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Old 01-06-2013, 08:32 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Painting the exposed aluminum components would be a good first step. There are many good products out there with the only downside of adding a bit of weight and most of them have weird colors (like baby puke green).
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:31 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I think the best thing is to not drive in the salt and snow. In all my years of living in Ohio, once the salt hits the ground, it is insanely rare to see anything exotic out, and I live in an area where there are plenty to be seen (for Ohio). I know I personally won't be driving mine in the salt for reasons mentioned. Plus normally when they are heavily salting roads, without a healthy downpour of rain it stays on the streets for a while. Then once its finally clear its spring. But say for the next two days where it will be in the 40s, if I were to drive around I'd have to wash it in my salted driveway, and store a wet car in a non-heated garage.. Guess I could heat it.. Just too much work for what its worth. My .02!

On the why isn't there a better alternative? Obviously heating every major road is infeasible. Salt is a more natural and cheap chemical that won't kill everything when it runs off into the ecosystem.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:39 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Somebody said "Although there is ongoing research into the use of alternative materials for winter maintenance, road salts continue to be the most cost-effective de-icers. "

And "Salt is a more natural and cheap chemical that won't kill everything when it runs off into the ecosystem."

Well actually no to both.

Salt is only cheap when you don't include the cost of the damage that it has done to our roadways, bridges, etc.
And salt does kill the vegetation by the side of the road, poisons the water, etc.

The plain fact is that the people saying it is "cheaper" is only cheaper to them as they don't have to pay the other "costs" which show up over time. Cars would last 3 times longer if they were not damaged by salt. With cars costing 15K to 100K, it really adds up quickly. I would love to see the the figures of decreased auto production and demand if we eliminated salt. I am sure the auto companies have such figures.

I have lived in Buffalo NY all my life (well I lived south for three years in the late 70's, missed the great blizzard of 77). We are well known for our snow and all that. Our bridges are destroyed, our roads are a mess and the ecological damage caused by salt is enormous.

We used to have a steel plant just outside of Buffalo called Bethlehem Steel. Very profitable, big employer. Everyone was sad to see them close. Not me. They closed when it became plain that they were using Lake Erie as their waste facility. If they had make BS pay to take their slag, pollution, and other crap somewhere safe, they never would have been able to make a profit, never would have been there and the lake would be a hell of a lot cleaner. But again this is our elected officials taking the "cheap" way and letting future generations pay for it.

Same with salt.

They should make it illegal to put salt on roads. Find something else.

To get back to the point of the first post. I have worked on cars my whole life. The damage done by salt to cars is enormous, complete and non reversible. My brother lives where they did not use salt for years. He would bring his car up for me to work on and wow, easy, clean, no rust and he would keep his cars for 12 years and they still would be clean. Since they started using salt where he lives, they are just like ours.

YOU ARE DAMAGING YOUR CAR BY DRIVING IT IN SALT AND ONCE YOU DO IT, THAT IS IT. NO GOING BACK.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:19 AM   #24 (permalink)
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If I didn't drive my car in the snow, rain and any other crappy weather you can think of .....
I would only be able to drive it a few thousand km per year.
If I keep the car for 10 years and drive it every chance I get then part it out for a few grand, my dollar / km is way way less then putting 20/30 thousand km in 10 years and then sell it as having never seen rain or snow I might get 10 to 15 grand.
That to me is a waste of money.
I guess you the same guys that put seat covers in your new car so the next owner has I nice place to sit.

Some people think its a waste to put our cars in car shows/drag race/modify/paint/add sound systems/TV's in the head rest, lol this one even I don't get...... but to each his own /I've read on here we shouldn't take our cars to the track for track days because we might crash!!!!!!
I don't get it its a car!
Its art.
Its transportation.
Its fun.
Its what ever you want it to be.

Sorry for the rant
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:31 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Rant is OK.

I am certainly not one that thinks of their Lotus as anything but a car to be enjoyed. Anyone that has seen my cars knows that.

My problem with driving it in the salt, (and my problem is only with the salt as I drive my cars in rain, hurricanes (like I did coming back from LOG in Orlando), at night with the deer out and almost any other condition other than salt.) is that whether it is my Caterham, my Elan or my Elise, they are not making these anymore. You cannot buy another new one. Well you can with the Caterham but at 3 times the cost I paid for mine in 1993.

Salt damages the car, ages the car at a much greater rate then what I call and acceptable rate of depreciation.

I plan to be driving my Elise, my Caterham and my Elan 20 years from now when I am 80. I would not be able to to that if I drove them in salt. I bought my Elan in 1986, or 26 years ago. I bought my Caterham in 1993. Elise in 2005. I just don't want them to rust into piles of scrap. That simple


edit....And I guess there is one large difference between me and the previous poster. And there is nothing wrong with either position. I plan to keep my cars forever, while the previous poster will sell his either for 15K after a few years or 1K for scrap and move on to another car. And that really is the bottom line. Nothing wrong with either scenario. Just that my ideas support my expectations and desires, and his ideas support his. Thus the end result determines how you play the game.
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Last edited by tvacc; 01-07-2013 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:54 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I think the best thing is to not drive in the salt and snow. In all my years of living in Ohio, once the salt hits the ground, it is insanely rare to see anything exotic out, and I live in an area where there are plenty to be seen (for Ohio). I know I personally won't be driving mine in the salt for reasons mentioned. Plus normally when they are heavily salting roads, without a healthy downpour of rain it stays on the streets for a while. Then once its finally clear its spring. But say for the next two days where it will be in the 40s, if I were to drive around I'd have to wash it in my salted driveway, and store a wet car in a non-heated garage.. Guess I could heat it.. Just too much work for what its worth. My .02!
That's obviously the same situation here in the neighboring state. I look at it the same way. After the first time they salt the roads they are no longer expensive play toy conducive until the spring rains have cleaned them off. Trust me, I hate it and really envy those that can enjoy their Loti year round or at least for eight months.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:06 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Hi guys.
So the elise has been in the garage since the first week of december, and I am getting the crazy urge to take it out, just for 1 quick drive. There is no snow and it is kind of warm (by IL winter standards). I know most of the car construction is fiber glass / AL, but would there be any risk of lasting damage (from salt, water etc) if I were to take it out for just 1 hr?
I take mine through the winter in Toronto. Naturally salt does eat away at the car. If you in the "garage queen, pristine" camp I would say to avoid the salt completely.

In my case I know that it won't last as long driving it through winters. However, if I get 10 years out of it before the salt kills it, I'll just move on to something else.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:11 PM   #28 (permalink)
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In one winter in southwest Virginia, I found it interesting how they dealt with the one big snowstorm we got (winter 88-89). They let it snow. When the snow stopped, they plowed. Once. They treated the roads with ground up trap rock. Since the whole area is red clay, the roadsides can always use more stone. The stuff is like quicksand when wet and like concrete when dry.

My Elise is in the garage till spring.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:54 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Don't do it! Sure there is aluminum and fiberglass, but if you look around there are lots of parts that aren't!

Also I have heard issues with galvanic corrosion, and salt might help speed that up. Galvanic corrosion is corrosion between two different metals - I think it could be prevalent between the steel subframe and aluminum chassis Galvanic corrosion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . I don't know if it would be an issue or not, but figure it is worth mentioning...
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:47 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Rant is OK.

I am certainly not one that thinks of their Lotus as anything but a car to be enjoyed. Anyone that has seen my cars knows that.

My problem with driving it in the salt, (and my problem is only with the salt as I drive my cars in rain, hurricanes (like I did coming back from LOG in Orlando), at night with the deer out and almost any other condition other than salt.) is that whether it is my Caterham, my Elan or my Elise, they are not making these anymore. You cannot buy another new one. Well you can with the Caterham but at 3 times the cost I paid for mine in 1993.

Salt damages the car, ages the car at a much greater rate then what I call and acceptable rate of depreciation.

I plan to be driving my Elise, my Caterham and my Elan 20 years from now when I am 80. I would not be able to to that if I drove them in salt. I bought my Elan in 1986, or 26 years ago. I bought my Caterham in 1993. Elise in 2005. I just don't want them to rust into piles of scrap. That simple


edit....And I guess there is one large difference between me and the previous poster. And there is nothing wrong with either position. I plan to keep my cars forever, while the previous poster will sell his either for 15K after a few years or 1K for scrap and move on to another car. And that really is the bottom line. Nothing wrong with either scenario. Just that my ideas support my expectations and desires, and his ideas support his. Thus the end result determines how you play the game.
it's sort of disrespectful to the car. New Hampshire brags about using more salt on its roads than all the other states combined. We're parked for the duration.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:05 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I started using SaltAway last year on my everyday drivers. While it does work, and I have seen how of works, driving a car on salty roads will put salt in places where I doubt you will be able to gei.t to it unless you had a way to evenly spray the underside of the car with the spray going straight up.
You can buy SaltAway from Amazon and West Marine.

I had a great hour conversation with the inventor. Stuff does work.
There is an easy way to spray the underside: I use a garden sprinkler.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:34 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Ok, so this is obviously a highly debated topic - and I'm bored watching this game.

Tomorrow will be 40 and pushing 50 on Wednesday. I want to drive.

We've had barely dustings of snow this 'winter'. There did use some salt, but I don't see a ton on the roads.

What's the official verdict? Does this corrosion thing happen as a result of repeated exposure or just the first grain of salt?

I really want to drive it this week.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:40 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Ok, so this is obviously a highly debated topic - and I'm bored watching this game.

Tomorrow will be 40 and pushing 50 on Wednesday. I want to drive.

We've had barely dustings of snow this 'winter'. There did use some salt, but I don't see a ton on the roads.

What's the official verdict? Does this corrosion thing happen as a result of repeated exposure or just the first grain of salt?

I really want to drive it this week.
Well if it is the result of just one time exposure, I expect many of us are already screwed, and if anyone lives by the ocean then its even worse. Your only going to live once bud, we may not make it to spring so I say if you want to take it out do it
Just try to clean it as best you can afterwards!

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Dude, if I lived in TX I'd be DDing my Lotus, too. Ya lucky bastard!
Haha well it is nice to be able to pretty much drive it year round, but man keeping it clean is a major issue at least here in West Texas. If I have the top off just for a day my interior is covered in sand/dust. Another thing is our weather is unpredictable. We had SOFTBALL sized hail stones last year, im on my phone otherwise I'd upload the pic. Luckily I was out of town for the day, but we get crazy weather.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:43 PM   #34 (permalink)
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yea, i decided the urge wasn't that bad, so I went to the garage, warmed her up, revved it up, revved it up some more, shifted through all the gears and the shut her down . I did get some looks from my neighbors since they haven't seen it before .
I'm getting a difflow 5-element railer jr in a few weeks so that would give me some 'lotus time' while i work on the install
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:58 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I almost started this exact thread... but I knew in my heart what this urge was really telling me. It was telling me next year to drive it more when I can. I packed it away too early and don't drive it when there's a chance if rain. I think I might change that second rule and just make sure to wash it if it does rain. Either way, definitely not putting it away til first snow next year, and every, EVERY, nice day I'm taking it out.

I still can't believe I check the forums every day in the winter. I need a dog or a girlfriend or something.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:51 AM   #36 (permalink)
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threads like this are why I store my car 45 minutes outside of Milwaukee, to prevent myself from being able to take it out : )

My advice would be to think ahead and plan a good salt-free route!

My second piece of advice would be to purchase an NB Miata for a couple thousand bucks and drive that around in the winter : )
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