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Uncle Sam Wants You … to Wash Your Car

If you live where salt is used to clear the roads of snow and ice, U.S. safety regulators have a message for you: Wash the underside of your car.

The message came Wednesday from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which closed a five-year investigation into rusting pipes that carry brake fluid in about 5 million older Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC pickups and SUVs, without seeking a recall.

Instead, the agency blamed the problem on rust caused by road salt and a lack of washing. It determined that it was not the result of a manufacturing or design defect.

The agency urged people in 20 cold-weather states and Washington, D.C., to get their car and truck undercarriages washed several times during and after the winter, and to get their brake lines inspected for rust and replace them if necessary. The warning underscores the importance of washing highly corrosive salt from beneath a car because over time, it can cause suspension parts, the frame, or other components to corrode and fail.

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-- The Associated Press