winter season undercarriage cleaning, right way(s) or don't do it at all? - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
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post #1 of 12 Old 6th January 2018, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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winter season undercarriage cleaning, right way(s) or don't do it at all?

Hello,

Been searching and either our cars age well from factory's underbody protection, and such, not too much conversations around this topic.

Even if the factory intention of protecting the undercarriage is good and all (eg. germany, i would think their winter is nothing to laugh about), other stuffs like fasteners, brake lines, suspensions, etc. are left susceptible?

So first winter here in North Carolina triangle area. Moved down from Boise, Idaho.

And past days hit with what i would consider a small snow falls, and NC tackled with salt brine's and road salts, which after following day turned the roads with those white residues.

Solutions: don't clean, clean, don't drive, don't live in place that do this, ...

I would like to tackle the cleaning, when the temperature warms up next week to 50's and 60's (go figure to this inconsistent winter in NC, but also best thing about inconsistent winter).

I've picked up from various comments and articles on doing pressure wash (using moderate pressure), lawn sprinkler idea, run your car over tall glass, drive over large puddle, and list goes on.

Including do not do it, eg. can damage your transmission sensors, perhaps strip factory's underbody protection. Perhaps these failures are from not using moderate pressures.

So, how do folks in areas where salt brine's and road salts are used, say in inconsistent winter season, or not, go about maintaining their car's underbelly?

Current thinking is around doing pressure washing using something like this item, though nozzles themselves are not adjustable, the pressure can probably be adjusted from the pressure washer system,






Any suggestion welcomed.

I'm going to post this inquiry to two other favorite forums, m3forum.net and bimimerfest, and will try to roll up comments from others. I don't think e46 m3 is any different in cleaning its undercarriage, but wouldn't hurt to get their forum sayings.

Thanks much.
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post #2 of 12 Old 6th January 2018, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gixxer View Post
Hello,

Been searching and either our cars age well from factory's underbody protection, and such, not too much conversations around this topic.

Even if the factory intention of protecting the undercarriage is good and all (eg. germany, i would think their winter is nothing to laugh about), other stuffs like fasteners, brake lines, suspensions, etc. are left susceptible?

So first winter here in North Carolina triangle area. Moved down from Boise, Idaho.

And past days hit with what i would consider a small snow falls, and NC tackled with salt brine's and road salts, which after following day turned the roads with those white residues.

Solutions: don't clean, clean, don't drive, don't live in place that do this, ...

I would like to tackle the cleaning, when the temperature warms up next week to 50's and 60's (go figure to this inconsistent winter in NC, but also best thing about inconsistent winter).

I've picked up from various comments and articles on doing pressure wash (using moderate pressure), lawn sprinkler idea, run your car over tall glass, drive over large puddle, and list goes on.

Including do not do it, eg. can damage your transmission sensors, perhaps strip factory's underbody protection. Perhaps these failures are from not using moderate pressures.

So, how do folks in areas where salt brine's and road salts are used, say in inconsistent winter season, or not, go about maintaining their car's underbelly?

Current thinking is around doing pressure washing using something like this item, though nozzles themselves are not adjustable, the pressure can probably be adjusted from the pressure washer system,






Any suggestion welcomed.

I'm going to post this inquiry to two other favorite forums, m3forum.net and bimimerfest, and will try to roll up comments from others. I don't think e46 m3 is any different in cleaning its undercarriage, but wouldn't hurt to get their forum sayings.

Thanks much.
I live in a salty heavy winter area and used to buy a seasonal pass to a touch free car wash with a strong undercar rinse..Never had an impact in anything but the salt...I also have a heated garage..never an issue with sensors are anything else....I would think that in NC you are going to see more rain than snow, I wouldn't get overly concerned about it.

Last edited by intrepid one; 6th January 2018 at 08:39 PM. Reason: correction
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post #3 of 12 Old 6th January 2018, 09:10 PM
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Its been my experience

Most fasteners are now-a-days built to handle road grime. This includes mag chloride, salt and h2o. Where necessary engineers use moisture resistant plugs, galvanized bolts, stainless parts and plastic rivets / screws. I'm always fascinated on relatively modern cars with their use of drain holes and parts integration. In particular BMW. They have come a long way from an E9.

I've wintered my car for years. During the clutch job I recently completed I even retained my exhaust manifold bolts. 16 year old car @160.

Jeeps use to be frozen together after a few years of salt. Not so anymore.

Wash when it gets dirty. White buys you the most time.

Letting Ms sit should be a crime unless your out of money for gas and tires.


My 2 pence.
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post #4 of 12 Old 7th January 2018, 06:34 AM
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E39 doors seem to rust when the drain and weatherstripping is clogged. I would recommend flushing the dirt out
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post #5 of 12 Old 7th January 2018, 07:57 AM
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Would a drip oil spray be an option? I don't know much about it but someone from Canada could probably comment on it.

A guy on the YouTubes, AMMO NYC, might have some info on your question as well.
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post #6 of 12 Old 7th January 2018, 01:54 PM
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With the car on a lift, remove the underbody panels, and you can quickly spray it down and use car wash soap/degreaser/etc on the whole underside. The best solution is to not drive it on our roads with all this salt stuff -- especially during the first rain like expected later this week. There are some areas just caked in salt right now -- totally white and thick. That stuff is going to be nasty during the first rain and likely into the 2nd rain event. Even with a thorough underside scrubbing/spraying on a lift, you can't easily get to places you need to where that salt spray from driving in that first rain event will end up. If you're so inclined, once on the lift, you can remove all wheels, pull all the underbody panels, pull the front and rear fender liners, pull the front and rear bumper covers, and really go at it simply using a good car wash soap/all-purpose cleaner/degreaser.

For the most part, we see so little winter road stuff here in the RDU area, most local cars hardly show signs of it from just a few days/year. However, you can really see it on a car from up north -- all the rust on exposed bolt threads/nuts, other steel based items, and corrosion on all the aluminum parts, etc. We've always had an older 4th car that receives use during times like these, and I never worry about it. (E91 doing this duty now). I sold our Volvo 850R wagon two years ago after owning it for 20 years here, and it saw a good bit of winter roads over that time -- still zero rust on any body part and only very minor surface rust on exposed bolts/nuts/etc.

Current stable:

2019 M2 Competition 6MT LBB, slicktop
2011.5 M3 sedan 6MT Silverstone, slicktop: Dinan front swaybar, Eibach rear swaybar, pins-out-max-camber-up-front, Dinan exhaust, Michelin PS4S, Apex EC-7 9.5/10.5x19
2007 328i wagon Silver/gray: Eibach 28mm front swaybar, E93 M3 rear swaybar, 219M M3 wheels, Michelin PSAS3+
1975 CanAm 125MX2: Stock, original owner

Last edited by CSBM5; 7th January 2018 at 01:56 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 7th January 2018, 04:49 PM
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I will occasionally go to a drive-through brushless carwash for the underbody wash feature.
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post #8 of 12 Old 8th January 2018, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the feedback's and suggestions.

I do not have a heated garage so i'll need to find a day this week to spray (with hose and sprayer), and have the car sit for few hours to thoroughly dry out. The region is supposed to hit 65 on Friday this week.


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The best solution is to not drive it on our roads with all this salt stuff -- especially during the first rain like expected later this week. There are some areas just caked in salt right now -- totally white and thick.
That's good to know since you said the forecast has thu/fri/sat for chance of rains.

And coming out of 540 toll to Cary exit, you can see good 15 or so yards of thick white residues.

Though this past snow seem seem small fall, NCDOT really pulled out all the stops.

Last edited by gixxer; 8th January 2018 at 03:13 AM.
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post #9 of 12 Old 8th January 2018, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Someone posted following gizmo, something like the lawn sprinkler idea, with you controlling the angle of the spray. And the pressure doesn't seem all that strong but does say one can adjust the pressure from the garden hose attach. At least doesn't require separate pressure wash system. There is no nozzle but just some holes drilled in the pvc pipe.

One could take this concept and apply in your weekend DIY.

The Underwasher :: Hose accessory that lets you clean under your car, RV, boat or ATV!

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post #10 of 12 Old 8th January 2018, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gixxer View Post
Thanks all for the feedback's and suggestions.

I do not have a heated garage so i'll need to find a day this week to spray (with hose and sprayer), and have the car sit for few hours to thoroughly dry out. The region is supposed to hit 65 on Friday this week.




That's good to know since you said the forecast has thu/fri/sat for chance of rains.

And coming out of 540 toll to Cary exit, you can see good 15 or so yards of thick white residues.

Though this past snow seem seem small fall, NCDOT really pulled out all the stops.
Yes, it truly seems like they went crazy overboard. I guess the extreme cold temperatures forecast for after the snow led them down that path, but this is by far the worst I've ever seen our roads. Some areas are insane like you mention -- just noticed the area around I-540 and Capital Blvd entrances and exits look like snow everywhere along the side of the road but is in fact a thick layer of salt. Hopefully we'll get some serious rain later this week to help get rid of this junk.

Current stable:

2019 M2 Competition 6MT LBB, slicktop
2011.5 M3 sedan 6MT Silverstone, slicktop: Dinan front swaybar, Eibach rear swaybar, pins-out-max-camber-up-front, Dinan exhaust, Michelin PS4S, Apex EC-7 9.5/10.5x19
2007 328i wagon Silver/gray: Eibach 28mm front swaybar, E93 M3 rear swaybar, 219M M3 wheels, Michelin PSAS3+
1975 CanAm 125MX2: Stock, original owner
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