Car warranty fears over council road gritting technique

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by robert.saunders, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. robert.saunders

    robert.saunders Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    3,744
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    South Lincs / Hampshire
    Car:
    W210 E300TD
    The level of warranty claims against vehicles could rise ‘dramatically’ over the next decade, as a result of corrosion caused by a widely-used pre-wet gritting technique.

    Research by car manufacturer Volkswagen has shown that liability cases against its cars in Austria, where pre-wetting is common, have risen by more than 60% in three years. Recent testing by Volkswagen, which involved metal plates being attached to gritting lorries, has also shown ‘significant’ corrosion to vehicles operating in pre-wet conditions. Dr Jorg Struve, of the Central Laboratory of Metals and Surface Technology, at Volkswagen, said: ‘I have no doubt that the pre-wetting technique has led to increased corrosion to vehicles, and it is inevitable we will see the same happen in the UK in the next decade.’

    Many local authorities in the UK favour the pre-wet option and it has also been adopted by the Highways Agency. The agency is planning to roll out use of the treatment across most of the UK motorway network in the next three years. Pre-wetting involves applying around 30% of saturated sodium chloride brine to dry salt. A holding tank on the gritting vehicle discharges the brine via spray method as the salt leaves a spinner mounted on the bottom. It is considered by many local authorities as the most effective way of applying salt to the road network.

    Professor Tony Hindle, senior lecturer in operational research at Lancaster University, told Surveyor: ‘The suggestion that corrosion costs are a thing of the past for vehicle manufacturers is very wrong. The growing body of evidence that suggests pre-wetting leads to increased corrosion is a big worry.’ Brian Smith, president of the County Surveyors’ Society (CSS) and deputy chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council, said his own council had moved towards pre-wet in recent years in rural areas, and would be ‘reviewing our position’. ‘I am sure that managers involved in decisions about winter maintenance will want to fully understand the findings and consider the relevance and cost issues for their own operation,’ he added.

    The Road Haulage Association (RHA) told Surveyor that it was ‘concerned’ about the situation and ‘would monitor developments carefully as regards to corrosion on behalf of its members.’ One supplier of gritting lorries revealed that chassis’ lives were being reduced by between two and three years because of corrosion. ‘And these are chassis’ of well-known manufacturers as well,’ said Surveyor’s source.

    But defending pre-wet, an HA spokeswoman said: ‘The decision to use pre-wet is based on a substantial amount of ongoing research and evidence from across Europe. Pre-wet uses less salt on the network, which has to be better for everyone.’


    http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=71607
     
  2. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

    Messages:
    34,206
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Car:
    Peugeot 403 Convertible


    Presumably only on a cost basis. It makes sense that coating the underside of ones car with salt water is likely to present problems long term.
     
  3. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    26,875
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Location:
    Perth, Scotland
    Car:
    W204 C200CDI Estate
    Certainly a cause for concern, but the damage done may be less than you would experience in an accident caused by sliding on an icy surface if the roads weren't treated ?:( Swings and Roundabouts?:confused:
     
  4. W210 Fan

    W210 Fan Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    1,434
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Location:
    Godalming
    Car:
    W140 S500L W208 430
    can we/manufactures claim money back from the highways agency due to this problem like we can with badly maintained roads already? if we can it means more claims and even less money to be spent on new roads as they are busy paying for cars to be repaired due to poor roads, its a vicious circle which will ultimately lead to even more oney being wasted, sounds like all the other short sighted government policies,
     
  5. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

    Messages:
    34,206
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Car:
    Peugeot 403 Convertible
    Is this a Government issue, if so when was this bill passed.?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  6. st4

    st4 Banned

    Messages:
    14,374
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Location:
    In the driving seat
    Car:
    C220cdi tourer
    Erm bad news for 210's.
     
  7. prprandall51

    prprandall51 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    2,278
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    In hiding
    Car:
    Audi

    Yes, wet-gritting is a policy of the Highways Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Transport (Minister in Cabinet - Ruth Kelly). The specific bill in question is the budget - more properly known as the Finance Bill.

    Every year the Government makes decisions about how it can use the finance bill to reduce spending on roads. The use of a money-saving wet-gritting technique is an example.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  8. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

    Messages:
    34,206
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Car:
    Peugeot 403 Convertible
    I thought gritting fell under County Coucil control. Is that incorrect.?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    robert.saunders

    robert.saunders Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    3,744
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    South Lincs / Hampshire
    Car:
    W210 E300TD
    local council for local roads; HA for trunk routes
     
  10. prprandall51

    prprandall51 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    2,278
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    In hiding
    Car:
    Audi
    I don't know - I am reading the bit about the Highways Agency from the original post. Never-the-less, County Councils usually make cost-based decisions in their policies because of central government pressure and influence. Furthermore, council is government - even if it isn't central government - so it seems that the statement "short sighted government policies" still stands.
     
  11. Beetnik

    Beetnik Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    538
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Car:
    Volvo V60 2.4 bi-turbo: SLK 200
    Traditionally salt is stock piled in the open though it contains a caking agent which forms a crust on the top surface to stop erosion of salt due to rain.

    There has been a move to store salt in barns to keep it dry and to control its movement. The cost of these barns is astronomical.

    Many local authorities are allowing Salt Union to install salt barns and store salt in these. They pay as they use the salt. Because the salt is dryish when this is distributed on the road it flies off easily. So they came up with the idea to wet this salt so that it sticks to the ground. Going back to square one!

    All this started in the Scandinavian countries as they purchase very fine salt and if this is dry then it just flies off and they thus started wetting.

    Commercial interests have really pushed hard among the local authorities and many have fallen into this illogical trap.

    If research is showing that pre-wetting is causing increased corrosion then the salt solution on the road surface must be more concentrated than the traditional method thus pre-wetting must be placing more salt on the road with increased costs. What a farce!!
     
  12. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

    Messages:
    26,875
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Location:
    Perth, Scotland
    Car:
    W204 C200CDI Estate
    While being appalled at the damage road salt can inflict on our vehicles, I should perhaps point out that any change to the system would probably increase costs and there is only one group of people who will have to bear this- those paying local authority/ income taxes! Road salting and gritting and snow clearing in the UK will always be a problem for motorists and those charged with keeping the traffic moving in adverse weather conditions. Living as we do in a predominantly maritime influenced climate its extremely difficult to decide the sort of budget to devote to "winter motoring" As car owners do you spend money on a set of winter tyres /wheels in anticipation of frost and snow which may only last a couple of days? As a local authority how much budget do you devote/set aside to road clearance- trucks/gritters/ snowploughs- stockpiling of road grit/salt---overtime payments to road crews? The Scandinavians and Austrians/Swiss generally have it easier since normally they can predict they will definitely get snow during the winter months.Thus their motorists/road authorities can confidently spend money knowing it will be needed.;)
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.