Why Washing Off Road Salt May Save Your Car and Our Planet

If you’re like us, you look forward to ski season, but the drive to the mountains can be pretty sketchy when a storm comes in. That’s where a chemical called Magnesium Chloride is applied to the road to minimize icy conditions. But, what are the effects of Magnesium Chloride on our environment and our cars?

Why Use Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2) is used at the onset of a winter storm as a preventative roadway treatment. This prevents ice from building up on the roads, ensuring that our cars can travel safely upon them. It’s also been proven to be the most effective treatment compared to sand and other road salts. MgCl2is applied in liquid form making it easier to spread and more likely to stay put.

How Magnesium Chloride Affects our Environment

Many speculate on the negative environmental effects caused by MgCl2. Some counties, including Basalt, Aspen, and Summit, have banned the use of MgCl2 due to environmental and safety concerns. Here in Denver, however, it is still used heavily as a de-icer.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) claims that MgCl2 “does not significantly harm aquatic or plant life”.  According to a study completed by CDOT in 2001, the health and environmental effects of MgCl2 are difficult to determine. In sum, the toxicity levels may have harmful effects on aquatic and wildlife, but the actual impact has yet to be determined.

How Magnesium Chloride Affects our Cars

Driving on roads covered with MgCl2 means that the undercarriage of our vehicles are also covered with it. MgCl2 is a corrosive substance, eating away at the metal and plastic components, paint, and rubber. That’s why it’s important to wash your car immediately after driving on treated roads. Leaving MgCl2 on your vehicle can inflict serious damage to the structure and safety of your car.

MgCl2 may be great at keeping us safe when we are traveling on treacherous winter roads, but there are negative environmental effects and vehicular damage to consider. Washing MgCl2off your car is an important step to keeping you and your family safe, as well as limiting your negative impact on the environment.

Undercarriage Treatment at Gleam

Gleam has taken extra consideration to protect your car from these harmful chemicals used in Colorado during winter months. Unlike most car washes, Gleam uses a two-step process to make sure your undercarriage is safe from the nasty road salts you gather on the roads. First, we apply a high pressure rinse to flush your entire underbody. Then, we put on a low pressure application with a “rust inhibitor” to protect it on your next mountain trip.

Keep your car clean of harmful chemicals used to de-ice the road. Check out our Endless Pass options and wash your car as much as you need each month.

Learn more about Gleam’s mission to keep our planet green.