New AAA report drives home Winter message: Go to the car wash

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MIDDLETOWN -- AAA Automotive Engineering has a new report out and, while the findings might not raise any eyebrows, the numbers behind the study will.

The AAA report finds that salt and magnesium chemicals used to treat the roads for snow can cause damage to your vehicle -- on a national level an estimated three billion dollars are spent in rust damage per year.

"The road salts can cause rust and corrosion that can effect your brake lines, your fuel systems, your exhaust system," said Amy Parmenter, from the AAA office in West Hartford.

The AAA report urges drivers to head to car washes often, and especially get their undercarriage washed.

"When you talk about getting a car wash, it's not just a cosmetic issue," Parmenter said. "you've got to get deicers off your car."

AAA said over the past few years, many state and local transportation departments, including Connecticut, switched from using rock salt to liquid de-icers to combat ice and snow on the roadways.

In Middletown, Matt Rook, who has owned A Marvelous Car Wash for 19 years, says business has been busy, noting that 525 vehicles passed through his facility this past Saturday alone.

"Salt eats cars," Rook said. "The most important thing is to wash your car and get the salt off the bottom."

Pothole damage is another issue to drivers, according to the report, they found that nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage that resulted in car repair in 2016, with the cost of repair ranging from $250 to more than $1000.

AAA said in order for this issue to be resolved, more funding is needed to keep up with the ongoing care of the country’s roadways.