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I just took deilvery of a relatively rust free Alfa Romeo Berlina sedan. The car lived in California most of it's life and had a few years in Kansas. I bought the car from a guy in Kansas. I had the car shipped from Kansas and the shipping company delivered the car last night before the snow started falling.

The car was delivered via open carrier and it is covered in road salt. The car is 100% dry just covered with a thick layer of roadsalt. It is presently stored in the garage underneath my Townhouse. I shut the heat off in the garage so there is no worry of humidity levels or moisture.

I know I should get the salt off the car but where we are looking at freezing temps for the rest of the month and the car will not be registered or on the road until the summer I will not be able to nor would I want to drive it to a car wash.

I was quoted $150. for a mobile wash company to come to my house and hose the car down top and bottom with hot water. Then I would roll the wet car back into the garage where it will sit for the rest of the winter months.

I know if I can wait 6-8 wks temps will rise enough that I can use a hose to wash the salt off in my driveway. My question is how bad would it be to keep my Alfa in my dry garage covered with salt for that long? Or should I spend the $150. get the salt of and deal with the car drying slowly in my garage?

Sorry for the long winded question! And THANKS IN ADVANCE!

Andrew
 

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I think with a little ingenuity and some new tools you can wash the car yourself and then you will have the tools for other jobs as well. For example, you could hose the car off and thoroughly wash with hot water it in your driveway by running a hose from your washing machine hook-up. You could then use compressed air to get the water out of most of the crevices and areas where it would sit and freeze. If you then run the heat in your garage for a few days it should dry the rest of the way.

$150 buy a decent smaller compressor and some basic air tools.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ugh...

Unfortunately I can not wash the car in my driveway or in my garage. The garage floor is cement and the water will absorb/wick into the floor and then when I turn the heat on it will gas out of the floor for months creating the perfect rust environment for all three cars in the garage.

We have single digits in the forecast for the rest of the month so even washing the salt off on the car in the driveway will just ice on the car and I will not be able to bring the car into the garage without introducing water into the garage environment.

This is turning out to be a real Catch 22.

Even if I go the mobile wash route the car will ice up when they are spraying it down. :-(

How bad would it be to leave the dried salt on the car in the dry garage until the weather gets above freezing? Or should I try a salt removal product like Salt-X?
 

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As I understand it, dry salt doesn't promote rust. It's when it gets wet that it causes trouble. When road salt gets into crevices and gets wet over and over again it eats away at the metal. I bet that if you let it sit until we get an above freezing day and can wash it well, you won't have any problem. The important thing is to keep it dry in the meantime.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks!

As I understand it, dry salt doesn't promote rust. It's when it gets wet that it causes trouble. When road salt gets into crevices and gets wet over and over again it eats away at the metal. I bet that if you let it sit until we get an above freezing day and can wash it well, you won't have any problem. The important thing is to keep it dry in the meantime.
I was hoping that might be the case. It seems like I have no other options.
I just did not want to ignore something that could cause harm to the car.
 

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As I understand it, dry salt doesn't promote rust. It's when it gets wet that it causes trouble. When road salt gets into crevices and gets wet over and over again it eats away at the metal. I bet that if you let it sit until we get an above freezing day and can wash it well, you won't have any problem. The important thing is to keep it dry in the meantime.
If it's really is salt (Sodium Chloride) then you are correct, it will not corrode when dry.

If it is Magnesium Chloride, which is used in many places across the country these days as a road de-icer, it will continue to corrode wet or dry. Mag Chloride is far more corrosive to aluminum and paint than old fashioned road salt ever was. They say it's not as bad on steel but I don't really believe that...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Back to square one :-(

If it's really is salt (Sodium Chloride) then you are correct, it will not corrode when dry.

If it is Magnesium Chloride, which is used in many places across the country these days as a road de-icer, it will continue to corrode wet or dry. Mag Chloride is far more corrosive to aluminum and paint than old fashioned road salt ever was. They say it's not as bad on steel but I don't really believe that...
Is there a way to identify regular road salt as opposed to magnesium chloride?

Has anyone tried Salt-X or Salt Off? They are sold at West Marine to remove harmful salt residue from boat trim, motors, etc.
 

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I'd wash it and get it off including in the engine compartment. Low pressure - so you don't drive the brine deeper into crevices - warm water with a cleaning agent - make sure it's aluminum safe. I'd do that myself, as I don't think anybody you pay is going to be compulsive enough ... As Joe suggests, use compressed air to dry. You need to leave the doors open to let the moisture dry out at the bottom of the doors. Important areas to clean are the chrome under the side windows, door bottoms, area where front fender and rocker panel meet. Spray these areas, as well as the underside, suspension, engine parts and the exposed metal areas with Boeshield T-9. Let sit in warm dry storage for a while to completely dry and then bring it home in a closed trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lol sounds great except...

Outside temps in single digits for the rest of month.
No accessible hot water source in garage.
Washer is on third floor of unit.
No access to a enclosed trailer or tow vehicle.
As I mentioned bucket washing and rinsing in garage with cement floor will keep garage humid and wet well into summer months because of water wicking into cement and gassing off as temps fluctuate higher.
 

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Didn't say it was painless ... renting space, equipment, tow vehicles, trailers ... begging, calling in favours ... dehumidifier after the wash would be a good idea but then you have to heat quite a bit ... a royal pain the rear ...

Outside temps in single digits for the rest of month.
No accessible hot water source in garage.
Washer is on third floor of unit.
No access to a enclosed trailer or tow vehicle.
As I mentioned bucket washing and rinsing in garage with cement floor will keep garage humid and wet well into summer months because of water wicking into cement and gassing off as temps fluctuate higher.
 

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Ah, Life in the New England... The rolling meadows, gentle falling snow, quaint towns.... HAHAHA!

Any way you slice it we live in one of the worst environments for cars, sharp deep potholed roads that open up as fast as they are fixed (after the resultant traffic jam), constant salting/sanding even when there is no threat of weather, continuous pummeling snowstorms piling upon filthy ice piles taking up all the parking, impatient strung-out drivers and ridiculous intersections. We've got it all.

Personally, I'd want to get that crap off my baby ASAP! Being a fellow townhouse owner with a garage the best I can muster is to wait for the snow to stop for at least a few days or so and perhaps a good rain hopefully and then dry up. (It does happen here, but the window is small and only like once a month, pay close attention!) then drive gently to the closest U-Wash-It type business and gently and carefully give it a good cleaning, perhaps twice, until you're certain it's spotless. This will cost you about twenty bucks. Then carefully drive it slowly home and into the garage. You can remove anything from the trip with a small bucket and a sponge, you don't need to fully re-wash the car, just give the rockers a quick wipe and do the best you can. Drive it into the garage, wax the #@$% out of it and you're good to go. The advantage of the U-wash-it is you can spend as much time as you want getting the majority of the car cleaned really well, then touch it up when you get home, with any luck no more than a few careful miles away.

If your community is anything like mine, vast amounts of ridiculous rules are the name of the game and things like washing cars and raising your hood are frowned upon by the legions of cranky tenants and board committees. If there isn't a rule now, they'll make one.
 

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Quick!

Quick! The rare 50+ degree days! Fellow apt/condo dwelling New Englanders take to the streets or local car wash! Actually, the worst salt-bath filthy spray snowmelt has taken over the streets for the moment, probably want to wait until after the rain tomorrow dries up ;)
 
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