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Old 10-31-2003, 09:28 AM
domchang's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 236
Leave car outside when below freezing?

Was hoping to get advice/opinions from guys who drive their MBs in snowy and freezing weather.

We use stuff called magnesium chloride here in the Denver Metro area when it gets snowy/icy. Here's what I was thinking of doing with my 1987 420SEL which I am planning to use (first winter ever that I've owned it) as my snowy/icy days driving car:

If the temp is below freezing or near it, and I've been driving in the stuff, leave the car outside so the stuff stays frozen on the underbody of the car. Once the temps go above freezing then take her to the car wash and hose off the magnesium chloride asap to prevent rusting and such.


would it be better to drive her into my garage after driving in the snow/ice and knowing it's got magnesium chloride on the underbody and let the snow/ice melt off in the garage...then when the weather is above freezing, hose her off as above at the local car wash?

opinions? experience with either method?

thanks in advance


D. Chang
Network Integration Engineer
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Old 10-31-2003, 09:45 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
From the Frozen North: (It's -16 here this morning...)

Most of us that want to keep our cars in decent shape don't use heated garages. The problem is condensation. The freezing/thawing cycle is really hard on your car. Condensation can get into the fuel system, braking system, etc. It is very hard on the exterior surfaces as you have figured out. The thawing allows salt and other melting agents to become liquid on your car, and they are much more active in that state.

I keep my car in the garage, unheated. It keeps the snow and frost off. Then, on cold nights, I use the block heater to take the strain off the engine. I also use synthetic oil as it has a much lower pur point and flows much quicker in the cold. At least once a week it goes to the car wash.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 10-31-2003, 09:59 AM
I told you so!
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,840
There was an article on this in Automotive Engineering about 20 years ago. This article only addressed the rust issue. Corrosion is active when the car is wet... less active when frozen. The WORST thing for a car during winter is a heated garage. The best thing is to keep it outside, preferably under a car port that blocks the wind and precipitation.

Since there is a trade off between corrosion and startability, I'd favor worrying about corrosion. I don't think the increased engine wear during cold starts is all that significant compared with body corrosion. Usually a Benz is scrapped when the body has given up. Engines can be more easily repaired than body corrosion. Or at least the issue of startability can be more easily controlled by proper oil management.
95 E320 Cabriolet, 153K
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Old 11-03-2003, 09:19 PM
domchang's Avatar
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Posts: 236
thanks guys for your feedback
D. Chang
Network Integration Engineer
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Old 11-05-2003, 02:35 PM
TTaM's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 776
Some of us live in apt buildings, with no garages... My solution: store the Benz in the winter in my father's garage, and drive a Volvo
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:31 AM
need2speed's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1,253
Originally posted by blackmercedes
I keep my car in the garage, unheated.

Dean Albrecht
"Lead, follow, or better yet, get out of the way!"E500 owners motto
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