Buying a used car? Winter weather can cause damage

A slushy mix of snow and ice covers the parking lot of the Pilot Travel Center in Decatur, Ala., after a heavy snowfall in the Tennesse Valley caused schools, businesses and offices to close, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. A record winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on north Alabama left roads coated with an icy slush that complicated travel Thursday, but rising temperatures melted away some of the problem. (AP Photo/The Decatur Daily, Brennen Smith)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This time of year in Alabama, it’s out of the ordinary to see salt or sand on roads.

It’s not something many of us in Alabama have to deal with often, but it could affect you eventually, and you need to know how to deal with it and check for signs of it before purchasing a used vehicle.

Salt can seriously damage your car. Experts at a body shop in Iowa where the roads are frequently icy say if the salt makes it inside a crack in your paint job, it will lead to rust.

Ryan Knoll, General Manager at Hawkeye Auto Body, says winter storms usually bring out the salt trucks, so owners should wash their vehicle after every storm.

“Especially the undercarriage of the vehicle. [It] needs to be cleaned by a power washer after every storm,” Knoll said.

Knoll says you should wax your vehicle in the fall and once during the winter months for extra protection.

If you’re looking into buying a car, make sure to check the previous registration to know if it has spent a lot of time on salted roads. Be sure to have a mechanic inspect it for evidence of road salt damage before you buy, Allstate advises.

In addition, consider having the battery and engine checked during the inspection. Severe cold can reduce the life and power of a battery. Cold oil pushing through an engine during startup can cause increased friction and eventually lead to needed repairs.

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