Snow Belt Cars or Trucks

I am about to relocate from Texas to

Upstate New York. Because it snows a lot there

cars often get rusty. Besides a Saturn, which used car or truck is built with lots of plastic or sits

high enough to easily hose off the underside?

I wouldn’t worry about it. We have a lot of car washed with under carriage sprayers in the rust belt. If you are around road salt your car will rust some. I have a 10 year old vehicle, driven in every winter in the rust belt and it has no major rust, yet.

Or you can get an old Corvette, the body panels on those were fiberglass. I’m not sure about the new ones.

I’ll take this advice with me, thanks so much.

Rust is cruel to cars…

If you are looking for a used car, find it and buy it in Texas. That way it will be a road salt “virgin” when you bring it to upstate NY. Most new cars use galvanized steel and have more rust protection built into them than in days of old. The bodies hold up surprisingly well.

In the early sixty’s you’d see holes rusted through body panels in cars 2 or 3 years old. Now the rust buckets are much older, like 15 to 20 years old.

You can’t buy a decent used car where I live in Texas. Most engines are pieced together
with parts from Pablo’s garage in “Podunk” Mexico. I’m talking the Used Car dealers;
the private sellers of cars here cannot be trusted. I may end up buying a car in a different state, I’ll ask around once I get up there.


I would not consider a car with lots of plastic parts any better when it comes to rust. Frankly modern cars are far better designed when it comes to rust and corrosion that you should not be all that fearful.

Sure it is not good, but it is not the real problem it once was. Don’t overdo the washing off the underside either, it is really not necessary. Some car washes recycle the water and also the salt washed off other cars, forcing more salt into areas it should not go. Keeping you car outside will actually be better rust wise than inside. As long as the salt and snow are frozen it is not hurting the car.

This makes me feel better and relaxed. I’ll just use my head on this and I’ll be okay.
I feel those “Anti Rust” products sold online or in stores up
there are all about marketing for the companies that sell them.

Have a great weekend,

Thirty years ago, road salt literally dissolved cars – especially Japanese cars – in not all that many years. But material science has made great strides. I’ve spent a number of hours in the past couple of days crawling around under a 1999 Camry installing a new catalytic converter. The car has been in road salt country for seven or eight years. I’m astonished at how little rust damage is visible. (Unfortunately, about the only badly corroded components were the bolts holding the Catalytic Converter on).

In most cases, hosing off the bottom of the vehicle isn’t terribly practical in Winter in snow country anyway. It’ll be cold (and dark) and the water in the hose will probably be frozen if the car is kept outside. You can go to a car wash of course, but by the time you get the vehicle home, the undercarriage will once again be soaked with salt water. And it may not matter. The real damage seems to be mostly due to salt water that gets inside the frame members and doors. Maybe someone else has an idea what to do about that.

When Saturns ceased to be unique and became just another re-branded version of other GM products, they stopped using plastic body panels. I can’t tell you exactly when they stopped using plastic body panels, but I am tempted to say that this feature disappeared about 5 or 6 years ago.

You could obviously find a Saturn of that age or older on used car lots, but you should be aware that these cars do not age well. A major complaint is severe oil burning after 100k, and as a result, many of the older used Saturns out there are in that odometer mileage category–or will be there very soon.

I have 2 friends with the “Plastic” Saturns: one, older and very meticulous with his car; the other, a younger woman that surprises me that her Saturn is still running.
The guy in Chicago, the woman in Boston; both pleased with the Saturns.
I am more of a pickup person, leaning to the F-150. I don’t want to deal
with all of the possible issues with a Jeep.

There tends to be more salvage yards with good motors and transmissions in the snow belt areas. Perhaps there are more snow related accidents that kill bodies before the motors are toast. If you buy a Texas car that can barely make the trip north, do the motor switch after you relocate.

In Upstate NY, you’ll get cars with parts from Maurice’s garage in Moose Creek, Ontario. Are you ready for that?

I met a guy in Lompoc, CA with a pristine late 60s Mustang. I commented on clean Cali air and he said there was no way that a sea coast car could have lasted that long. He bought his in Texas while he worked at a Federal Penitentiary there.

P.S. Maybe you should try Manuel’s garage, not Pablo’s.

P.P.S. Do you think they’ll catch me after this story? I’ve been soooo far underground for soooo long… :stuck_out_tongue:

Born and raised in Upstate NY…Back when I was first learning to drive (35+ years) cars wouldn’t last 5 years before they’d start rusting…The worse by far were Chryco. It’s so bad in that area that Fisher body commissioned Syracuse University to do a study on rust. What’s the main cause…and prevention. This study was published about 30 years ago and now almost every car manufacturer abides by it’s results.

Today cars last MUCH MUCH longer before they even start to show the first signs of rust (even in upstate NY…Rust Belt). Any decent car made today can withstand years without rusting away (even in the rust belt). What I always did which helped was clean my vehicles once a week…paying particular attention to the wheel wells. t

Got it. The photos of cars I see posted on Craigslist seem to have rust
starting at the wheels. Although snow is not new to me, the amount of
it will be. I was in panic mode, but the replies to my message were
my virtual “chill pill” :-)))))

Have a great evening,

The Grand Am has a lot of Saturn, I mean plastic, down low. The Saturn rear quarter, roof and trunk lid are metal. Sometimes the hood too.

I live in the “rust zone” and I always get my cars undercoated or “rustproofed” even if I buy used. When I was looking at used cars, I’d get them put on the hoist - the difference between those undercoated and those not was HUGE. However, beware - if buying a used car up here - if it’s very recently undercoated they are probably looking to cover up a massive rust problem (brake lines spring to mind). Phil Edmonston recommends rustcheck brand, and I’ve found it good. The only thing that I recently heard was that the components in undercoating may create an unhealthy environment in the car - anyone else know about this? (maybe that should be a separate post). I agree, get any kind of car you want, but realize that only a very few cars that are very well maintained last longer than 10 years out here.

I’m spoiled; in El Paso, most of the year is warm and dry - boring. All one
does here is wash, wax, and dust the cars. Once I get there, I’ll find out
more on “local” car maintenance and decide which make/model; and, from which city
to make my purchase.

I really appreciate all of the helpful responses I received on this question.

The amount of snow differs greatly in Upstate NY. Syracuse area averages about 120"/year…Utica (50 miles East of Syracuse) averages about 70". Albany. - 50"…Town I grew up in (Pulaski - about 30 miles North of Syracuse) averages around 250".

I never work with the rust proofing coatings/sprays. All they end up doing is making a mess of things under the car. I did it once, for one of my vehicles, and from then until the time I sold the car hated working under there.

The only thing I would use for rust is to sand down the rusted area (when you catch it early) and repaint.

Rust proofing is a double edge sword. If done correctly it greatly reduces the formation of rust. The problem is getting it done correctly. If NOT done correctly it can actually make things worse. So if you getting it done make sure you know the person/company doing the job.