The main cause of corrosion is the frequent use of liquid de-icers during the winter months. The battle with ice and snow and keeping roads safe for travel returns every year. The properties that make these chemicals effective in keeping roads clear are the same characteristics that make them so destructive. Here are some tips to help keep corrosion from destroying your trucks and trailers:
Research and use corrosion-resistant parts
- Look for parts that have corrosion resistant coatings
- Consider using stainless steel parts when available, they will be much more resistant to corrosion
- Use premium wiring systems, good systems use sealed wiring connectors
- Opt for full fenders and fender liners when available.
- Consider upgrading to premium brake shoes that have rust-proofing or epoxy coatings
- Always make sure brake dust shields are used and in good shape
- Use rubber floor mats to keep your floorboards protected
- Minimize combinations of dissimilar metals, like steel and aluminum, which actually promote corrosion themselves.
- Insulate dissimilar metals when there are no other options, for example, you can use anti-seize on any bolts that thread into aluminum to prevent seizing due to corrosion.
- Wash trucks and trailers frequently and thoroughly, focus especially on the underside of fenders and the chassis when washing.
- Try to wash at least every 10 days and do it on days that are over 40 degrees if possible, adding baking soda to warm water helps
- Hose out the radiator and AC condenser regularly during the winter months.
- Clean out electrical connectors during the winter months with water and a wire brush, after cleaning always use dielectric grease.
- Inspect brake shoes and linings often. Remove brake drums so the entire lining surface and the brake shoe web, rollers and cam can be inspected.
- Use rust-proof paint or epoxy coating on brake shoes when replacing.
- Repair paint chips ASAP, don’t drill any unnecessary holes and paint the edges of holes you must drill.
- Wax polished aluminum and stainless steel accessories, especially the wheels.
- Use plenty of mud flaps and keep them in good shape to help minimize salty spray.
- If parts ever need to be repainted, have them painted and coated by a professional who uses corrosion resistant products.
- Don’t probe through the insulation around wires when testing because it can open up the area to corrosion.
- Clean up battery, starter, and alternator posts and protect the terminals with anti-corrosive spray.
- Always use anti-seize or another protectant on the threads of bolts wherever applicable.
The importance of road safety does outweigh the downside to salt and liquid de-icing solutions corrosive impact upon vehicles. Luckily, by following these tips and keeping a regular routine of maintenance and prevention, the damaging effects of salt can be minimized and mostly avoided.