Weekly auto rail, with a look at de-icers, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week

Salt, sand and liquid de-icers are applied routinely to improve road conditions. As you drive your car on those products, you can be thankful that they are readily available and working hard to keep you safe. But does this safety come at the expense of your car?

At extreme cold temperatures, sometimes the only thing that can add traction to a slick road is sand. Although beneficial, sand can create tiny chips in a vehicle's paint and undercarriage. De-icing products can get into these exposed areas and accelerate rust and corrosion. Fortunately, additives are available that reduce the corrosiveness of winter deicing practices. In some areas, state departments of transportation and public works agencies use de-icers that are 70 percent less corrosive than regular salt. These de-icers contain corrosion inhibitors made with molasses, corn syrup and other organic agricultural products, as well as some inorganic products. When deicing products come in contact with steel, oxygen is needed for rust to form. Sugar molecules are oxygen scavengers, and by reducing the oxygen, corrosion is reduced substantially. Even beet juice has been used in some cases, but its low sugar content makes it less effective than most other products.

- ARA

The List

Allstate recently published a list of safest drivers by Zodiac sign. Here’s the list, from best to worst:

- Scorpio
- Ophiuchus
- Cancer
- Aquarius
- Libra
- Aries
- Capricorn
- Gemini
- Sagittarius
- Pisces
- Taurus
- Leo
- Virgo

Did You Know

U.S. auto sales of cars and light trucks in January were up 17 percent from January 2010’s numbers.

Car Q&A

Q: I own two Acura TLs. One is a 2005, the other is 2009. They both have the same power window problem. The windows do not go up properly with the push of the button. I called the dealer, and they said both cars would need new window motors at a great expense.

A: Before you spend any money replacing window motors, lubricate the window rubber channels with a silicone spray. We use a Ford lubricant called Mini-vent window lubricant. It comes in a 4-ounce plastic container and costs around $15 and is worth every penny. We also use it on a lot of problem Honda windows.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service