Ask any Minnesotan auto mechanic the least favorite part of their job an you’ll get one answer:


It’s simple chemistry – leave iron or aluminum exposed to moisture and you’ll end up with orange iron rust or powdery white aluminum corrosion.  The magnesium and sodium chloride used on our roads don’t help the situation – salt becomes acidic when combined with water (like in the salty brine sprayed on roads just before a storm), leading to accelerated corrosion.

Rust in Minnesota is pervasive – from the deep slush to the heavy salting of our roads, the iron and aluminum in your car is constantly fighting a battle with corrosion. You want to protect your vehicle from the salty mess that is the Minnesota freeway in January and prevent as many rust-related failures as possible, so what are your options? Read on.

Get a car wash if you’ve got a salty car

Salt Covered Car

Salt Covered Car

It’s pretty obvious – the more salt you wash off your car the less salt there is to rust it out.  By paying a little extra for the undercar wash you’re keeping your expensive suspension and engine parts cleaner, and rusty parts fail less. Making sure your car stays as salt free as possible, top to bottom, is the single best way to help keep money in your pocket.

Routinely lubricate your hood, door, and trunk latches and cables

A simple application of white lithium or silicone-based lubricant into the moving parts of your doors, hood and trunk displaces moisture and prevents them from binding up.  Almost all hood and trunk latch failures could be prevented by routine maintenance of the latch, release and cable.

Routinely grease your drive shaft and u-joints

We wrote about symptoms of sticking drive shaft slip yokes before.  They’re caused by binding, rusty driveshafts.  By keeping the internal workings of your drive shaft and u-joints greased you can prevent costly failures.  CARspec offers greasing of all fittings (as applicable) with every 15,000 mile major service.

Don’t park your wet, salt covered car in an above-freezing garage without a wash

Rusty Frame

Rusty Frame

The longer the salt brine stays wet and sitting on your car the more damage it’ll do.  Get a car wash before parking your wet, salty car for the night.

Inspect your brakes routinely

Brakes are easy prey for rust and routine inspection helps uncover and prevent expensive repairs.  Just check out this post on rear calipers from a Lexus – a little bit of grease can help prevent a lot of headaches.

Find a mechanic you trust and ask for their advice about what rust you do have

You’ve probably got rust already if you live in Minnesota (if not, congratulations on the new car).  Ask a trusted mechanic for their opinion on the rust on your current vehicle – replacing worn suspension parts like a rusty spring before it breaks is much cheaper than after.

As Eden Prairie and Chanhassen’s Toyota and Lexus repair specialist, CARspec is well versed in battling Minnesota rust.  Give us a call today!