Experts say beet juice is safe for vehicles

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Beet juice being used by road crews_24559

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Beet juice is being mixed with salt and brine to help road crews clear the streets of ice and snow this winter, but how safe is it for vehicles?

Youngstown State University Department of Chemistry Chairman Dr. Timothy Wagner said beet juice won’t cause a vehicle to rust.

‘The molasses, the molecules in beets, are not part of the corrosion process. You are using molecules that don’t increase the corrosion rate. You are replacing some salt molecules, which will accelerate corrosion, with things like molasses that don’t,” Wagner said.Wagner said salt is the culprit and increases the rate of corrosion or rust on a vehicle.

“First of all, your car has to have a chip in the paint. And that is when we start to see rust form,” Wagner said.

Wagner said exposure of metal to air causes problems.

“When, say, water splashes up onto a car, iron chloride leaches out of that oxide layer and leaves it more porous. Now you have more channels for oxidation or for rust formation, to happen,” Wagner said.Julius Oliver, owner of Kingly Hand Wash and Wax in Boardman, said it is not good to let a vehicle remain dirty.

“Any chemical that sits on a car, on its finish or underneath, has a tendency to etch into other materials. You want to be able to get that off as soon as possible so you don’t cause any damage,” Oliver said.

He said especially if a car is sitting out in the sun, someone may notice stains on their paint that can be tough to get out. Oliver said there are ways to minimize damage to a vehicle.

“Undercarriage coating to make sure we protect everything underneath the car, all the metal surfaces. The biggest thing is applying a wax to your car to make sure when the chemicals are sitting on your car, it is actually sitting on top of the wax instead of your finish,” Oliver said.

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