There’s no question that salt on the roads can play havoc with your plow truck. Over time, rust can form, causing unrecoverable damage to the body of your vehicle. Combat this problem with a few solutions that PlowSite members swear by. There’s a few different suggestions — so see what works for you!
SnoFarmer: Road salt, an ice-melting substance, is often part of a sand mixture spread over roadways before or after an ice or snowstorm. This can lead to rust formation on the undercarriage of your vehicle. Rust can also form on any area of your vehicle that the road salt touches, and is even destructive to farm equipment and other metal machinery.
To stop the rusting process, you can neutralize road salt and remove it from your vehicle before it can cause any damage.
In a bucket, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a 1/2 cup of automotive wash and a 1/2 gallon of water. Stir the mixture, and apply the mixture to the undercarriage and any other areas of your vehicle containing road salt or a salt/sand mixture.
You can run this just as you do soap threw your power washer.
Then spray or rinse your vehicle with water to remove the cleaning mixture.
Dogplow Dodge: I use oxalic acid. Cheap, too.
SnoFarmer: I remember that; it looked like it did do a good job. I’m just not comfortable with the acid. Will it etch if not rinsed off?
I know we use all sorts of mild acids every day. Still… And most of us have some baking soda in our refrigerator that we could use.
Dogplow Dodge: I used half of the recommended amount of oxalic acid, just so it didn’t do any damage. It’s the main ingredient in Salt-Away. I sprayed the exterior surface of my truck and found no remnants of it. My paint is in good shape … No ill effects that I’m aware of. There are stronger versions of baking soda as well, but I would think it would leave a whitish residue, no?
SnoFarmer: The residue would continue to neutralize to a point. Salt spray is white and that will be back in no time… I rinse it and I’ve never noticed any.
I haven’t tried Salt-Away, and I’m sure you can find oxalic acid at the lumber yard. I’ve just never used it.
Jhall22guitar: I might have to try this this winter. I was thinking of making a spray wand with a bunch of nozzles that could be hooked up to our power washer at work and hopefully make a design that could be driven over (obviously no nozzles where the wheels would be passing) so that we could wash all the undersides quickly.
Brian Young: One thing I found over the summer at Lowes was a gutter cleaning wand. It’s about 6 feet long with a (roughly) 90 degree bend and comes out like a pressure washer. It would be an excellent undercarriage cleaning tool.
Join the Discussion on PlowSite: To neutralize road salt on your truck
Jhall22guitar: I will have to look into that. We have four vans, three pickups, a minibus and a Fuso to try and keep clean, and the towns love to use a lot of salt. We need something to get them clean but not take too long since we don’t have too much downtime and every department keeps their vehicles in different places.
Jaynen: I use dish soap and water, then scrub and rinse off. Then oil spray right away. Do it once before winter and once after winter. Messy job and a lot of work, though.
Indycorp: I own a carwash. Did some quick research. Kleen-Rite Corp. in Columbia, Pennsylvania, sells a Simoniz product called De Salt. It is an acid-based product. Ph neutral is 7. This product is 3.5 on the Ph scale — Very acidic. Using De Salt will bring magnesium and calcium chlorides close to neutral. I would recommend using the De Salt after each storm, then at the end of the season give our trucks an in-depth wash of De Salt, then give it a wash of baking soda (Ph of 8) to neutralize the De Salt. Using baking soda is a waste of time for initial washes or washes throughout the season.
John_DeereGreen: I know it’s an old post, but we just started using Hotsy Salt Lick. It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way and it flat out works.
There are also undercarriage brooms that your local pressure washer store sells, and they’re all over Amazon. We set a four nozzle up with quick connects so we can run regular nozzles, or switch two holes out for plugs and two holes for soap nozzles to spray the Salt Lick up all over the undercarriage.