Having your car undercoated before the arrival of winter is an effective way to reduce the risk of road salt leading to rust and an eventual large repair bill. The undercoating treatment involves having the vehicle's underside, wheel wells and other areas coated with a compound that repels salt. Once you've had this job done, it's still smart to take steps to avoid unnecessary exposure to salt to prevent it from possibly damaging your car undercoating. While you can't completely eliminate your exposure to road salt -- especially if you live in a climate with plenty of snow and ice -- there are certain changes you can make to keep rust away.

Wash Your Vehicle Frequently

While it might seem pointless to head to a self-serve car wash in the middle of the winter, doing so can help you remove any built-up salt that could pose a threat to your undercoating and eventually your vehicle itself. Instead of concentrating on making your vehicle's body panels shine, focus on the underside of the vehicle. Aim the spray nozzle around the wheel wells, front and rear bumpers and under the vehicle the best you can remove any built-up salt. Try to wash your vehicle on days that are warm or sunny, as the vehicle will dry quicker and prevent water from freezing and impeding your ability to open your doors.

Don't Follow The Plow

Some motorists follow the plow when it's on the road because they know the road behind the vehicle will be easy to navigate, but following closely behind this vehicle can be problematic. Plows often put down a layer of salt or even a liquid-salt solution, which means that much of it will be making immediate contact with your vehicle. It's best to find a different safe way to travel to avoid this unnecessary exposure to salt.

Sand Your Driveway

Sanding your driveway instead of salting it once you've finished shoveling can prevent excess salt exposure to your vehicle. Although your vehicle picks up salt on the roads, it doesn't need to do so in your own driveway. Even though salt melts ice quickly, focus on shoveling thoroughly and then adding a layer of sand -- which won't affect your vehicle -- for traction.

Steer Clear Of Winter Puddles

On mild days, you'll often encounter slushy puddles from melted snow. Try to avoid running through these with your vehicle. The puddle water will typically contain salt, which means that the force of your vehicle will send the salty water into the cracks and grooves throughout the underside of your vehicle, thus risking damage to the undercoating and eventual rust. If you have to travel through a puddle, do so at a low speed to minimize the splash.