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Bought my RS this past July. I live in Chicago area so the winters / road salt conditions here are brutal. I could store my car for the winter, it would be fairly inconvenient and I'm weighing the options. The way I see it I could either:

1. Continue to drive the car as my daily, and add winter wheels + tires. I also don't have a skid plate so would probably need to add that - cost: $800 to $1000 for wheels, $500 (??) skid plate
2. Store the car and buy a beater civic and sell it at the end of the season - cost: $800 to $1000
3. Store the car and try to get by on my family's other cars, running the risk of having to take the RS unprepared on summer tires if a real need does come up

Anyone in winter climates daily their car through the winter? Anyone store? Looking for feedback to evaluate my decision.
 

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Anyone in winter climates daily their car through the winter? Anyone store? Looking for feedback to evaluate my decision.
You might get a wide range of opinions on subject of preserving the car vs using the car. Personally, I bought mine with the intent of enjoying it in all seasons. I can understand folks that want to preserve their cars forever, but life is short and the most fun I've had with the RS is on snow and ice. On snow and ice you can enjoy the car without burning through tires. I have immense appreciation for the dynamic AWD system in low-traction situations.
Salt and grit are there and will make the undercarriage rustier than a garaged car, but it isn't going to fall apart with care, I do what I can to slow it.

Here are a couple cheap things I've done to prevent winter damage and slow rust propagation:
  • Thin PPF strips on the wheel arches to prevent chips and future rust points.
  • Installed the euro RS OEM rear wheel arch/bumper crack protectors; they keep grit from getting stuck where the rear bumper meets the metal wheel arch and abrading the paint and rusting out. They're like little baby mud flaps for a very key spot. Pic below.
  • Epoxied the undertray - made it through 2 winters without issue, but finally upgraded to aluminum for further protection.
  • Hand wash the car when possible in the winter, including undercarriage rinse with Salt-Away.
  • My garage isn't heated, which is good for slowing any rusting.
To wash the car in the winter when it gets really salty I made a cheap PVC under carriage washer that I connect a Salt-Away applicator to. I bought a small pump, expanding hose and bucket lid off Amazon and I fill a few 5 gal buckets with warm water to dissolve rust more easily. The Salt-Away aids in dissolving the rust and leaves a coating preventing salt from seeping back in as easily. I think it's also important not to wash the car too often.

Here's a link to a quick how-to of what I use for washing in the winter in the cold:
DIY system for rinsing salt off your car in the cold
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Here's the part #'s for those rear bumper crack protectors:
G1EY-17F766-AA and G1EY-17F767-AA
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All personal preference but I would store it. I don’t live where it snows but I have a truck I drive when it rains or the weather is nasty. The RS and my mustang are daily driven all other times.
 

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I regret driving my Subaru in the salty winters. Might not be a concern if you're not planning on keeping the car for a long time, but why not rust out a beater instead? It IS super fun driving on the snowy roads with a good AWD rally car, but again, you're going to pay the price a few years down the road.
 

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How is this even a question.

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modern cars have amazing rust protection, but it’s not perfect. Eastern US is way more harsh with road salt than western Canada. We use a mix of sand and this weird natural black stuff. My car is also pretty rough. I’m on my 3rd windshield, my front bumper cover is severely chipped etc. But 100% worth it in my opinion
 

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I live in Colorado and RS is my daily driver during winter months. I ordered the RS specific winter wheel/tire set when I bought the car and swap them during winter. The traction in snow is phenomenal and I enjoy it. RS even takes the load off the second car in my garage during snow days just because I don't have a winter set for the other one as it runs on 21" and winter tires on that size are pricey.

Here in Colorado, they don’t use salt on road as much as they do in the East and so I cannot vouch for it. But keep the car clean and washed at all time and you should be fine, I guess.
 

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I'm from Washington but lived in New York for 5 years, and I'm telling you that folks out here on the west coast don't understand rust belt winters. Before living there and dealing with it I certainly didn't. Mountain driving and snow out here is not comparable to driving the salty white roads out east. If you are able to, keep your nice car in the garage and buy a beater.
 

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I live in Colorado and RS is my daily driver during winter months. I ordered the RS specific winter wheel/tire set when I bought the car and swap them during winter. The traction in snow is phenomenal and I enjoy it. RS even takes the load off the second car in my garage during snow days just because I don't have a winter set for the other one as it runs on 21" and winter tires on that size are pricey.

Here in Colorado, they don’t use salt on road as much as they do in the East and so I cannot vouch for it. But keep the car clean and washed at all time and you should be fine, I guess.
You probably got to use those winter tires the past couple of days .
 

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I would get a winter wheel/tire set and minimize my winter use. Its a solid winter car except for deep fresh snow, where it is too low.
We generally use our CRV or 4 wheel truck first.
 

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If you expand and look around this picture, you will see crud. Look in front of the brake ducts, Notice the top of the splitter. This is a ‘16 with 5K, at the time of this pic. Never driven in rain. I It’s only cherry once, you can never go back. I think in longer terms than many. (I had my last sport boat for 26 years)
Since you’re going to sell it eventually, I would recommend a covering for the front end, as a chip guard. There are many good suggestions, but winter driving will show, no matter how thorough you are.
51EEEB6E-5A81-442F-9AFF-4B45D2496808.jpeg
 

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I frigging can't wait to drive it in the snow! I grew up in northeast Canada where our seasons were July and winter, and was hooning cars on snow-covered back roads long before I legally could. I'm going to do all the protective stuff @stvjeep and @Northish suggested, but few things in life are more fun than a fast AWD car in the snow.
 

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Following @Northish advice for proper protection will get you through winter with minimal wear. He listed pretty much all I did and my car is not bad after 4 winters. You can also get it rustproofed, I get mine treated with Krown oil each year in the fall. My RS is way above average for a 4 years old car in our northern climate, got 75k km, about 2/3 of which are winter driven.

To me storing it for winter would be missing out on a totally different season with its own way of enjoying it. I tend to prefer winter driving in the RS and am always excited when snow is on the forecast!

Just protect it best you can and enjoy it. If you have access to ice driving school/event even better...best way to learn a lot without putting much wear on the car!

Here’s a few winter pics! Wish I could post short clips too I have some fun ones from ice driving school (skidpad, scandinavian flick, leftfoot braking slalom, etc) if I remember the techniques right!

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Can't wait for the snow! A skid plate is not strictly necessary unless you go into deep ruts. I'd recommend proper winter tires of course! My personal favorites are the Hakkapeliitta 9 (studded) in 225/45R18, they are quite fun on all surfaces :cool:
 

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Thinking about this as well. I drove my ST through the winters for about four years. I didn’t see a ton of extra wear on the car outside of aging plastics and it getting dirty. Rust was basically non existent outside of a few wearables like the axles. The attitude of the car changes so much with chunkier winter tires and slicker roads though. To me, the way the car changes was almost not worth the extra wear and any fun I would’ve had in the snow was muted by being in tons of traffic during it. I’m leaning towards full on storing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thinking about this as well. I drove my ST through the winters for about four years. I didn’t see a ton of extra wear on the car outside of aging plastics and it getting dirty. Rust was basically non existent outside of a few wearables like the axles. The attitude of the car changes so much with chunkier winter tires and slicker roads though. To me, the way the car changes was almost not worth the extra wear and any fun I would’ve had in the snow was muted by being in tons of traffic during it. I’m leaning towards full on storing.
That's the other thing is that out here in Chicago it's not like we have incredible winding mountain roads. So any fun would be limited to parking lots which, while it sounds like a blast, doesn't seem worth it.

All the pics of folks hooning in the snow looks so fun though. Maybe later in life when I don't need to worry about resale value or anything like that. God I hope there's still some RS's around by then.
 

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I'm just going to do what @Northish does since I intended to drive my car all year around as well. I don't ever plan to sell the car so the wear is going to be expected. Going to throw on a winter wheel/tire set and I'll be good. I work in a big heated shop so I can pull the car in during lunch and spray it down if I need to.
 
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