2017 Ford Escape - Avoid salty cars?

I am living in Texas and about to move to Wisconsin. I am planning to buy a used 2017ish Ford Escape. A salesman here told me that I should buy in Texas to avoid used cars in the north that have been exposed to salt on the wintery roads. Is this fact or fiction? A sale’s tactic? I would appreciate your thoughts!

Buy in texas you found a honest salesman,


I live in AZ, so no real exposure here to road salt, but I like what that salesman is saying. road salt can wreak havoc on car frames and underbodies- so yes, I would buy on that hasn’t been exposed to the road salt before I would buy the same car that had been.

Also, no sales tax in Texas. :slight_smile:


Some of us have been known to go to Texas to buy a car and drive it back up here.

The one problem is that it can sometimes be hard to find a car with a winter package in the south, so if things like heated seats matter you might have a longer search.

That said, a 2017 isn’t all that old, so it’s not like it’ll already have rust on it. You don’t usually start seeing rust until 10+ years in on more modern cars.

Fact. Those of us who have lived the the salt-encrusted northern climates would be far more likely to buy in Texas, Arizona, Nevada or southern California than from the rust belt. Especially older cars. Far older than you are considering.

It’s a leaner if you are going to buy a 2017. Either way will get the job done. I’d be inclined to buy at the destination though, just in case there were any problems that needed resolving after the sale. If you were buying a 2007, yeah, then buy in Texas. With a 2017, ask your friends and neighbors you meet up North what they do to minimize salt problems. Some brands of cars seem to be more salt-rust prone than others. When I lived in Colorado I’d wash the underside of my cars at a carwash with a pressure wand, especially the wheel well areas. After every snow-storm or at least once a week in the winter. That helped.

I live near Buffalo NY, we use a LOT of salt here, A lot of premature rust is showing up around the rear wheel wells here on Ford Escapes. I would buy in Texas, but choose a different make.

My granddaughter is driving back up from Florida this week with a car my son found for her down there.

I agree with George. If you really love the TX car, or need it for your move, buy. Otherwise, I’d check local listings in both states. Prices vary. Will it be a hassle to deliver the car?

As George said, if you wait you can check local owners, cars, and dealers to see which models hold up. Some cars use better factory protection than others. Oh, and don’t forget to add in the cost of weather treatment. I prefer to watch its application. Some installers are pros and others are sloppy.

I live in southern California

A guy in my area drives a 1988 Toyota Camry every day. No rust whatsoever

Think you’ll find a 1988 Camry still on the road in Wisconsin . . . ?


Don’t worry, they’ll make it up when you “import” it into another state that does tax used car sales. Often they charge the difference between them if you can prove you paid tax in the selling state. In this case WI sales tax minus zero= WI sales tax :slight_smile:

OP, you might want to include other costs in the decision. Such as titling, registration, insurance etc that may get double dipped by moving so soon. Cars are also better protected these days than in the past. The first few years show little degradation but then it starts in earnest. So I would be less concerned about a fairly new car compared to one that has more years exposure…

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As a follow-on to @TwinTurbo’s response, try to coordinate your purchase so that you can get a temporary registration in Texas and a permanent one in Wisconsin. Contact the Wisconsin DMV to see if they prorate the cost of bringing a car into the state. That might make the license/registration more palatable.

The only way you will find an 88 Camry on the road in Wisconsin is in a fine coating of rust dust! :grin:

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I would title and register the vehicle in Texas before moving.
Does Wisconsin charge sales tax on all vehicles belonging to people that move to that state?

I don’t know, you might find one that had been crushed into fireplace equipment years ago that just fell off the back end of a truck!


I don’t think 2 years of salt exposure is enough to cause any long term damage. Even if you buy one in Texas,this car will be exposed to road salt in Wisconsin. Most cars in Canada are still looking great after 10-12 years due to better rust prevention treatments from car manufacturers.You could get a KROWN rust treatment in Wisconsin and sleep on your two ears.:smiley:

I would call the DMV but here is an excerpt from Wisconsin Dept of Revenue Pub 202-

As mentioned in Part IV., all retail sales, leases, and rentals of products described in Part III., are taxable unless specifically exempt by law. An exemption certificate (e.g., Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate
(Form S-211), or similar document) is required to support the exempt sale. See Part XII.B. for more information on
exemption certificates.
The following are examples of transactions or amounts involving motor vehicles which are exempt from sales and use
tax (this list is not all-inclusive):

G. Purchases Prior to Becoming Wisconsin Resident
An aircraft, motor vehicle, boat, snowmobile, mobile home, trailer, semitrailer, all-terrain vehicle, utility-terrain
vehicle, or off-road motorcycle purchased outside Wisconsin for personal use by a nonresident of Wisconsin
90 days or more before bringing it into Wisconsin, in connection with a change of domicile to Wisconsin, is exempt from Wisconsin use tax.

So, if you bought it less than 90 days before moving, it is subject to sales and use tax.

Re: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/pb202.pdf

You can also easily find on the DMV site, rules and regulations regarding timing of titling and registering cars in the state when you move there.

Many of those Rust Belt cars end up in OK; and in TX and the salesman is correct.

Dealers buy them on the cheap, have someone slather 20 or 30 pounds of Bondo over the rust, and then spot paint them. Many people don’t bother to look underneath and at some point later on they discover the sordid truth.

I’ve related the story before but for your benefit here goes. Some years ago my son and I were coming back from KS on I35 and passed 2 car haulers full of very late model pickups, SUVs, and so on. I didn’t think much about it until we slowly passed them. I noticed that every single vehicle had a Minnesota plate. Every one of those vehicles looked like new from about the top of the wheel wells up. Below that was solid, send it to the junkyard rust. With several pickups I was amazed that the beds were still on them due to the rust.
Those cars were headed to OK, TX, or somewhere in this neck of the woods and would soon be purchased by people who didn’t consider rust an issue.

Don’t buy a Texas car from the gulf coast. It’s exposed to sea salt. Dallas or West Texas would avoid that. Not all gulf coast cars will be exposed to sea salt. If the car spends its life more than 5 miles from the coast, there won’t be any salt, but you have no way of knowing.

Many years ago we had a VW Beetle come in from the Gulf Coast. He wanted the brakes fixed.

I go out to get the car and there’s a piece of plywood on the floor pan holding the seat in place. It was pretty rickety so I gently eased it into the shop and put it on the lift.

The only way of repairing the brakes was to replace everything. Master cylinder, wheel cylinders, all of the brake lines, hardware, you name it. He just called a nearby VW salvage and surrendered the car.

The Beetle was his casual use car at his beach home so it was exposed 365 days a year to salt.

My wife’s family in Maine, where roads are salted and one sees many rusted out cars, own a fleet of Subarus all over 10yrs old and none with visible rust. Every fall they have the undersides washed and sprayed with a lanolin based compound that seems to do the trick. Inspect for and repair (derust, paint) nicks and scratches before winter, paying particular attention to behind and over the wheels. Maybe all cars have this these days, but look for one whose underside uses galvanized metal.