Automotive Spring Cleaning

The city’s salt spreaders used more sand this year and sprayed it with calcium chloride – possibly to cut costs – according to a Department of Sanitation driver. The 365 trucks traditionally carry rock salt or sodium chloride and sand on a one-to-one mix. Rock salt is still being used, but the new mixture of sand and rock salt, sprayed with liquid calcium chloride caused several local mechanics to recommend a chassis bath, to friends and family this spring.

One local mechanic demonstrated the resiliency of the new stucco-like concoction in the wheel well of a car in Maspeth, Queens.

“Salt is no good for a car,” said Bobby Genise, 65, who has been working on engines for over 30 years. “Watch this,” said Genise as he shattered the build-up with the handle of a rubber mallet. “After each snow fall, layers build up and the salt just sticks there and keeps eating away at everything.”

While the Department of Transportation claims the new mixture is less corrosive, local mechanics agree that the ability to build up on and stick to modern autos increasingly complex and sensitive electrical sensors has created a few new issues.

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