country road in the winter

Top Tips for How to Protect Your Semi Truck from Salt

Semi trucks look like big, strong vehicles, but road salt is a major hazard during the winter. As if driving in snow and ice wasn’t bad enough, the salt spread to melt ice and make it safer to drive can damage your truck’s transmission, suspension, fuel lines, brakes, and anything made of metal. We will explain how to protect your semi truck from salt this winter.

Why Road Salt Damages Trucks

To prevent ice from forming, salt lowers the freezing point of water. It’s often mixed with sand and other chemicals to improve traction on the road. This is better for driving but, because water doesn’t freeze as easily, the truck’s undercarriage is exposed to moisture for prolonged periods of time. When the oxygen in water and iron in metal parts combine, oxidation occurs and causes anything made of iron or an iron alloy to rust.

The salt itself ionizes when dissolved in water. It becomes negatively charged while the oxygen is positively charged, which is why iron conducts electricity and forms ionic molecular bonds so well. This causes faster rusting and corrosion than if the truck were exposed to fresh water. Unpainted, uncoated parts of the undercarriage are most vulnerable.

How to Protect Your Semi Truck from Salt

In most of the U.S., it is hard to avoid road salt in the winter. However, you can protect your truck in the following ways:

Wash Your Truck Regularly

Use fresh water to wash all exposed metal surfaces, including the undercarriage. You can wash your truck with a garden hose or take your vehicle to an automatic car wash that accommodates semi trucks. Some gas stations and body shops offer washing services. Just make sure the facility you go to doesn’t use recycled water, which can contain residual salt from other vehicles.

Wax and Oil Undercoat Your Vehicle

Wax is one of several sealants that provide a protective barrier against salt. Any type of sealant must be applied when the truck is clean and dry, or it won’t be effective. For the best results, wax your truck prior to the winter season, so no salt or debris get trapped inside. If you seal the undercarriage in wintertime with oil undercoating, make sure to thoroughly clean it first.

Protect the Interior

Road salt can damage the interior of your truck as well. It’s hard not to track in slush from your boots, and this slush contains road salt, which can melt and create stains on interior carpets and other surfaces. Rubber winter floor mats can prevent salt damage. Some can even be custom fit to your vehicle so the tightest corners are protected.

Install a Roadwatch Sensor

A Roadwatch sensor constantly monitors road temperature and displays it inside the truck cabin, along with the outside air temperature. Our RoadWatch Bullet senses a one-degree change in road surface temperature, in only a tenth of a second, and it alerts the driver if it is at or below 35℉ (temperature is sampled ten times per second). It installs easily on the truck’s mirror.

The Roadwatch Tracker system takes things a step further by tracking and time-stamping routes, along with road temperatures and treated roads. It also tracks vehicle speed and stop and idle time, and it uses real-time GPS data. This system is mainly used for helping operators use snow plow trucks more efficiently, but it is an extremely effective resource management tool.

frozen truck in the snow

Order Your Roadwatch Sensor Today

At Suburban Seating & Safety, we offer the complete Roadwatch Bullet Kit (in Fahrenheit and Celsius models) and a replacement sensor. We also sell the Series 1 Model Display Gauge, the Roadwatch Tracker System, and various accessories, including an RS232 adapter, mounting brackets, display mounting pedestal, and different sizes of extension cables.

Place your order via our easy-to-use, secure online shopping cart or call 844-727-7328 today for assistance.

Road saltRoadwatch sensorsWinter driving