Chemicals on the Road
By David A. Kolman
I’m one of those people who truly like winter weather. I used to enjoy it even more before all the diesel emissions regulations went into effect. To me, there was just something about the smell of diesel exhaust on a frigid day.
There is one thing in particular that I don’t like about winter weather: the anti-icing agents used to prevent or minimize the bond between snow or ice and the pavement surface from forming. According to the American Public Works Association, 70 percent of North American municipalities use liquid de-icers on highways, and many of these substances include chemicals that can greatly damage metals.
More and more, liquid chemicals have been growing in popularity for use in de-icing roadways. While effective, they can be highly corrosive.
Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years for preventing or mitigating the effective of corrosion caused by anti-icing agents.
Most importantly, be proactive. Regularly inspect your vehicle for early detection of corrosion, especially cables and wiring. If any signs of corrosion are found, deal with them right away before they become a serious problem.
Wash equipment frequently, as this significantly reduces the buildup of de-icing agents. Avoid power washing, however, as this can force water and de-icing agents into areas where they cannot escape, and this can cause corrosion.
Never puncture a hole in the wiring jacketing, as holes create leak paths for contaminates to “wick” into the wiring systems, ultimately “rotting” wires from the inside out.
If not caught and dealt with early, corrosion can have a significant negative impact on the overall life cycle cost and useful life of a vehicle.