Cold-weather states that have to use a heavy dose of salt in the winter are sometimes referred to as the “salt belt.” Every now and again you’ll see a recall or investigation that is limited to this this specific region.
Understandably, the “salt belt” is also known as the “rust belt.”
“The biggest threat salt poses to a vehicle is rust, which is accelerated by repeated exposure to salt. Rust on certain parts of a car can create a slew of problems ranging from hydraulic brake system leaks to subframe damage.” — Accuweather.com
The states in this belt are, as you’d expect, found in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the upper Midwest. The belt, however, sometimes grows or shrinks depending on the recall.
The “Salt Belt” 21
Here are the 21 states (plus one district) that you’ll almost always see listed as part of the “salt belt”:
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington D.C.
Depending on what models are being recalled, Canada can be included too because, well … it’s Canada and it snows a lot there.
“Why isn’t Alaska on the primary [salt belt] list? Maybe Alaskans don’t like road salt. Maybe they just ride around on polar bears all winter. I’ve never been, so I can’t say for sure.”
Other states such as Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah are also sometimes considered part of the “salt belt.”
Why isn’t Alaska, our northernmost and one of the snowiest states, on the primary list? I’m not really sure. Maybe Alaskans don’t like road salt. Maybe they just ride around on polar bears all winter. I’ve never been, so I can’t say for sure.
The Reason For All This Salt
Salt is used on roads because it helps lower the melting point of ice, to a point. A 10% salt solution will lower water’s freezing point from 32 F (0 C) to 20 F (–6 C). But once it starts to get colder things get a little science-y and salt’s effectiveness starts to fade.
How Salt Affects Your Car
Salt has a nasty habit of finding places where it can do the most damage. Take that small nick in the paint of your car that came courtesy of a rogue shopping cart. Salt will nestle in past the paint, attach itself top your car’s exposed metal frame and eat that sucker dry. Salt will also eat through:
- Your paint, if you haven’t properly waxed
- Your struts and shocks
- Fuel tanks and other components if there are bad welds
- Brake lines and other good times
To combat salt corrosive awfulness, manufacturers will sometimes treat your car with anti-rust sprays, zinc-rich galvanizing compounds and rubberized underbody coatings that work … for a while. Sometimes you’ll even receive an anti-corrosion warranty with a new car that lasts a couple years.
Preventing Rust and Corrosion on Your Car
Your best bet is to wax your car before winter and then regularly wash it, when you can, throughout the cold months.
Some say that salt’s corrosive properties slow down once the salt dries into a crusty white dust all over your car. Those people are very wrong and you should never take advice from them again.
“Go through a car wash that has an under-spray,” says Manager of Vehicle Services at Firestone Complete AutoCare, Joe Roger “That will try to reduce the chances that all that salt and salt water will get on the vehicle and start to corrode.”
Salt Belt News
Buick and Chevy Vehicles Recalled For Corroded Toe Links GM recalls 222,000 Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal and Chevy Malibu vehicles in salt-belt states.
— Buick and Chevrolet rear toe links have caused a recall of nearly 222,000 vehicles, but only in areas where cold weather requires the use of road salt or other deicing agents. The General Motors recall includes these models. 2012-2013 Buick Regal 2010-2013 Buick LaCrosse 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Those recalled models were sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, ...
Honda Driveshaft Recall Follows 152 Warranty Claims Acura ILX, ILX Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid and Honda Fit vehicles need new driveshafts.
— Acura and Honda driveshaft problems have caused a recall of 210,000 of these vehicles if they were originally sold or ever registered in certain salt-belt areas. 2013-2015 Acura ILX 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid 2007-2004 Honda Fit The vehicles are recalled in Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, ...
Honda Accord Driveshaft Recall Issued Due To Corrosion Honda recalls 220,000 Accords in areas where road salt causes corrosion and broken parts.
— A Honda Accord driveshaft recall includes about 220,000 cars with driveshafts that could corrode and break. The 2013-2015 Honda Accord driveshaft recall affects cars originally sold or ever registered in these states where road salt is used. Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, ...
Ford Explorer Toe Link Recall: 13 Crashes, 6 Injuries Ford recalls 375,000 Explorers that were allegedly repaired during a previous toe link recall.
— A Ford Explorer toe link recall for more than 375,000 SUVs is necessary even though the Explorers were allegedly repaired in a 2019 recall. The 2013-2017 Ford Explorers were sold in certain areas where corrosion is common due to road salt, but Ford didn't explain which areas are affected. But the automaker did say the Explorers experienced fractured rear suspension toe links after dealerships performed repairs during the previous recall . A busted toe link ...
Mitsubishi Crossmember Recall Includes Lancers and Outlanders Mitsubishi recalls 141,000 vehicles to prevent the lower control arms from detaching due to rust.
— A Mitsubishi front crossmember recall for more than 141,000 vehicles has been issued for specific states that use road salt in the winter months. The crossmember recall includes 2008-2010 Lancer, 2010 Lancer Sportback, 2008-2013 Outlander and 2011-2016 Outlander Sport vehicles originally sold in or ever registered in the following states. Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, ...