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Galvanization sensation: How automakers fought off the scourge of rust
Exposing older cars to winter’s unfavorable elements—specifically, the dual-pronged attack of moisture and road salt—is a quick way to end up facing off with metal’s age-old nemesis: rust. Any classic car fan calling the Northeastern or Midwestern half of the country home has felt more than a passing twinge of envy for their compatriots in many southern and western states, who enjoy a drier climate that allows for year-round enjoyment of their rides without living in constant fear of the tin worm.
Corrosion, however, tends to attack vehicles of a certain vintage far more aggressively than their modern counterparts. It’s not just a question of being “old,” either. In certain eras, brand-new cars could shed their metallic skins while still sitting in the showroom.
The answer as to why today’s vehicles are more resistant to such a sudden fate is somewhat complex. Automotive industry’s long, slow march toward more durable materials is the result of advancements in design, engineering, and manufacturing, as well as the corporate buy-in required to implement an actual anti-corrosion plan.
I live in the North-East part of the country, and have been storing vintage cars during the winter for years. In an unheated storage area, a ceiling fan installed above the car greatly reduces condensation on the car. Even a small window fan blowing under the car works well. This is especially important in the spring and fall when temperatures and humidity vary greatly from day to night.
In my storage / parking garage I have a cheap ceiling fan that has run continuously for 20 years. Even the bare sheet-metal parts stock is clean after many years of storage.