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Why you should avoid driving your car during the winter

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Why you should avoid driving your car during the winter

Old 02-22-15, 08:50 PM
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PaulH
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Why you should avoid driving your car during the winter

Worse than salt, brine sprayed on roads will munch your car to pieces - The Washington Post
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Old 02-23-15, 10:10 AM
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I would avoid being on the roads in general because this guy is out there somewhere (and others like him)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuTXUcoGdhw
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Old 02-23-15, 10:23 AM
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I wiped salt off my bike this weekend. My stainless steel spokes had the appearance of galvanized spokes. I suspect brine will eat through stainless steel, given enough time.
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Old 02-23-15, 10:30 AM
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"...and better for you as a taxpayer."

Some people just complain about high taxes not realizing the long term benefits. Others demand low taxes not realizing the long term costs.

I suppose someone at the government policy level had determined this was good for the automotive industry because it keeps the consumer's money flowing in the economy.
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Old 02-23-15, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
I would avoid being on the roads in general because this guy is out there somewhere (and others like him)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuTXUcoGdhw
The funny part is, if he would have just backed up a car length, he wouldn't have kept getting stuck on the snow in front.
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Old 02-23-15, 11:58 AM
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He obviously had no idea what he was doing, and getting super angry.
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Old 02-23-15, 12:31 PM
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No news to this lifelong Iowan. As soon as it gets above freezing, I'll be giving mine a bath.
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Old 02-23-15, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
No news to this lifelong Iowan. As soon as it gets above freezing, I'll be giving mine a bath.
I never wait that long... if it's too cold to use the pressure washer, in my driveway, I'll at least stop at the auto wash at the gas station 3/4 mile from my house, before parking in my heated garage. Although I've lived in the Great Lakes area most of the past 4 years, all my vehicles (oldies, 1985 to 2002) come from milder climes, and are basically rust free to this point, and I intend to keep them that way.
Regarding bikes, I'd never intentionally risk subjecting a non-fendered bike to salt-beladen pavement; and if that happened somehow anyway, I'd sure as hell give it a thorough bath at the earliest opportunity.
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Old 02-23-15, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool View Post
I never wait that long... if it's too cold to use the pressure washer, in my driveway, I'll at least stop at the auto wash at the gas station 3/4 mile from my house, before parking in my heated garage. Although I've lived in the Great Lakes area most of the past 4 years, all my vehicles (oldies, 1985 to 2002) come from milder climes, and are basically rust free to this point, and I intend to keep them that way.
Regarding bikes, I'd never intentionally risk subjecting a non-fendered bike to salt-beladen pavement; and if that happened somehow anyway, I'd sure as hell give it a thorough bath at the earliest opportunity.
Nicely done! I've always had this concern of building up a lot of ice on brakes and engine parts if I wash it below freezing. Not a problem?
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Old 02-23-15, 07:32 PM
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Well, inside the carwash is above freezing, and assuming you don't just drive your vehicle out and then park it outside and let everything freeze, I don't see any issue at all. If you can't park in a heated garage and therefore have to let the rinsewater freeze, you might have issues with your door handles, locks and the windows & doors themselves freezing on you. You'd also want to prop the wipers up so they don't freeze to the glass. I don't really see any issues with the important stuff like engine & brakes - they won't let surface moisture freeze in a location that under any normal circumstances it could be an issue. Realize that motor vehicles also are operated in climates where rain can occur during or immediately followed by freezing conditions.

Now if you're concern is about washing your vehicle outside when the temp is below freezing... you have to be judicious, lest you turn it into a giant icicle, immobilized until the next thaw!
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Old 02-23-15, 08:49 PM
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A bunch of hooey I think. We use both rock salt and brine throughout winter in MN. Our cars are not rusting out and I know there are a gob of folks like me who may wash once during winter and then again in the spring and keep it in a heated garage every night.

The Netherlands use nothing but brine on their bikeways and use quite a bit (just discussed at the Winter Cycling Congress last week). It works very well for clearing ice and snow and does little harm to most bikes (many Dutch bikes, like Workcycles, are made with stainless components to help prevent problems from brine).
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Old 02-23-15, 10:20 PM
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The article mentions magnesium chloride. This is the "super de-icer" stuff that you can buy, which claims to be effective at lower temperatures where regular salt (in common use, "salt" refers specifically to sodium chloride) stops working.

I'm related to a bunch of chemists, and grew up near Detroit, where people were often familiar with the auto and steel industries. The conventional wisdom was always that MgCl rusts cars a lot faster.

So there are two issues at play here: First, is salt applied to roads in solid or liquid form. Second, are they using MgCl, or only NaCl? I suspect the type of salt is more important than whether it's laid down as a liquid or solid.

If you're concerned about this, I'd suggest finding out whether MgCl is actually used in your locale. Your city engineer can probably tell you.

Transportation figures heavily into the cost of road salt for municipalities, so the choice of what to use may be largely driven by where you are in the country relative to sources of supply for the two materials. Using the more "effective" MgCl would cut transportation costs, but there's a finite supply of it because it's a byproduct of some particular industrial processes. Also, since MgCl is more corrosive, it requires different infrastructure to store and dispense it.

@noglider, stainless can corrode under the right conditions. It is protected from rusting by "passivation," i.e., a thin oxide layer that forms on surface. If anything can penetrate or damage that layer, then the material can corrode. In addition to chemical attack, heat (i.e., torch work) and mechanical stress can also create points where corrosion is more likely to occur. There are different grades of stainless, which also vary in their mechanical properties, so there may be a tradeoff between tensile strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance.

Edit: One thing I've noticed is that cars rust a lot less than they did when I was growing up.

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Old 02-24-15, 07:09 AM
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Better for you as a taxpayer?

No, what would be better for us as taxpayers would be to spend MORE money on deicing, and use the far less corrosive substances that are available. Sure, we will pay $100 a year more in taxes, but our cars will last 5 years more.

People just are incapable of thinking more than 3 minutes into the future.
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Old 02-24-15, 07:36 AM
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Strictly speaking, I try to avoid driving my car as much as possible in general, regardless of the weather or road condition.
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Old 02-24-15, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
A bunch of hooey I think. We use both rock salt and brine throughout winter in MN. Our cars are not rusting out and I know there are a gob of folks like me who may wash once during winter and then again in the spring and keep it in a heated garage every night.
I'm pretty sure cars last longer where there is no snow, and I'm pretty sure salt is a factor in that. Look at all the old cars in southern California that look new and haven't had any special care.
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Old 02-24-15, 08:54 AM
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The angry guy didn't realize he was high centered on the pile of snow in the middle, hitting his diffs. Was entertaining, but I can sympathize with him. I did that a few times in mud, then realized that a winch would be well worth the money. I no longer get stuck for a very long time.

Then he gets mad at the car, slamming doors and doing no telling how much damage to the electrical parts inside.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
A bunch of hooey I think. We use both rock salt and brine throughout winter in MN. Our cars are not rusting out
Well, I'm in Michigan, and my car is definitely rusting out due to salt. It stays pretty much the same all summer/fall, then when it gets into salt/slush season it loses another 1/4" of metal. Every spring I get to see how much of my car is left.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:49 AM
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AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

Learn some SCIENCE, people!* Brine is salt! It is no better or worse for your car than "salt" (sodium chloride/magnesium chloride mixture actually) since "salt" spread on ice will eventually turn into "brine" because that's what the salt is supposed to do...lower the freezing point of the ice and make it melt. That "brine" will splash onto your car's parts and do exactly the same as the 23% salt mixture sprayed on the road. It will sit on those parts and suck water out of the air. Then the chloride ions in the "salt" will start reacting with steel and aluminum. The higher the humidity (actual, not relative) of the area, the more damage is done.

Sodium chloride is bad enough at sucking water out of the air but mag chloride (magnesium chloride, actually) is worse. It can hold more water and is more difficult to wash away because it has a lower water solubility and it can from some interesting physical mixtures with surfactants. It is the material that make "hard" water hard. Sodium chloride is pretty dry here in dry Colorado where our relative humidity can be as low as 10% but mag chloride will suck water out of even our dry air and remain sticky on the driest of days.

*Not necessarily you, PaulH but the yabbos at the Washington Post should know better. Or at least have a science desk.
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Old 02-24-15, 10:46 AM
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@noglider, I agree though I'm not sure of the useful life of that 'longer' part. 30 or 40 years ago you'd see a fair number of 10-year-old rusted cars on the roads in MN that were still mechanically functional. Not anymore. 20 and 27 year old German and Japanese cars have zero rust on them. In another 10 or 20 they might but by then they're approaching or past their useful life. Cuba the exception.
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