It’s a problem that there are so many old cars – and trucks – still on the road. Well, it’s a problem for those who want very much to get you out of your old car or truck – and into a new one.
Cars – and trucks – are lasting too long. The average age of a currently-in-service vehicle is about 12 years old. Interestingly, most of those date back to the time before cars and trucks came with layers of “assistance” technology and weren’t “connected.” The people who have them often very much want to keep them rather than buy anything new, let anything electric.
Enter the brine.
As distinct from the salt they used to spread on the roads . . . when it actually snowed. In many areas of the country, the salt has been replaced by liquid brine – which is sprayed on the roads before it snows.
Often, even when it doesn’t snow – but looks like it might.
Just in case! Saaaaaaafety first!
Like so many other things most people didn’t used to be terrified of, even the possibility of snow – even if it’s just flakes – incites a TeeVee-driven mass panic of milk-and-bread getting. A snowflake – singular – that wafts onto a windshield provokes a response as similarly disproportionate in some people as the wearing of multiple Face Diapers and “distancing” rigmarole to ward off a “virus” that didn’t kill 99.8-something percent of us. Some of the snow-fearful will turn on their hazard lights and drive at walking pace on roads with 55 MPH speed limits if the sky gets dark. If you pass them, they furiously flash their headlights at you, to the accompaniment of angry horn-honking.
This is ironic, given that almost all the cars on the road nowadays are front-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive and for that reason are much better in the snow – if it actually does – than the rear-drive cars of the bad old days, when it did actually snow and the roads were only salted after it began to snow.
This brine is hugely effective . . . at rusting out cars and trucks.
If you’ve had yours immersed in this stuff – and that’s just the right word, as driving through freshly sprayed brine is like driving through water dumped on the road by a passing storm that hasn’t had time to wick off the road – you probably know all about it already. If you’ve had to work on your car, after the brine has had a chance to its work, you know something else.
The stuff leaches into everything – being a liquid. Rock salt stayed mostly on the road. It only turned to liquid along with the snow, as it melted. Then it also did its corrosive thing, but in a more diluted way – being watered down (literally) by the melting snow.
But brine is 100 proof – and there is often no snow on the road to dilute it.
You’re forced to drive right through it.
Which leads to what I recently had to deal with, underside of my 20-year-old truck. It was time to check (and ultimately, replace) its front wheel bearings, which is ordinarily an easy and pretty quickly done job. The main part of it being to remove the hub so as to be able to get at the bearings, races and seals. Before you can do that it is necessary (on my truck) to remove the brake caliper, which is held to the hub a couple of bolts that go through it and through holes in the hub. It also necessary to remove these bolts – in order to remove the calipers – when replacing brake pads, so it’s part of basic maintenance.
The bolts usually come loose easily – if they haven’t been rusted, internally. Mine were – badly – and it took all of Captain Freedom’s mighty biceps (plus a long breaker bar, for leverage) to break them loose. One almost broke – which would have meant having to drill/tap the caliper or just chuck it and buy a new one.
Luckily, all it did was bend a little on the way out, one bicep-straining quarter-turn at a time. But the wavy-gravy bolt is now useless, so off to the parts palace to try to get new ones. All four (two per caliper) because even though the others aren’t bent – yet – they are rusted, now.
Courtesy of the brine.
Which also rusts everything else exposed to it with remarkable efficiency. Steel fuel and brake lines. Suspension parts; the bolts that hold those parts to the frame – and (worst of all) the frame, itself. Once that’s no longer structurally sound, the soundness of everything else no longer matters. Your older vehicle’s engine might be as tight as the day it left the factory; the transmission in perfect working order. Everything in perfect working order. Even the body (and paint) might still look new, or nearly so.
But if the frame rusts out, you’re out of luck.
It can be fixed. But it isn’t easy – or cheap. It requires expert welding (so as to avoid compromising the structural integrity of the thing) or a good used frame. Once found you’ll have to transfer your truck’s body – along with everything else – onto the good used frame.
Assuming you can find one.
Thanks to Brandon, people are clinging to their older vehicles – trucks especially – and those who own examples with good frames aren’t going to donate them to save your rotted out one.
So what can you do to prevent the brine from accelerating the demise of your older car – or truck?
The best thing, of course, is to avoid driving in the brine. But that’s often not practicable, if you need to drive your vehicle when they soak the roads with brine. Next best thing is to wash it off as soon as feasible. Even better is to have coated the underside with heavy oil or similar before you expose your ride to the brine – in order to prevent the brine from eating your vehicle’s undersides.
Or at least, hold it up a bit.
I learned the latter trick by accident – via owning two-stroke motorcycles. They marinate in oil, which covers everything – inside and out. And – what do you know! – they never rust.
Apply the same to your car or truck and it might not, either.
. . .
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)