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Harsh Winter Maintenence Help

688 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Andrew Caple
Hey all, as some of you know I am in Rochester, NY for college now. If you don't know anything about Rochester, know it gets a hell of a lot of snow! about 88 in a year I read somewhere. Alright, so now since I have been up here I see like 1 in 10 cars with the wheel wells chewed to pieces and rust. I assume it is because of all the snow and salt. Well my question is, since this is a daily driver, what can I do to keep my wheel wells and the rest of my car from being f'd up by the winter conditions? If your part of 3SI-R, awesome to hear from someone with the first hand experience, however anybody with ideas I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

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Snow does not cause rust, and neither does salt.

BUT, salt mixed with snow that then melts *does* cause rust.

So ... avoid driving in salt, and avoid driving in snow.

Given that that's not too likely, then don't let the snow/salt mixture melt on your car (e.g. don't park your slush-covered car in a heated garage for the night, because the slush will melt and start the rusting process. So long as the snow and ice doesn't melt, rust won't start).

Failing that, just be very vigilant about hosing off your whole car, but especially the wheel wells and the rest of the undercarriage, on a daily basis.

The good news is that we all have plastic liners in our wheel wells (about bloody time the auto makers did that).
The bad news is, this simply means that there are all sort of hidden places where rust can start and you won't see it.

So, wash your car as often as possible.
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Change your oil every month, regardless of mileage.
Not necessarily the filter, just the oil.

I know, this sounds retarded.

BUT, at the temperature range you will be sitting at, there is a great likelihood that your oil will seperate, leaving absorbed moisture as a seperate layer in your oil pan. If your oil pump sucks that up and feeds that to your engine instead of oil.....

There are a few cases of guys that this happened to, according to Dan (VR4SL) up in buffalo.

Given the semi-delicate nature of our TT engines, I think this is cheap insurance to prevent engine failure.

Hope you use conventional. It's gonna get expensive if you don't.

Good Luck at school.

(UB alumni)
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Elmo, what kind of oil are you referring to? I have lived in Rochester for 9 years, we simply put a 0w 50 or 0w 30 in our cars, although I might ad that our cars were driven daily. My Dad always started his motorcycle at least once a month, and put new oil in when the snow melted. If you are storing a vehicle, you need to put stabilizers in the fuel.
On the point of hosing off the car, that could be quite difficult when you have to shut off all of the outside water faucets so that they don't freeze, but taking it to a car wash at least once a week is a must. They have anodizing systems that run an electric current throughout your car. The good ones are about a hundred bucks but are well worth it. They do work, they use them on boats all the time. All they do is make an electrically charged piece of metal rust instead of your car. Then again... You could always just move south, thats what I did. :D
gte853y said:
Elmo, what kind of oil are you referring to? I have lived in Rochester for 9 years, we simply put a 0w 50 or 0w 30 in our cars, although I might ad that our cars were driven daily.
This refers to any oil. All oils absorb moisture to some degree. But oil doesn't freeze. So, when the weather hits a certain point, the water will 'sludge up' and float to the top as ice crystals.

This creates a seperate layer of water, when the ice melts as the car starts to run. If this is done enough, Water will form inside the pan.

BUT, reasonable running of the engine every day prevents this totally. The moisture inside the oil will be burnt off when it's exposed to the very hot internals of the engine.

At school, one tends to drive around once or maybe twice a week in the upstate New York weather, especially under heavy snow... and it's usually just to the mall, or market. If he drives that way, and it's not very far, and doesn't give the car a chance to warm up all the way this can possibly exacerbate the problem.

Driving daily, and making sure the car hits and holds operating temp for an hour or so each week, will prevent this. In any case, changing the oil once a month can't hurt, only help. ($10 bucks a month for dead dino juice is cheap engine insurance in my opinion) especially since it only take five minutes, since he doesn't really have to change the filter.

I remember how once November hits, you see the sun maybe three times during the winter. The rest of the time, Buffalo is this drab gray sky, or flurries block your vision of the horizon. I can't believe I survived 5 years of that weather. I'm NEVER going to go back there during the winter.....

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I figured I would be at the car wash a lot this winter to hose it off, thank god there is a car wash a block from the campus. I guess I can dig under my car once a month to change the oil, or take it somewhere :mad: and have it done. I make it a point to never make a ride to the somewhere short, but I figure in the weather here I will! I hate driving in the snow, thank god for the blizzacks to even make it possible though. But tell me more about this annodizer thing? Where do I get it, I don't understand how it can make a piece of metal rust but not your car. Maybe I am just slow, I don't know. But RIT is too good of school to just go south, though I could probably go to Virginia Tech and with the money saved on tuition by a TT... hmmm

You can get that rhino lining sprayed in your wheel wells, as well as anywhere you want it under the car. I know its popular to have that done in missouri as a family friend owns a shop that does that around here. He recomends it and i believe him. It is fairly cheap, and last the life of your car, and cleans easily.
(1) I think that Elmo's advice about changing the oil monthly is allayed by his later recommendation of letting your engine warm up thoroughly. If you simply ensure that you run your vehicle for about a half-hour or so a couple of times a week, long enough that it has reached operating temperature and had time for all the water vapour to get burned off, then my opinion is that you can skip the accelerated oil changes. Just be aware at all times that short trips are murder on your vehicle, and try to eschew them.

BTW, everything Elmo said applies in the summer as well as the winter. It's the smart thing to do, regardless of temperature.

(2) When I got my truck new in 1990, I took a gamble and had the Ziebart guys rustproof it for me. And I have not regretted it. Ziebart sprays on some kind of thick tar-like substance all over the undercarriage, which covers everything in sight, and is thick enough to resist small stone chips. My truck is still rock-solid (including 6 winters in Canada), at an age when the floorboards had long since rusted out of my previous car.

Now, this is all fine and dandy if your vehicle is new and rust-free, but I'm not sure it's a good idea once rust has started. If you have a rusty car and then you spray on the Ziebart crap, I think that all you've done is seal in the rust, and now you cannot hose it clean periodically. So while "Rhino lining" and such is a good idea for a new vehicle, I'm not sure that you won't actually be making your rust problems worse by using it on a non-new car.

But, then, what do *I* know. I thought the OJ trial would be about male/female, not black/white.
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The car is throughly cleaned in a closed enviroment, and everything is heated up to remove moisture. This is an all day process where as the spray on takes less than a half an hour. The shop here has a warenty where as any damage that happnes because of it they will replace free of charge. Im not sure if this goes under sealing the rust in...?
That sounds good.

I was thinking of horror stories I've heard from people in Canada who get oil treatments, and other such things, done to used vehicles, only to find out that all they did was make the rust inaccessible, and their vehicles rusted out just the same.

When I got my Stealth (with 7 years on the clock), I checked out the local Ziebart dealer here in KC, and they *do* do a rust-proofing for used vehicles, but they just spray the stuff on (nothing fancy like what you said), and, even more telling, they don't offer a guarantee on it (new vehicles only). Based on that, I decided to simply avoid driving the car on wet or salty roads.
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