Metal objects will rust if introduced to moisture or water. However, salt water quickens the process.
Because salt water is more corrosive, it causes more damae to a car, both on the exterior and the interior, especially if it gets inside the engine. Salt water is more corrosive because it conducts electricity better than fresh water. When metal corrodes, what is actually happening is that it is losing or gaining electrons to/from the surrounding material, water in this case. When the balance of electrons changes, the metal atoms become charged and dissolve in water.
The Chloride in the salt water causes an electrochemical reaction which eats away at the metal. Not only can it cause corrison to the metal parts, it can also cause severe damage to the electrical systems. Using protective coatings can help prevent this.
This would also be most noticeable in the paint of the car. The salt water can eat away a car’s paint job, revealing rust and other problems. In general it’s best to keep your car away from salt water, and to try and wash the salt away if your car happens to get some in it.
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