Corrosion – Don’t Expect It, Inspect It

With several record snowfalls recently in much of the United States and Canada, one of the big hazards to watch out for in truck and trailer equipment is corrosion.

While many state, county and municipal road departments limit their application of chemical de-icers due to the environmental damage they can do, they’re still aggressively used at times during these epic winter storms. Chemical de-icers help crews stay ahead of the storms by keeping snow and ice from accumulating on roads, bridges and overpasses. Since these de-icers attract and absorb moisture from the surrounding environment, they can remain in a semi-solution state for extended periods of time.

So, while de-icers can help make winter travel safer, they can be bad news for you down the road. They cling to your truck and trailer’s lights, wheel ends, and suspensions, and re-crystalize as they eventually dry out. That’s how these de-icers can accumulate after each storm. Since they speed up the chemical reaction between iron and water, which causes rust or corrosion, removing them in a timely manner is crucial. You or your drivers should make arrangements to give rolling equipment more frequent washings between storms or as temperature and weather permits.

The Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations offers guidelines for truck washing and cleaning in Recommended Practice (RP) 433.

De-icers can also wreak havoc on trailer wiring. Brush up on the signs of corrosion or which lights must function in order to avoid citations or OOS violations.

Consider this – issues with brake systems and tires/wheels represented 42 percent of the top three out-of-service vehicle violations during the 2017 International Roadcheck held in June. Issues related to brake adjustment and lighting devices contributed to another 26 percent of OOS vehicle violations discovered in the nearly 41,000 Level 1 inspections conducted during the three-day enforcement initiative.

By taking simple steps now to inspect and quickly deal with potential winter-time corrosion, plus inspect brake adjustment, you could potentially remove as many as three-quarters of the issues that got commercial motor vehicles sidelined by inspectors during last year’s International Roadcheck.

TMC also offers the “Corrosion: Complaint, Cause and Correction Manual,” which consists of numerous TMC recommended practices pertaining to corrosion. It is a stand-alone product of TMC available through and by calling 1-866-821-3468.