.
So, I suggest you hang back. It’s not only a good way to prevent the road salt from getting sprayed on your RV, but it also helps to keep the road wetness from getting sprayed on your windshield and hood.
On top of that, it’s wintertime, and the roads are usually slippery. Staying back may help you avoid instances of accidents.
Avoid Major Roads
The major roads, especially the highways, are slated more liberally than other roads. If you can find an alternate route that isn’t road salted as much, you could save your RV.
Plus, the alternate routes are less likely to have multiple lanes than the main highways, so there’ll be fewer RVs and other automobiles passing you, which means less splashing.
Be Aware of Snow Spots
You must treat the wet, slushy and snowy spots like road bumps. Avoid them if you can, and proceed slowly if you’ve to pass over them.
Avoid Going Out
Finally, if the conditions are worsening and you don’t think it would be possible to go out without splashing your RV with road salt, you could cancel the trip.
In any case, going out when the conditions are snowy is dangerous and may put you and your family in harm’s way.
Here’s everything you need to know about the effects of road salt on your RV.
While road salt is unavoidable in most cases, there’re several tips you could use to reduce the effects of salt damage.
As subtle as it looks, regular washing may go a long way to keep your RV from rust and prevent damage.