Wash Salt from car before Winter Storage or not?

So I had second thoughts driving my '83 jetta diesel through the winter, and decided to go the beater route.

The car and roads are now unfortunately covered in salt, should I attempt to completely wash the car before storing, or wait till spring? I feel like I’d wash it, and then get it covered again driving to storage place. I also think I may be fine, as salt is moisture activated… thoughts?

Wash it, but let it dry before putting it in storage. Leaving salt on it to retain moisture and accelerate rot can do no good.

You’ve left me curious, however. If the '83 Jetta diesel is the good car, what’s the “beater”?

Haha, it’s just that the 83 is very close to perfect original shape cosmetically, and being a VW guy, I’d like to keep it that way. It’s rare because it’s shape its in… The beater is yet to be determined.

I tip my hat to you. I HAD to ask! {:slight_smile:

Be sure to thoroughly wash out the wheel well area. That’s where a lot of road salt (and rust) accumulates. When I lived in Colorado I’d wash my truck’s wheel wells out pretty much after every snow storm, a couple times a week at least. I used one of those do-it-yourself car washes where you drive into a covered stall and put money (at the time, 75 cents) into the machine, then you could use the pressurized spray wand for 3 minutes. If you have one of these types of car washes in your area, it’s a convenient way to accomplish a wheel well wash.

Yep wash and dry using the wash with the undercarriage wash. Salt corrodes so as long as its on the car it will be speeding rust like crazy. If you wait a week or so, won’t the roads be dry again?

Yes, you can and should wash it. Still, rust forms worse, NOT in the areas you can see, but within the femder, door, rocker and quarter panel welds you do not. They form at the welds on the inside because the corrosion resistant metals in the the steel including galvanization is burned away during the welding process. Car makers don’t tell you this when they brag about their galvanized panels and great rust proofing coatings. That is why ALL cars are subject to rust eventually forming.

If rust stain settles on the exposed painted area you can see, and the paint or coating remains in tack, it is less of a problem then the salt in the brine that is washed down the window slots and up through the drin holes in your doors rockers and quarter panels. The fender liners may be plastic on newer cars anyway. The rust actually starts at the joinery between the plastic fender liner or steel liner and the fender. Those you cannot wash clean once the salt is inside.

Washing the undercarriage in a unibody car is really the only thing you can do but actually the least helpful considering the areas that will rust. The only way your car can remain in perfect shape is to either not drive it in winter, or treat the inner panels with oil. So obviously, your car was either treated or not driven much in the winter salt to last this long. Next time, it would be better to put it up earlier.

Another vote for wash, and it is made more critical if the storage area is indoors and heated. The warmer the storage environment, the faster the salt will work on any bare metal. Check to see if the storage facility has an area where you can wash the vehicle just before storage.

Definitely wash it (including an underwash) and drive it there on a dry day.

You can Rinse it off with a low powered hose at home, and it will do as good if not better. If possible, just use a garden hose and wash and rinse the out side and rinse the underneath.