How to Avoid Salt Damage to Your Vehicle

Maui is known for its strong trade winds as well as monster surf, and these two ingredients are not friendly towards our cars.

In today’s blog post, I will go over how to avoid salt damage to your car. I’ll also point out some of Maui’s more salt prone areas.

Have you ever been driving and enjoying the beautiful Maui view, and then suddenly swish, you’ve driven through saltwater? That rush of water you went over is not great for your vehicle. The saltwater will cause underneath your car to age and wear prematurely.

The best way to avoid this altogether is prevention. A lot of Maui’s roads and highways are right next to the ocean, but that doesn’t mean that the waves are constantly crashing on the highway. It takes certain scenarios for it to happen.

High Surf

During the winter months, strong storms send monster surf towards our north and west shores. These ocean swells turn into mountains of water once they come near the Hawaiian islands. All this energy rushes straight to the land and crawls up our shores. If big enough, they make it past the beaches and onto our roads. A typical location for this on Maui during the winter months is along the Kahului Beach Road. Large North swells thread the opening of the Kahului Harbor and rapidly makes it way up the beach and onto the road. If you hear of high surf or warnings for north shores, plan accordingly and maybe try a different route home.

Another high prone area for saltwater exposure is the Honoapi’ilani Highway. This highway hugs the shoreline many times. This highway is extremely prone to saltwater making its way onto the highway. All you need is a high tide and swish, you’re giving your precious ride a salt water bath. Besides high tide, in the March through September months, there are numerous south swells that push wave energy to our coastlines. This energy will thrust the water over sea walls and beaches onto our roads.

Common spots along the Honoapi’ilani Highway are right in front of the Ukumehame gun range, the snorkeling section of Olowalu beach, and between Puamana and Launiopoko Beach parks. These spots don’t need much to get your undercarriage salty, so try to avoid these areas as much as possible.

King Tides

King Tide Maui

One more variable to consider during the spring and summer months are the King Tides. King Tides are the combined effect of the moon, sun, and the rotation of the earth makes for a more exaggerated high tide.

Car Care

So you’ve driven through some saltwater; now what? When you get home or to your destination, let your vehicle cool down about 20-30 minutes. Then grab a hose and give your car a nice shower. Don’t forget to be very generous with the undercarriage of your car. The main areas I like to focus on are all of the wheel wells and the suspension components.
These variables on their own, or combined with a big tide can cause not only damage to your car, but to our coastlines. Please drive with caution.

If you know of other areas prone saltwater flooding please share in the comments below.