Road treatments in snow can wreak havoc on vehicles, Sioux Falls talks alternative treatments

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Calcium chloride and sodium chloride -- rock salt -- treatments are really bad for your car, the road and the environment.

Many states are turning to alternative treatments including beet juice, pickle brine and one city is Wisconsin even tried cheese brine.

The City of Sioux Falls says it's tried alternative, natural treatments but right now, the treatment they're using is working well.

"The one that's worked best for us and we're still working with is the liquid calcium chloride with a corn base added to it," Galynn Huber, the streets supervisor for Sioux Falls, said.

Huber said even though that's the best one they've found, they have tried some of those alternatives, including beet extract, potato extract and even sugar cane. None of them have worked out very well.

"In the city we use quartz rock that we mix in with our concrete and with our asphalt," Huber said. "Quartz rock is very dense and won't absorb liquid."

Huber said he's willing to try other natural additives if they're working elsewhere, but in the meantime, you'll need to take care of your car when rock salt gets all over it.

"If you leave it on there that's where you're gonna see it eventually start eating away at the vehicle," Rich Larson, owner of Law Motors in Sioux Falls said.

If you leave it on there, Larson said there are several issues you could have, the paint could start chipping, or worse, your car could rust.

"The chemicals actually eat right through the body side of the car and give you those rust holes," Larson said.

Larson said rust can significantly lower the value of your vehicle if you're looking to trade in or sell. So how can you prevent it? Wash your car.

"The best thing to do is to do it the old-fashioned way. Get out the wand and get under your car and reach the wheel wells and spray that out," Larson said. "And even though some of the automatic car washes say they're doing that for you, that's not the case."

Larson said if you can't wash your car at home, you should take it to a car wash staffed with people who are actually washing your vehicle, rather than an automated car wash -- that way you can ask them to get those tough spots under your car.

He also said a great way to maintain your car is to get it professionally detailed once or twice a year.