Up
    Survival Guide Home
    Leaky soft-top
    Windscreen misting up
    Handbrake rusting on
    Boot release cable
    Clutch pedal
    Steam from the front
    Road gritting trucks
    Keeping it shiny-side up
    Getting help

Steam rising from the front

The problem: You're sat stationary in traffic, in light drizzly rain and you begin to notice wisps of steam rising from the deep holes in the front clamshell. You worry that the car is overheating or has developed a leak or similar.

The explaination: The radiator in the Elise is mounted directly beneath those scoop-like holes in the front clam. Unlike most cars, it isn't vertical, but horizontal - parallel to the ground. When it is nice and hot, such as when sitting in traffic, light rain evaporates when it hits it and turns to steam, which wisps about in front of the car.

Some people also report that steam can be generated when water that collects in the bodywork splashes onto the radiator. For example, when accelerating, braking or cornering. I haven't seen this happen with mine yet, but it sounds likely enough to me. Also, heavy rain doesn't seem to create any steam on mine.

The solution: There isn't really any problem to fix here. Ignore the people pointing and laughing because they thing you're about to break down in a flash car. You're not - there's no leak and nothing is wrong.

There is a knock-on problem though. The steam generated will hang around in front of your car if it isn't very windy. Then, when you pull away as the traffic starts moving again you'll drive through the steam, and it will mist up the outside of your windscreen!

This isn't much of a problem. In general, the windscreen will clear in a second or two. It's worth being aware of though. If you anticipate traffic moving off in a few seconds, you might want to pull forward a few feet then stop again, just to remove the effect. You can use the windscreen wiper to remove the mist if it persists. A touch of washer spray can help also.

A few people have described a more serious problem with this when the glass of the screen is below zero degrees Centigrade. Apparently the cloud of steam turns to a thin sheet of ice when it hits the cold glass and is impossible to see through. I haven't seen this myself, but it may be worth being aware of. The best defense against this is probably to keep the screen temperature higher than freezing with the internal heater and the method described in Windscreen misting up.




I have yet to find a problem unsolvable with suitable application of an angle grinder (ns)