Home » Michigan, The State Of Free Weight Reduction: COTD

Michigan, The State Of Free Weight Reduction: COTD

Puremichigan
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People calling Chicago deep dish pizza a casserole is not one of the worst parts about living in the Midwest, but driving in the winter is definitely up there. When you see a road that is normally gray or black looking very white, you know there’s a lot of salt on the ground. There’s so much salt used in clearing roads that it’ll cover your car, almost certainly getting into places your eyes can’t see and a car wash can’t reach. Give some cars enough winters of this and, well, you get cars with Bluetooth rockers, ankle vents, and aggressive weight reduction.

People are rightfully shocked by how bad cars get in Michigan. Admittedly, even I think the cars in Michigan are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. But don’t let that fool you, because cars in Illinois, Wisconsin, or any other state with salt and without safety inspections will begin to look like very bad Swiss cheese. The famous “Chicago Cutlass” is all of the evidence you need that it happens elsewhere.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Still, our readers had a lot to say about those three rusty trucks David wrote about today. Chronometric gives some legitimately good advice:

And this is why you Midwesterners should drive 1000 miles to buy a used or classic car. Seriously, how much rust repair can you do in 2 days and $200?

The best used cars I’ve ever purchased came from places where salt is not laid down on roads. There’s no heavy corrosion on my bus, my Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI, or any of my used Smarts. And yet, most of the cars I purchased in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan have some sort of rust. The salt even gets to winter-ridden motorcycles out there!

A comment that made me laugh was this one from Camp Fire:

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Yep, David Tracy, the “Rust-loving Jeep man,” has gone full Hollywood. 2 years ago he wouldn’t have even shrugged at these trucks (they’re not far out of the norm in the poorer sections of Michigan).

I’d have a lot more trust in the structural integrity of that Sierra than several of David’s projects. Project POStal and the FC jeep come to mind.

Honestly, I’d love to forget rust exists. As of right now, my wife is looking at a rust repair quote that’s worth more than her BMW E39 wagon is on a good day. She’s gutted, because she could buy a clean wagon from California for less than the cost of rust repair. And her rust isn’t even that bad! So, I feel for those truck owners and everyone else with super rusty cars. It’s a shame our states can’t seem to find other, less destructive ways to clear roads.

Earlier today, Jason wrote about terrible car dashboards from the 1970s and 1980s. Jason wondered why, among hilarious reminders tacked onto dashboards, why none told you where the fuel filler was. Don’t worry, A. Barth has the answer:

I’m sort of surprised no company thought to put a FUEL FILLER –> message in there or something else useful.

That team was busily working on the hush-hush plan to add the little arrow to the fuel gauge.

Also, I’m not a smoker, but that gauge needle looks like a long cigarette.

Have a great evening, everyone.

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Matt
Matt
1 month ago

Tbh, I bought an 08 F-150. Ya. It’s got some rust (i.e. rear bed corners behind the bumper and a smallish hole in one of the rear, rearward opening doors, and some fender rash) but the truck runs great. For a 16 year old truck, it’s not in bad shape. Just cause your truck has rust or looks like swiss cheese doesn’t mean you are poor, as quoted “(they’re not far out of the norm in the poorer sections of Michigan).” It just means the rest of the vehicle is sound enough that you have no intention on sending it to the scrap heap when it still does what you need it to do!

Car Guy - RHM
Car Guy - RHM
1 month ago

I lived in Michigan most of my life, with the past 10 years on the west coast. What a difference in condition of cars and trucks. I bought a new F150 in 98, by the time it was 10 years old, I had replaced brake lines, gas tank exhaust manifolds all do to rust. I had the truck for 15 years, the rocker panels had this really thick chip guard, but when washing the truck you could flex it, so the metal underneath was rotted away. I kept the truck washed and waxed all of the time, but in Michigan your vehicles are completely white from salt for three months of the year. I really loved that truck, but wasn’t worth bringing out west.

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
1 month ago

The rustbelt- genesis of the 4 month ‘winter beater’ I currently have an 06 tundra as one to keep my new RAM out of the salt. As an automobile enthusiast, I must say it’s kind of fun to go hunt down a decent winter beater to thrash and then either scrap or sell in April.

Griznant
Griznant
1 month ago

I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life and of the classic cars I’ve purchased, three were from non-salt states (two from California and one from Oklahoma). I can honestly say, if you HAVE the option to get a car from a salt-free state, do that EVERY time. It’s a game changer.

Having said that, I still buy local garbage too because I have poor impulse control and a need to *save* neglected cars.

A. Barth
A. Barth
1 month ago

Thanks, Mercedes!

Before posting that, I actually went back through the pics in the article to confirm they all predated the arrow on the fuel gauge. 🙂

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

This is why you spring for the Trucoat!

CSRoad
CSRoad
1 month ago

My take on it.
Here in Southern Ontario, Canada, we have the some of the same political pressures of a “salt economy”, local salt mines and it’s good for new vehicle sales. We don’t have annual inspections, only safety inspections on the resale of used vehicles. The difference compared with Michigan and it’s huge is
that the police, can and do, pull you over and send your vehicle for an inspection if it looks questionable. My old Cavalier was kept on the road by being invisible with it’s foam filled holes, carved with an electric knife and sprayed with color match paint. I eventually got rid of it due to structural issues.

As for “beet juice” liquid salt mix it is evil sticky stuff, that probably causes more harm than good on a vehicle. Real salt rust happens with water and warmer temperatures and salt rich beet juice is harder to wash off, so it’s waiting for hot summer showers. Don’t ride a two wheeled anything on a beet juice sprayed surface, don’t say I didn’t warn you. )-:

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago

Chronometric is spot-on, I should drive 500 measly miles and buy a used car in Memphis or Nashville. Spend a couple of days cruising lots and meeting up with Craigslisters, and I’ll end up with a far better car. Even if an Illinois/Wisconsin/Michigan car looks ok, it’s not. The salt is in there doing it’s voodoo.
That being said, there is a push in northern climes to reduce the amount of salt on the roads. Prewetting the surface with calcium chloride or beet juice can keep the bond from forming, allowing the plow blades to do the work. That’s the wet lines you see on the roads and streets before an expected storm. There is also a revolution in spreader control, with new computerized units that can apply salt more efficiently and effectively.
But some politicians promise “bare pavement”, and PW guys don’t want to get yelled at, so when in doubt, they let the spreader fly and that’s when you get piles of it all over the place.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

It’s going to be problematic if midwestern states ever really stop using salt. Most people here don’t bother with snow tires because most of the winter the roads are just wet (which is undoubtedly why you see so many people in the ditch when it gets cold enough that the salt doesn’t work).

While it’s easy to say “just stop using salt”, it would require a big modification of behavior from the residents in those areas, and we all know how well that tends to go over. 😉

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

No, I didn’t say stop, I said use less, and use it more intelligently.
For example, it snowed this morning in parts of the Midwest. But it was 75 degrees yesterday, and there’s a lot of heat built up in the pavement. Last night’s snow melted the moment it hit the asphalt, so any municipality that dropped salt was just peeing into the wind. Pavement temperature makes all the difference.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

Yeah, that wasn’t directed specifically at you. But I see all kinds of people saying stuff like “Well, the PNW doesn’t use salt so the midwest should just stop” and it’s not that simple.

Although around here it got cold enough last night that the snow fell, melted, and then refroze into a really ugly layer of ice. It also got down to 4 degrees though so I don’t think salt would have helped that much either way.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

I’ve done several presentations on this, I use an old US map that depicts the area where it’s both cold enough to snow and warm enough to melt. A swath from South Dakota eastward into New England- literally the Rust Belt. Farther north in the UP and Canada, it’s too cold to melt the streets clean even with salt, so they don’t bother. Farther south, the pavement never gets cold enough for snowpack to form, so they don’t bother either.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
1 month ago

Visit Michigan and drive across the border to Ohio or Ontario. The difference is striking.

Roads are smoother, and cars are more “whole”. Sure, rust exists, but you don’t see the striking extremes of damage being, effectively, normalized.

This isn’t a rust-belt issue as much as it is a Michigan issue.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
1 month ago

Tagging onto Camp Fire’s comment, I saw and photographed Project POStal when it was in the junkyard, and yeah that pile of rusty bolt like substances should never have been out back on the road. As bad as it looked in pictures, it was so much worse in person!

Data
Data
1 month ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

And yet it was rammed by a Hummer and survived.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
1 month ago
Reply to  Data

It was bumped.

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

I grew up in Michigan and watched my Dad use torches, breaker bars, and busted knuckles to remove fasteners on his old cars. While I like flames as much as the next 8 year old, I decided that #rustlife was not for me.

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