Being native to the northeastern part of the US, the winter here is long and full of salt. As the cold salty roads approach, we all put our cars away for protection. But now it’s almost time to take our cars out again. Or is it?
This year’s winter felt like it had been one for the record books for most annoying. Our winters are not as severe as some other areas—this year we didn’t see any snow sticking past 2-3 feet— which may seem like a lot to those in warmer climates, but, trust me, it is not a lot. The New England winter likes to stick around just enough to dangle spring three inches from your face. With some days hitting the 60s in mid-February, we all thought spring was just around the corner but Mother Nature had other plans for us.
The winter months here can be deceiving, dropping temperatures into the single digits during what is supposed to be “spring” and keeping enough salt on the roads to leave most of us stranded to our mundane daily drivers. Even worse off are those without garage space to work.
Some enthusiasts choose to engage “winter mode” on their modified cars with winter wheels, tires, and ride height adjustments to avoid the dreaded daily driver type grandpa car. But when is it actually time to release your car from its winter tires or take it out of the garage?
Enthusiasts have theories as to when the salt is actually gone. Some say first rain in a higher temperature day, some say a time frame from the last salt. Although it may seem like overkill to some, salt in the northeast is not to be trifled with.
The salt used on roads can come in heavy doses when you aren’t expecting it. The rust belt in New England is very real and if you have lived in this region long enough and haven’t had the opportunity to see the difference from a warm climate car, I encourage it. The salt on the roads can come at night to simply prevent possible ice conditions for morning commutes. It can be very difficult to restrain yourself from driving your car on what may be a nice day and come to find out, after driving for 10 minutes, your car has a nice shade of white. It can most certainly ruin your day.
The conditions can prove abrasive for older vehicles or cars without undercoatings or other methods of weather protection. Even for your not-so-fun daily driver car, there are a lot of rust and rot issues you need to tend to. Suspension components can become brittle and weak over time, and body rot can take you by surprise. There are some good things to help prevent these problems. The road salt used is meant to be highly soluble in water, so things like washing your car, specifically underneath, can make it so the rust process is slowed. Spraying undercoating’s and sealants on any car or truck can produce some great results for rust protection.
We all just want to drive our cars year round, but still want to live in the beautiful northeast. But where’s the tipping point on the winter wait? Moving our way into April, it’s still cold and salty. Most stored cars, like mine, are still collecting dust until spring actually breaks.
Written by Nick Iosua.