Vehicle: Car: Exterior
QuikRinse   (+6)  [vote for, against]
Make driving clearer and prevent rust for those who live in oceanside environments.

I just spent four days in beautiful, sunny Galveston Island(That's off the coast of Texas, near Houston, for you British folks. I shouldn't have to tell you where Texas is, y'all.) We rented a beachfront condominium which was laid out in the following manner: It was a 3 story building on concrete stilts. The bottom was used as a parking area. Every day, when you would get back from sightseeing, or shopping at the beachfront Wal-Mart(no joke), you would park your car and then ride the elevator up to your room. The next day, you would come out to your car to find out it was covered in a not-so-thin film of salty ocean spray. Not only did it fog up your car windows, it contributes to the premature rusting of cars who stay on the island. This idea, implemented inexpensively and easily, would make it easier for people to give their cars a quick rinse before leaving.

You would drive your car to the exit of the parking area. At the exit, there would be two lanes. One lane would bypass the system, and another lane would have a simple sprayer system activated by driving through it. Sprayers from the top, sides, and undercarriage would come on as you drove past, and would turn off as you drove out. It makes it easier to see out of your car, and it prevents rusting. It could also be put in garages for people with beachfront homes.
-- BinaryCookies, Aug 21 2002

In Michigan, where they salt the roads all winter long, "salty sea-spray" sounds like a joke. Please, put the prototype at the end of my driveway. I had to put my last car under.. terminal case of Michigan Cancer. <milton>They use big, big grains of salt! </milton>
-- Mr Burns, Aug 21 2002

[thcgenius], that is a good point and a major problem for people up north in general. If we get snow in Texas, we just kind of look up at the sky in awe. Maybe my market for this will be bigger than expected...
-- BinaryCookies, Aug 22 2002

I actually tried to talk my dad in to building one of these at the foot of his driveway when he lived about a hundred yards from the ocean. He didn't go for it. At least I know there's someone else who thinks it's a good idea. I have always suspected that it must be baked but never checked.
-- half, Aug 22 2002

" who..." - excellent! I didn't know those new-fangled thinking cars had rolled off the production line yet.
-- El Pedanto, Aug 22 2002

Dang, dang, dang! Over the weekend, speeding through toll booths now made almost redundant by EZ-Pass, I came up with the idea of Toll Booth Car Washes. Which is essentially the same idea as this. I knew I should have posted it yesterday...

[You get a croissant for being a great mind, of course.]
-- DrCurry, Aug 22 2002

Actually, water is the problem. Salt won't cause significant corrosion as long as there's no moisture about - the vehicles wich work down the ICI salt mines in Cheshire don't suffer from chloridic corrosion, because the atmosphere in the mine has extremely low humidity - they do wer out because of the abrasive effects of the salt dust, but that's another problem. Corrosion starts when you get exposed ferrous metal and salt and water all together - BIG problem. I would suggest that the salt film removal is carried out using a "dry" process (brushing/air blast) although there will still be some abrasion due to the salt crystals. If you're going to wash the salt off with water, you're going to have to remove ALL the salt - and then, dry off the water - otherwise you're just going to make the problem worse. Leaving the car drenched in mild salt solution would be worse than the dry crystals. Deionised water will give better salt removal (but is expensive). I can't think of a suitable non-polar solvent for the salt which doesn't risk damaging the paintwork.

I will award a croissant because this is a well-meaning but insufficiently technically developed idea, which addresses a genuine problem.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 22 2002

An uncle "gawd rest his soul" had an incredibly rusty pickup. Oceanfront property required constant upkeep by he and other cliffdwellers. Immediately across the street - far less requirements - one block further, even less... The price one pays for location, location, location.
-- thumbwax, Aug 22 2002

In New York, having a blank front license plate (the paint having been worn off by the fine sand blowing from the beach in front of one's weekend property) has long been a subtle status symbol.
-- DrCurry, Aug 22 2002

I'm fairly sure there's a company that sells something similar for your garage. I'll see if I can turn up a link.
-- phoenix, Aug 22 2002

[8th of 7], considering that in the described environment there is plenty of moisture in the air to aid corrosion, it seems that the reduction in concentration of salt on the vehicle should be somewhat beneficial.
-- half, Aug 22 2002

Or, conversely, it could be time to half bake up some oceanside dehumidifiers..
-- Mr Burns, Aug 22 2002

as I recall the problem in Galveston is all the oiltar on the beach & roads. The salt is there to peel that off, see...
-- General Washington, Aug 22 2002

half: That's a very valid argument. My thought would be that moisture in the air is not going to penetrate into any defects in the paintwork (or get caried underneath the vehicle) like the water spray might - not as effectively, anyway. My concern is that any wash has to be really thorough, followed by equally thorugh drying, otherwise it might make things worse. Dry salt will actually absorb small amounts of moisture while remaining solid, and solid salt is nowhere near as corrosive as salt in dilute solution. I suspect the only way to resolve this is by practical testing. How about a sea-spray osmotic salt removing net for beachfronts ?
-- 8th of 7, Aug 22 2002

or use the windscreen washer.

i saw something like this on a marathon on tv for cooling down the runners that could have fitted a small car
-- chud, Aug 22 2002

[8th of 7], I don't know about carrying salt with it, but I think that water vapor can go places that no liquid water has gone before.
-- half, Aug 22 2002

Certain kinds of boats and submarines have replaceable zinc bars attached to them; as long as the bar and the iron/steel on the boat have an electrical connection and they are in electrically-connected bits of water, the zinc will corrode but the iron/steel generally will not.

Galvanized steel works on the same principle, but has the limitation that the zinc is generally not replaceable (without replacing the steel).

I wonder if one could construct a vehicle with lots of easily-replaceable zinc trim to minimize corrosion?
-- supercat, Aug 23 2002

Supercat: You're talking about sacrificial anodes - blocks of metal (usually a magnesium/aluminium/zinc alloy) that are bolted to the hulls of steel ships. The net result of using a component that is more electropositive than steel is that the anode dissolves preferentially into the electrolyte (the water), and the steel hull acts as the cathode in what is in effect a large electric cell. Electrolysis takes place, with hydrogen being liberated at the cathode (the hull) and oxygen at the anode - actually, the anode is eroded and needs routine replacement. This only works if the complete system is immersed in the electrolyte - wet cars tend to have hundred of these little cells all over the place, wherever there is water and two dissimilar metals in contact. To the best of my knowledge there's no way of producing a sacrificial anode for a land vehicle.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 23 2002

Hook up a sprinkler underneath, get out a hose and hose off the top, for an easy solution to be implemented now...
-- polartomato, Aug 23 2002

//Certain kinds of boats and submarines have replaceable zink bars attached to them; as long as the bar and the iron/steel on the boat have an electrical connection and they are in electrically-connected bits of water, the zinc will corrode but the iron/steel generally will not.//
They use a similar process on offshore oil platforms, except instead of zinc, its hooked up to a big generator which pumps electrons in (or out) of the platform, greatly slowing the rust and eliminating the need for painting.
-- andrew1, Sep 27 2005

random, halfbakery