Salty cars and Heated Garages

Hi all :
We're nearing completion on a new 3-bay garage (30' x 36") - 2 bays for my wife's and my vehicles, the third bay for our fishing boat. I was considering putting heat in this garage eventually, either a small forced-air oil furnace, or a suspended propane-powered heater. Mainly, I wanted to do this for our fishing boat, to keep the temperatures above freezing (around the 50F range) during the winters.
But, lately, I've had people tell me that if I do this, it will activate any salt that has accumulated on our vehicles and cause them to rust out faster. Makes sense to me, but I wanted to hear from others who might have heated garages, and live in wintery conditions for half the year, like we do in Vermont !
Thanks - Shawn
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On Thu, 08 Jan 2004 19:35:01 GMT, "Shawn P. Good"

Heating the garage will accelerate corrosion. Why do you need to keep your boat warm? I'd even pay someone else to winterize the boat for me, long before I'd consider the expense of heating a garage, even if the corrosion problem didn't exist.
BB
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Indeed.
Even unheated garages will tend to accelerate corrosion somewhat. Less ventilation etc. Drive a car from freezing temperature into a garage above freezing. What would have been frozen slush doing nothing becomes warm water with salt. Steel, yum! ;-)
In a colder climate than Vermont (it's going to hit about -32C tonite, which is about -25F. With windchill ~-45C (-50F)), we keep the cars outside for that very reason.
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Good rule of thumb. The speed of any chemical reaction (i.e. corrosion) doubles for every 10 Celsius degree increase. Cold is better, and if it is cold enough to keep the reactants solid (as in ice) you're even better.
RB
Shawn P. Good wrote:

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It will definitely accelerate corrosion. Corrosion doesn't even work at freezing temperatures.
Warm garage is good to keep the car which you don't drive at winter, or drive only occasionally (providing it is not humid inside).
Otherwise, outside is generally healthier for the vehicle. Or carport -- even better: protection from sun/rain/snow. Or unheated garage with good ventilation. But the car which you drive every day -- all the snow and ice on it melting in the warm garage, increasing humidity... And your cold car as perfect destination for those vapors to condensate. Bad idea.
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I heat my garage all winter to 45F unless I am out there, then it gets bumped to 65. I have been doing it for 12 years now, North Dakota winters. As far as the cars rusting faster, I don't know. My wife drives a '93 Caprice with no rust what so ever. By the the time it rusts bad enough to cause a problem, it will be way past time for a new car anyway!
As far as heating for your boat, it is not nessasary, my boat is resting comfortably in the snow bank along the garage right know. Greg
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On Thu, 08 Jan 2004 19:35:01 GMT, "Shawn P. Good"

I don't have any sited examples, but this sounds logical. Oxidation occurs faster with warmer temperatures. I would winterize the boat for winter, and keep the cars well rinsed. I know some folks would place lawn sprinklers under their cars for several minutes to help wash off the salt. Some car wash places recycle their (salty) water. Having good undercoating and rust-proofing helps. If you heat your garage, be prepared for high energy usage and safety concerns.
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On Thu, 08 Jan 2004 19:35:01 GMT, "Shawn P. Good"

climate where it is cold enough all the time all winter so that even the salt solution on your car is solidly frozen, I can believe this will retard corrosion to some degree. In my climate, (Cleveland, OH) the weather is such that the salty slush often doesn't ever really freeze.
I've had both unheated and heated garages. In the heated garage, the car is dry within 3-4 hours, even the underneath. In the attached, but unheated garage, the heat of the engine and the attached house kept the garage just warm enough so the snow and ice slowly melted, but the cars never dried overnight. And I think moist salt is much worse than dry salt, corrosion wise. In a colder climate and a detached garage...maybe a different story.
And there are other factors besides corrosion. Starting a freezing cold engine with thickened oil causes more engine wear than starting one at warmer temperature. It's harder on the belts and battery too. And my truck's brake pads never rusted to the rotors until I started parking it outside.
And of course, there is the shear comfort of being able to work on the cars all winter in relative comfort, not having to clear off snow and ice in the morning, not having to wait 15 minutes for heat....I would never be without a heated garage in a cold climate again.
And for those that think it is enormous waste of energy.... it can be, but doesn't have to be. With proper insulation, good insulated garage doors, and proper weather stripping, very little heat is needed to keep it warm. And yes, you dump warm air when you open the door. But 50% of the time, you are bringing a hot engine into the garage, and that more than makes up for the warm air loss.
Just my .02
Paul
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