Cold Weather

Do the cars in snow country like in such places as Canada, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Do the cars wear out prematurely over there because of the cold? Do such cars need more servicing somehow? Even if some
owners use engine block heaters wont they still have more frequent transmission problems, chassis issues and all other drivetrain problems?
East-
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No, the longevity of a vehicle has nothing to do with the weather. As always, it boils down to how well the car is maintained. HOWEVER, a poorly maintained vehicle will rust a lot faster if driven in areas where lots of salt is used on the highways in the winter. Northern cars that are not properly maintained tend to be junked earlier than necessary due to the simple rusting away of body panels. That is, there might be a lot of life left on the engine, tranny, suspension, etc., but the owner gets rid of the thing because it is ugly as Hell. -Dave
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Yeah, there comes a point when looking down makes you feel like Fred Flintstone... Cars are more corrosion resistant than in days of yore, and some places are getting away from the use of rock salt due in part to its environmental impact, but they still get to looking rougher, sooner, and need more underbody repairs, under those conditions.
Such winters also take their toll on the pavement and thence your tires and wheels and suspension. There's also a lot more chance of bad luck coming your way in the form of a skidding driver, a snowplow operator whose intentions are better than his aim, glare ice under your own tires, etc.
Some people up there keep a decrepit old car as a "winter beater" and leave their fine ride in the garage from the first winter storm until the city throws some tar into the potholes in the spring. The original poster should rent a Chuck Norris movie called "Code of Silence" for a slightly exaggerated but basically instructive look at this approach. --Joe
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"The original

wow a chuck norris referance in an automotive post, how great is that
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Wellllll, I'm going to go out on a limb and I'm reasonably sure you have two replies from those that don't live HERE....
As far as late model Fords are concerned, we are seeing higher reliable miles than ever in the past.... Old technology motors would suffer (what I feel is) premature wear due to poor oiling on a cold start.... FWIW, -30C (-22F) is a normal January day... However, in spite of the new manufacturing technology and current oil requirements (and qualties), I am sure that those in more moderate climes are getting superior service life compared to my experience. OTOH, those in extreme hot areas (comparatively) may also suffer from advance failures/wear caused by their operating conditions.
As for rust.... around the "Lakehead" (southern Ontario, primarily) and the eastern seaboard (much more snow, etc. than the west), there is a heavy reliance on salting the roads.... Salt/sand content is top heavy on salt.... Given the more moderate temps in these areas, the weather rarely gets cold enough to keep the salt from "working". At -30C, salt approaches an "inert" condition and can no longer work it's "magic".
An Alberta car that is parked outside all winter will usually take a while to rust.... Parked in a very warm garage, the salt laden snow will fall from the chassis farily quickly and it will take a while to rust.... Parked in a "cool" garage, the snow and ice can remain packed around chassis components at a temperature warm enough for the salt to "work".
It is not just "snow".... a host of conditions need to be considered that make up our climate demographic. For my immediate area, it is wise to consider it a "severe service" area and service the vehicle appropriately.... FWIW, "Normal" service considerations aren't all that "normal" and the majority of motorists do fall within the severe service guidelines - unless they fudge numbers (try that with the tax man).

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Jim Warman wrote:

Actually, getting below the freezing point of water with NaCl (salt) in it is what happens. This is around 15 F or about -10 C. Maybe you're thinking of CaCl2 'salt' that has a much lower freezing point in water solution. It's what's used inside tractor tires for this reason.

Well, the main factors here are salt and *liquid* water together on a ferrous surface. Solid water (ice) will not cause rusting nor will dry salt. Remember, though, that dry salt is hygroscopic. It will combine with water vapor in the air. If there is essentially none available because of the cold, it stays dry and harmless. In the first case, you may be accelerating rusting because you're getting the car warm enough to produce liquid water where it might remain dry outside. Sitting outside depends mostly on the ambient temperature and humidity. The last scenario is probably the worst of the three. -- C.R. Krieger (BMW driving enthusiast)
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To be honest, I wouldn't know salt from calcium chloride if it removed my wienie... what is applied to our roads comes from salt "wells".... In addition to petroleum products, our area is rich in underground salt deposits.... Wells are drilled (often delivering unwanted natural gas - they are drilling for salt and natural gas isn't in the licence agreement), water is pumped in and saline is pumped out.... Sifto is big in Saskatchewan and Canadian Salt company has a facility at Lindberg, Alberta (interestingly, these are described as "solution mines").
Both of these facilities supply both iodized "food" salt, cattle licks, road salt and boiler salt (for water softener)....
After that, I turn back into a mechanic that has seen what happens to a car in Alberta....
Jim Warman wrote:

Actually, getting below the freezing point of water with NaCl (salt) in it is what happens. This is around 15 F or about -10 C. Maybe you're thinking of CaCl2 'salt' that has a much lower freezing point in water solution. It's what's used inside tractor tires for this reason.

Well, the main factors here are salt and *liquid* water together on a ferrous surface. Solid water (ice) will not cause rusting nor will dry salt. Remember, though, that dry salt is hygroscopic. It will combine with water vapor in the air. If there is essentially none available because of the cold, it stays dry and harmless. In the first case, you may be accelerating rusting because you're getting the car warm enough to produce liquid water where it might remain dry outside. Sitting outside depends mostly on the ambient temperature and humidity. The last scenario is probably the worst of the three. -- C.R. Krieger (BMW driving enthusiast)
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