The Truth About Cars » salt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:16:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » salt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: In God We Rust, Part III http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-iii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-iii/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494455

TTAC commentator Kovalove writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Long-time lurker on a daily basis for over 5 years now. Not sure if this is a worthy question for Piston Slap but here we go: In about two weeks’ time I’ll make my final payment (0% loan ftw) on my 2008 Mazda3 GT 4-door (‘S Grand Touring’ in US spec) with just over 97,000 km. It has served me well with no at-cost repairs other than routine maintenance (some minor stuff was covered by warranty). I have been looking forward to payment-free living and would happily keep the car for many more years, but one thing has been rattling around in the back of my mind…

I live up in the Great White North in the Toronto area where road salt is used from November through to the end of March. After winter 2012 I noticed some early signs of rusting on the inner lip of the rear wheel openings. I was annoyed but not really surprised as this is a well documented phenomenon with Mazdas. I regularly see ’3s a couple of years older than mine that are rusting badly in numerous areas on the sides and rear end.

Supposedly the 3′s resistance to rusting was improved with the refresh in 2007, but only time will tell for sure. My question is whether there is any financial sense in getting rid of the car now before the rust gets serious, especially given the inflated used car market? For what it’s worth, I will be debt-free with the repayment of this loan. Presumably a badly rusted car would plummet in value despite being otherwise mechanically sound? According to many reports, repairing the rust on these cars is a mostly futile exercise and it comes back quickly. Thanks in advance!

Sajeev answers:

Ah yes, we are revisiting the rusty Mazda problem for the third time in this series. Too bad the 3′s mild redesign didn’t/couldn’t address this problem, and it appears Mazda Canada’s warranty doesn’t cover rust damage.  Did I misread that part with the exclusions?

“Damage or surface corrosion from the environment such as: Acid rain, airborne fallout (chemicals, tree sap, etc.), salt, road hazards, hail, wind storm, lightning, floods and other natural disasters.”

Don’t take my word for it, read your owner’s manual (RFTM) and verify.

Now someone can quickly repair the rust if it’s small/localized (DIY is not impossible, either) and buy more time before the Rust Lord takes over. But will it buy enough to justify ownership to you? And it is worth it to your pocketbook if you can sell it for a price that makes you happy and gets you into a newer car that’ll make you happier? 

Now that’s the real question, me thinks. So what is your threshold for pain? Without supporting photos or a comprehensive underbody inspection, who knows how much pain you got coming?

Take it from the idiot restoring his “rust free” 1983 Lincoln Continental Valentino: once you tear into a rust repair project, you’ll find more of it. Peep the photo below: I thought my Valentino’s decades old, well-known rust hole under the battery was just that!   But oh noooo, the rust seeped down farther, down to the base of the radiator support.

Now is mentioning my Valentino in the same blog post as your Mazda 3 a fair comparo? Absolutely not! 

We all assume that the “young” Mazda won’t be this sinister: at least we assume this. But you know about them people who assume too much!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

 

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Piston Slap: The Sentra’s Salt Assault http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/piston-slap-the-sentras-salt-assault/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/piston-slap-the-sentras-salt-assault/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 14:13:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478002

TTAC commentator greaseyknight writes:

Sajeev,

I have a question that I would like to throw at you and the Best and Brightest. Time is of the essence! In about a month I will be moving from the PNW to Wisconsin. My car is a rust free ’92 Nissan Sentra, and I would like to keep it that way during my stay in that state, which is be at least a couple years.

I really have no idea what precautions I should take being from the PNW, where under car rust is a totally foreign concept. I have heard of various under body treatments like Fluid Film and others, but what should I use? I really enjoy the piston slap articles, keep up the good work!

Sajeev answers:

First, let’s be clear on one thing: rustproofing is pointless for folks who keep their car for 10-ish years. Second, the B13 Sentra is a sweet little machine, totally worth keeping around for the rest of your life. For special cases like you, consider a rust proofing, undercoating spray from a shop that does such things.

If done correctly (i.e. not blocking up drain holes in the body) these sprays are a great idea for an older car with cherry metal.  They probably will not save every nut and bolt from the Rust Devil, but major components will be far better off.  Let’s say that you move to Wisconsin for more than two years: don’t worry, if all else fails you can replace any bolt-on component using the magic power of the Internets and loyal followers of the Sentra (and its Mexican twin, Señor Tsuru) while the spray-on undercoating protects the rest.

Other things I recommend?

  • Mud Flaps installed using the factory holes in the wheel arches…if possible, as that makes future removal far cleaner. If not, drill the holes and PAINT the exposed metal before installing. The Mad Tite stance and golden wheels below are optional, naturally.
  • Slathering the underside with used motor oil, letting it get all thick and coagulated and nasty ‘n shit…stank enough to scare away road salt. Not exactly earth friendly, but it won’t go anywhere once it gets sticky and coated with road grime. So there’s that.
  • Don’t use local car washes with recycled water…as that water already has the salt of previous cars.
  • Pour water over every seam, gap, upstream drain hole (i.e. not the ones at the bottom of the doors) etc. and let Mother Nature freeze these access points shut.  Never park the car in a heated garage (or any place that goes above 32 degrees) and salty water can’t get in!
  • Stop listening to the H-town boy and listen to people who actually deal with road salt for better advice.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

 

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Piston Slap: In God We Rust, Part II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-ii/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2012 11:12:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450066

Keith writes:

Hello Sajeev,

My conundrum is as follows: I am a graduate student with another 1.5 years left of school. I commute at least 200-300 miles a week living in rural Maine (so a car is a must for me). My ride for the last 4 years has been a 2002 Mazda Protege5 with manual transmission. Bought in August 2007 with 69,000 miles, now at 143,000 miles. The car has never outright let me down and I love the balance between fuel efficiency, utility of the hatch, and fun to driver factor. What I don’t love is that it keeps rusting away. I have had minor rust repairs performed in the past to get it to keep passing inspections – the rear wheel wells, the floor beneath the rear seats. The rust around the windshield became bad enough that it started to let a little rain water in (though me and a tube of silicone quickly “cured” that). This car is by no means cosmetically perfect anymore, but it still drives great and has been kept up mechanically. Again, grad student – I feel like I am supposed to have a beat up looking car.

This past August, while undergoing the yearly inspection by the trusted family mechanic, I received the news that the rear sub-frame of the car was now approaching a level of rust that would cause it to fail inspection. The mechanic’s thinking was to take a very close look at it this coming summer and judge if it has another year in it or if it has reached a point of structural concern. He told me to be prepared to look for another car, as replacing the rear sub-frame would be prohibitively expensive considering the overall poor condition of the car. The rocker panels are rusted pretty bad and would probably not go another year, and the strut towers are pretty rusty as well. I recognize that this isn’t an overall mint automobile with just a single issue, so throwing money at it isn’t sensible.

If the rest of the car were to be judged to last another two years and thus make the money and effort worth it, what would the replacement of the rear sub-frame cost? The one bonus that I haven’t mentioned (the thing that prevents me from feeling really anxious) is that my brother’s 1998 Chevy Cavalier coupe is available for free, he being away at college. The Cavalier has about 135,000 miles and keeps on chugging. I live at home and it has become the shared household vehicle in order to keep it from sitting. It has been pretty cheap to maintain and barely has any rust. And did I already mention it is free? Honestly, this is a question of heart vs. head. The Cavalier used to be mine. Once I obtained the Protege5, I never looked back.

Would it be pure foolishness to put any significant cash into the Protege5, especially since I have a much cheaper and less rusty option in the Cavalier? My stronger preference for the Mazda clouds my judgement.

Sajeev Answers:

We covered this before, and the answer has not changed. Look, you’re in grad school: your  prime earning years are coming shortly.  With any luck, your career means you’ll purchase a host of fun vehicles in the future. But right now make that future even brighter.  Ditch the 5, drive the Chevy. The Cavalier isn’t known as a chronic rust bucket like these particular Mazdas, and it is free.  Free is quite good.

Moment of Truth: when I was in grad school (i.e. the place where my TTAC career began) I had no idea where my career would take me.  And how much I’d make.  Not that I’m especially wealthy, but things kinda made sense about 5 years after getting my MBA. Your degree will take you far, and you’ll be happier with the money saved in lieu of buying a Cavalier replacement.  Who knows, maybe the extra savings and mundane machinery will land you the ideal lifestyle and loved one to go with it.  It’s amazing where that degree will take you, trust me on that.

So don’t let the cooler car cloud your judgement, says the MBA-clad TTAC veteran who drives a Ford Ranger. Believe that.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.
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