The Most Important Thing in the World . . .

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If you want your car to last as long as possible – if you want it to deteriorate as slowly as possible – there is one “secret” that will make it so.

Keep it garaged.

Keep it out of the weather.

Maintain its temperature.

This latter is as least as important as the former. In part, because so much of your car – of it’s a newer car – is made of plastic – and all cars have lots of rubber parts and both of these wear out faster when they are subjected to regular cycling between very hot – when the car is in use – and then very cold, when it is left sitting outside all night in the winter. Plastic and rubber become brittle, sooner. When they do, they tend to shrink and crack.

Many people do not know it but it’s not just trim – and headlight assemblies – that are lately made out of plastic. Engine parts – such as intake manifolds – are commonly made of plastic, too. And that plastic isn’t inexpensive.

Well, it isn’t inexpensive to replace it.

Things made out of rubber – such as hoses (and tires) also wear out faster when left outside like a stray cat. Tires are expensive. Prematurely aged – and prone to burst – hoses are a hassle.

And if you have or are thinking of buying an electric car, you might want to think about the effect – on the battery – of leaving it outside in the cold.

Batteries lose capacity in the cold – all batteries. It is why it is harder to start a non-electric car on a very cold day (that plus the cold’s effect on the oil, which thickens when it gets very cold, increasing the effort required to spin the engine to get it running). But electric car batteries lose range in the cold, too – as well as the heat of summer – because their temperature must be maintained within a certain fixed range, to prevent them from “bricking” or being rendered incapable of receiving a charge.

Or overheating – and erupting in flames.

This takes electricity – which taken from the battery, to maintain itself. Which means you’ll have less charge (and so, range) assuming you’re not plugged in.

It’s a long way from the curb to an outlet, too.

This is something mot advertised – for reasons that ought to be obvious – yet it is something you should be aware of.

If you haven’t got a garage.

Being outside also accelerates rust. Especially the rusting out of steel brake and fuel lines, power steering fittings and all the fasteners under the hood and underneath your car, such as the ones securing shocks/struts and brake calipers and so on – which may prove impossible to remove when you need to or will snap off when you try to.

People don’t think much about fuel and brake line rust – but they should.

A car can be mechanically sound in its essentials – its engine and transmission, etc. – but a serial repair hassle when its brake/fuel lines rot away. It is a huge pain-in-the-you-know-where to replace these lines, which are bent to fit, with curves and angles that are hard for the non-expert to replicate and hard to install, regardless.

Most car companies do not use stainless steel lines, either. Which leaves rust-vulnerable steel to rust sooner, when left outdoors – where condensation forms faster, where humidity is more of a factor and sometimes, it just rains – for hours and days.

Speaking of condensation.

When you leave a car outside, in the weather, the extremes of temperature enhance the tendency of water to accumulate within the fuel system (an issue made worse by the presence of alcohol in almost all “gas”) which helps to rust the lines from inside. The good news is that most modern cars have plastic fuel tanks.

But then, they are plastic….

If you park indoors, condensation will be less of an issue. It will also keep your car dry – and allow it to dry off.

And it will keep it out of the sun.

Heat – and UV radiation – are murder on cars. Imagine just sitting outside – out of the shade – on a really hot, really bright day. All day. What would that do to your “finish”? Imagine what it does to your car’s.

Modern clear-coat finishes are super tough and have been a boon, in terms of protecting the underlying color coat from the effects of bird poop, bug juice and tree sap. But the catch is that the translucent clear-coat layer that gives all modern car finishes their shine is very thin. And once it’s gone, so is the shine.

In the past, when cars were painted without clear coat topcoats, you could buff out a dulled finish. The only way to return the shine to a damaged clearcoated finish is to repaint the car. If you’ve priced the cost of doing that lately, it will give you a sense of the value of parking indoors.

Even if it means building a new garage.

. . .

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Yesterday’s cloture vote in the Senate to advance the debt ceiling increase attracted the votes of eleven RINO Republicans … who promptly voted ‘no’ in the actual 50-48 roll call, hoping the rubes back home would be fooled by their Potemkin opposition.

    The debt ceiling Hall of Shame:

    1 Barrasso (R-WY)
    2 Blunt (R-MO)
    3 Capito (R-WV)
    4 Collins (R-ME)
    5 Cornyn (R-TX)
    6 McConnell (R-KY)
    7 Murkowski (R-AK)
    8 Portman (R-OH)
    9 Rounds (R-SD)
    10 Shelby (R-AL)
    11 Thune (R-SD)

    McConnell recruited the other ten to push the ‘yea’ total on the cloture vote to 61, just exceeding the required 60 — thus letting Democrats off the hook for having to raise the debt limit by themselves, using budget reconciliation, and owning it.

    The Egregious Eleven are the Judas collaborators of the Uniparty, who will sell us out again in due course.

    FMM (Mitch Mcconnell).

  2. Just keep your vehicle clean. Difficult to do when you need it for everything. I park my truck under a tree so the sun doesn’t bear down on the paint during the summer months, tree sap is a clear coat.

    You can’t park your car in the garage. Where you going to store all of the extraneous stuff you have?

    Had a visitor from Idaho stop in, a vaccinated person, found out that my wife and I weren’t, absolutely freaked, put a mask on immediately. Didn’t matter to me, don’t even think about covid, don’t really talk about it at all. Really don’t let it bother me, better things to do.

    You’d have thought we were lepers with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

    All the visitor could talk about was covid, no other topic. After a few beers, I was able to take a nap. Didn’t want to hear anymore.

    What fools people have become.

    • That is quite a bizarre guest…the politicization of hypochondria…by Big Government, the Administrative State and Mockingbird Mainstream Media.

  3. Great advice Eric.
    I have a 20 year old POS small RV toy-hauler trailer. It was a POS new. But I’ve kept it in a barn with a concrete floor for the second half of it’s life and it is basically the exact same POS that it was when I started putting it in the barn over 10 years ago.
    It leaked new and it was destroying itself, not so in the barn.
    I don’t see why it won’t go another 10 years ‘in the barn’.
    When I use it and I’m driving in the rain, I cringe a little, haha……
    It was a tough decision to invest in a large barn that would fit RV’s, but we had a big Class A at the time and there was no way I was leaving that thing outside. I’m guessing the barn paid for itself by now. But it also became a nice shop for me, so there’s that too.

    • Hi Jim,

      I was watching Bloomberg (the European version) this morning. The Brits (and most of Europe) are freaking out over the natural gas prices and the increase in cost for a barrel of oil. My rural gas station just went above the $3/gallon mark this week. There is no doubt that $100/barrel is around the corner.

      I am starting to get nervous that Uncle Joe’s “Dark Winter” is really that…..as in no heat, no gas, no electricity, because the costs will be so expensive for most people. The decrease in coal and natural gas and the shutdown of some nuclear power plants could create rolling blackouts throughout the country.

      I didn’t want to put the money out for solar panels, but I may do just that.

      I am with you…..FJB.

      • Hi RG,

        Just finished watching former Bank of England economist David Blanchflower declare that the US economy reached its crest in March-April 2021, and is now entering recession. As a fellow armchair economist, you might enjoy this video:

        https://youtu.be/_-jmDyg0AcE

        Besides being very smart, Blanchflower is also a massive egotist. I howled in glee at the 44:00 mark, where he calls the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee ‘completely clueless’ and ‘stupid.’ Yeehaw!

        If he is right, it’s now early 2008 in analog time, as the economy starts to falter while rising energy prices apply the final squeeze to send it stumbling down the cellar stairs.

        Should a recession unfold, FJB is toast — the doddering old fool will be lucky not to get lynched.

        • Hi Jim,

          I will watch this tonight after hubby falls asleep. He refuses to sit up with me and watch my econporn so I wait until he heads to bed and I spend the next two hours catching up on today’s economic events.

          Blanchflower is right. Personally, I think we are already in a recession. I am waiting for the banks to start reporting next week in regards to their third quarter profits. The banks may be okay since everybody seems to be refinancing and their banking fees have increased, but the tech sector, manufacturing, retail, etc. have got to be dismal. Inflation has had to cut into everyone’s bottom lines. Most people are not buying due to an increase in pricing or lack of supply availability.

          I would expect a rough week for Wall Street starting on the 18th of October, but I am sure the Fed will just go in and buy more Treasury bonds. If they start tapering in November (which they should have started months ago) it could be an ugly month for retirement accounts.

      • RG – its crazy whats happening to energy prices here. And you have no idea how much tax there is on energy here on top of that….

        It does seem like the winter from GOT is here….. and yes FJB…. and pretty much every other politician for that matter….

        • Hi Nasir,

          How much has your energy bill increased? Are you having any blackouts? I noticed mine has increased about 6% from the previous year.

      • Hi RG,

        Assume you guys have a wood stove? I used to heat exclusively with wood – until I got tired (and lazy) after I got divorced and installed a propane heater (40,000 BTU). But propane has become obnoxiously pricey, whereas wood is my favorite price – free!

        • No wood stove….just a gas fireplace and my heat pump can run off of electric and propane. Worst comes to worst if it gets too cold I can just hang out in the greenhouse all day. I am bummed I didn’t put the jacuzzi in there like I had planned. 🙂

            • Unfortunately, I was voted down and since I didn’t build the greenhouse I was overruled. I thought it was very green of me, but someone I know kept grumbling about proper ventilation and thermophilic bacteria.

      • Hey Raider Girl,

        Solar panels are fairly cheap these days. It’s the batteries that are expensive. If you do decided to go that way, your best options are lithium iron phosphate or nickel iron batteries. Nickel iron batteries are somewhat low performance, but they’ll probably last you the rest of your life if you take care of them. LiFePO4 cells are high performance, and will last for quite some time, too, but they require the proper electronics to charge.

        That all said, I was hoping to get a good set of NiFe batteries, but China is the only place that actually manufactures them. And good luck with shipping, these days.

      • ‘I am starting to get nervous that Uncle Joe’s “Dark Winter” is really that …’ — RG

        Uncle Narendra Modi’s Dark Winter is already a ravenous wolf pawing at the door:

        ‘Out of India’s 135 coal plants, 108 were facing critically low stocks, with 28 of them down to just one day’s worth of supply.

        ‘The shortages have stoked fears of potential blackouts in parts of India, where 70% of power is generated from coal.

        “I can’t say I am secure. … With less than three days of stock, you can’t be secure,” federal power minister R K Singh said.’ — AP

        With less than three days of stock, you can’t be anything but screwed.

        Fixed it for you, Minister Singh.

        Got LED flashlights?

        • This has got to be intentional. Why doesn’t India have coal? Why doesn’t England have coal? Why don’t we have coal? Every year winter comes and we have never been as ill prepared as we are now. I am so tired of “COVID” being the excuse. The world has dealt with “COVID” for 21 months now. With almost two years gone by we should have taken the necessary steps to make sure factories are producing, businesses are open, and people are working. Instead the world is sitting on their hands waiting for someone to come in and rescue them. What a steaming pile of horse dung these leaders are.

  4. Eric,

    Is it all right to leave my car in the street, so I can get my motorcycle in and out of the driveway? I normally keep my bike in the house, and my car in the garage. When I ride, I move my car to the street, put my bike in the garage, and maneuver in and out of the driveway. When my ride is done, I put the bike in the garage, let it cool, then move it back inside; then, I put my car back in the garage.

    Also, what about people who are working and drive to work? They have to leave their cars out in the employer parking lot…

    • Hi Mark,

      Love that you keep your bike in the house! Maybe you can figure out a way to get the bike in and out without leaving the bike in the street? I use my front door to get my bike inside!

      • I keep my bike by the back door and the wash area. The previous owner rode too, so he installed a wide door to the garage; it makes it super easy to move the bike in and out. Unfortunately, my front door is upstairs, while the garage, wash area, furnace, etc is downstairs. If I go for a ride, I put the car in the street; then move my bike through the garage to driveway; then go for my ride. When I come back, I basically reverse the process. The only difference is that I leave the bike in the garage for an hour or so to cool off; then I put it in the house; and then, I put my car in the driveway.

        • Ah!

          I am glad my house is laid out such that it’s pretty easy to ride a bike through the front door, Hell’s Angels style!

          PS: BMW is sending me a new R18, possibly next week!

  5. Hey Eric, I vaguely recall someone advising that if you drive on salted roads in the winter, you should not keep your car in a heated garage because the warm temperature will accelerate corrosion. Anything to that?

    • Hi Roland,

      The sale is really bad news – especially the new liquid brine they soak down the roads with. I do my best to avoid driving any of my vehicles after they have brined the roads. But – if I must – I wash them down ASAP afterward and then park in the garage.

      • My rant – why do we salt roads so much? Poorer parts of the world simply don’t, and people learn to drive in slippery conditions. Snow tires are universally used in the winter in Poland, for example. I come from the snowiest part of that country, and nobody heard of salting roads. Sometimes, a bit of sand is dropped if it’s particularly icy, but salt makes soil infertile, and that’s farm country over there.

        • Not to mention that it completely deteriorates the asphalt on the roadways and by the end of winter we are swerving to miss potholes.

        • It’s astounding to me how much this has changed in my lifetime. When I was a kid everybody used snow tires or chains. It was assumed that it was the driver’s responsibility to make sure he had the equipment and skill to travel in the wintertime. As recently as the 1980s I remember driving for weeks on snow-packed highways, even interstates.
          Now at the first forecast of non-liquid precipitation, crews are out spreading preventive salt and chemicals on every highway. Even our rural county roads routinely get plowed the first day after a snowfall, and everybody raises hell if they’re not.
          I assume this is because, as with covid and climate and everything else nowadays, politicians are scared to death that they will be accused of not “doing something.”

          • My understanding is that the copious amounts of road salt are primarily driven by the insurance industry, because apparently it reduces the number of accidents where they have to pay out.

            I don’t know what the exact mechanism is for this. But, that is the conventional wisdom in my industry (which often has to deal with rust, and preventing it)

        • Some places will plow it down to 1-2” and drop gravel. The gravel kind of digs into the snow so there is traction, and many people also switch to studded tires for the winter months.

          Have to be careful with studs though, because they reduce traction on dry pavement and tear up the roads.

          Also, when the passes get snowy they may make you chain up anyway unless you have 4WD.

          It works, and the increased potential for rock chips sometimes deters tailgaters.

          I’ve only seen this out west, however.

          • Then there are the people who don’t know how to drive with chains on…I’ve seen people driving too fast on dry pavement with broken chains flopping around, and thrown chains in melting snow piles…

            So many people go through life having no idea what they are doing.

          • Out here in Yavapai county Az they use mostly volcanic cinders and sand. I could be wrong, but don’t think I’ve seen salt anywhere on AZ roads.

            I’m sure the reason the insurance mafia prefers salt is their incestuous relationship with the new car makers. And what better way increase demand for both products than destroying perfectly good, paid off cars by salting the undercarriage.

            ‘You will own nothing and be happy.’

            • NF,

              Yeah, but how do they get so much pull over what the county state & city highway departments do?

              The connection is not obvious to me.

              • Hi Publius,

                Out here it has to do with geography, cinders are cheap and plentiful whereas salt would have to be brought in.

                And then there is the fact that every .Gov functionary, all the way down to the local highway departments are as always, ever ready to wet their beaks.

        • Hi OL,

          Because… wait for it … saaaqaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!

          The fags – South Park meaning – cannot deal with snow. With the thought of it. So they demand the roads be bathed in salt, even before it actually snows. To make them feel . . . saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe!

  6. A few other advantages:

    The floor is smooth and level. Easy to get a creeper or rolling stool around without jamming it up on a little pebble.

    If you lock the garage door your vehicle is 10X or more secure than parking it outside. If you don’t have windows in the garage no one will know what’s in it.

    Loading and unloading can be a leisurely activity, especially if the garage is attached to the house. Most vehicles will shut off the interior lights after a time to save the battery, so leaving the hatch open isn’t a big deal. When packing for a trip you can take your time instead of staging then trying to load all at once.

    Electrical outlets. Good for lights, tools, air compressors, battery chargers, stereos.

    Adequate lighting. I installed 4′ LED tube lights (they look like florescent bulbs) from Costco for the garage. Extremely bright and even task lighting makes everything easier.

    You are out of the weather too. Ever try to hold on to instructions on a windy day? How about the box of foam peanuts your part came in? I’ve found it so much nicer to wash and wax vehicles under a roof. You can take your time, and not worry so much about the sun overheating the metal.

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