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  1. #1

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    Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Hi all:

    First: this isn`t about paint or carpets or cosmetics. After a lifetime in southern Ontario I`ve got that mostly OK. I can always do better but life is a balance of compromises, mostly time.

    I`m currently driving the newest/lowest mileage car I`ve had yet. It`s a 2011 so it`s not new anymore, but I`m looking to even further step up my game to do my part to make it last. One thing I`m unsure about is how best to do undercarriage, under hood, nook and cranny salt removal and corrosion protection. I`d like some suggestions and discussion. I`ll state right off that I simply don`t have "Accumulator" kind of time, to get under a vehicle and clean with woolies every time I wash. I wish, but it just isn`t happening (or he`s been joking all along).

    The vehicle is a 2011 BMW F10 535xi (that only has about 35k of daily, all season miles at this point). It is constructed of double galvanized, seam-sealed steel, lots of aluminum and some composite. Many fasteners are aluminum too. The underside has lots of covers and panels and looks something like this (not exactly my car, not my photo):



    Some of my thoughts:

    • I`ve seen mention of using a pressure-washer water broom attachment or even a sprinkler
      • In the spring when I need to clean up, tap water is just above freezing - I don`t think it will be effective at dissolving away salt in any significant quantity. I don`t have ready access to warm/hot water to run through my pressure washer but I might be able to rig something up with a garden hose running through the hose.
      • A chemical mixed inline may help with cleanup - compatibility with aluminum and the other materials and dissimilar metal interfaces would be key
      • I think I`d have to remove all of those under trays, or I`d just be pushing salt further in with a pressure washer.
      • I would think a lawn sprinkler (seen it suggested online) won`t do anything but make stuff wet.
      • I`m not sure that the solution is more equipment...

    • I get under the car in the fall and very selectively use rust control products like Krown T40, Fluid Film or whatever on some areas.
      • There`s some wisdom going around that spraying stuff everywhere just "goops" up the underside making it sticky for dirt and salt.
      • Really thick goop can make even more nooks and cavities for salty water to hide
      • gooping everything up with something can make any kind of service or repair underneath more difficult in the future

    • In the spring and through the winter I use touchless car washes and pay for undercarriage wash
    • I don`t see it being practical to get under the car, remove trays, and clean and spray lying on my back in the driveway - I`ll get it all over myself and still not be effective.


    So, is there a combination of cleaners (safe for the construction) that would help get a grip on salt even with COLD water? I have 1Z W99 (has aluminum warnings, but can`t remember if they still apply when diluted), 1Z Blitz, Simple Green, lots of car shampoos, D143, and a whack of other household stuff. Is something like Bio-Kleen Salt Kleen actually any good?

    Any suggestions on an efficient approach to reach everything? One many years ago I remember using floor jacks to tilt a car up so I could blast underneath with a hose.

    Is there a REALLY nice product from Wurth or similar that could creep, protect, and set up NON-STICKY while providing a fairly thin film that won`t get all bulky and hold salt? I wonder if I should just be using something similar to, but more advanced than, Cosmoline after a really thorough clean up.

    Thanks for comments
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  2. #2
    Darth Camaro 12/27/15 Don's Avatar
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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    My $0.02 ...

    In many cases, a TOUCHLESS car wash with a chassis bath option is your friend during inclement weather. It allows you to do a routine `flushing` of the car and the undercarriage, preventing any `major` salt build up.

    The detail shop, where I learned the basics AND how to properly rust-proof a car, will often use a Murphy`s Oil Soap mixture to help dissolve the salt & rinse it away - without disturbing the already-applied undercoating (thick and gooey) between annual touch ups of the undercoating product ... Murphy`s is NOT good for a waxed surface though (it cleans pads out well though), but the oils in the soap that are good for wood, seem to neutralize and draw out the crusted salt.

    This is also a good use for a foam gun/foam cannon. Using a heavy concentration of soap in the mix, thoroughly saturate the undercarriage with soap/foam and LET IT SOAK! Since you`re not going to be doing any physical scrubbing, you are relying totally on the cleaning power of the soap, so letting it soak is going to be the best way to do it, maybe even multiple applications and rinses - depending on how bad the accumulation is.

    I`ve noticed that the majority of rust on the undercarriage starts within the first 1/4 to 1/3 of the sides of the car (the areas that get road splash from the tires) ... the center section, not so much, so by concentrating your cleaning efforts to the first foot, 1-1/2 in from the rocker panels, and mainly thoroughly rinsing the center section of the under-body, should be your primary goals. Using this theory, manual scrubbing of the rockers and the immediately surrounding under-body with a long handled/soft bristled body brush is quick and simple.

    Ok, so I gave more than $0.02 cents worth, but now you have a few good ideas to start a plan with.
    Don M

    The Surprised owner
    of a 2013 Camaro LS
    323hp / 6 manual
    Darth Camaro


  3. #3

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Now is the time to continue to wash or rinse the underside of the car to get it as clean as it can be over the summer. Then use a long term protection in fall and not have to worry about it again. I used cosmoline on my cars unless you use heavy solvents it cosmoline remover it likely isnt coming off and is your force field to whatever hits it

    Fluid film etc are just temporary they work but I dont like to have to do it each season

    Whips wax makes salt remover.

    There are some marine type products made for salt water removal that would work on your initial clean up as well. Salt terminator, salt off, salt away are a couple

    Mercury makes corrosion gaurd you could spray after you got it cleaned up

    Lots of options and everyone has a different method and best product




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  4. #4

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Surly- Sounds like my approach won`t be suitable, but just for the record...No, not foolin` at all. Never wash anything without a few hours on the undercarriage/etc. even in the summer. Means just as much to me as the hood.

    For the "dries DRY version of Rust Inhibitor", Eastwood`s Black Heavy Duty Anti-Rust is my usual choice. It dries *almost* like a semi-gloss paint, most people couldn`t tell the difference. It does *NOT* retain dirt/etc., you can wash it clean. Like other such stuff, you can wipe away overspray/etc. with a solvent.

    For areas that don`t show (cavities inside doors/etc.) I do prefer KBS Coatings` Cavity Coater, but the Eastwood BHDAR is probably what you want.

    I didn`t bother mentioning getting a Pro Undercoating Gun and pints of stuff as I figure that`s another of my too-extreme approaches...

  5. #5

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    When you get it cleaned you wrote about wrth products. So did a little google for you I don`t know how your cars are delivered in the US. But here in Sweden they are rust protected with a thick and dry to the touch undercarige protection. Thrue the years if not maintained they dry and cracks up. So you have to apply a new layer of the undercarige products. This wrth product seems to be the same kind of products used to do this. It`s stops the corrosion that have started. Then you have a thinner product of this kind that you spray in doors and other places you don`t get to brush or spray it on. It`s a mist it in the places and for an example the chanels that the water runs through in the cars body.

    https://www.wurthusa.com/Chemical-Pr...n/p/0893110360

    The salt is water soluble but it desolves many of the dirt that is left on the roads and then bonds with it to the car. Undercarige products is almost like tar and that is the problem when you are going to clean the it. Since the cleaners that are most effective to get the salt cruds and road grime off also desolves the undercarige products that are used. So when cleaning I use a alkaline based degreaser and a brush that the PW don`t get. And if I see any dried up rust protected product I use a stiffer brush and then apply it with a brush. If doing larger area it`s easier to spray it on but man is it a dirty work to do.But worth it if you are planning to keep the car for a long time.

  6. #6

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    SWETM- Hey, thanks for posting about the Wurth product, that`s new since I last checked with them.
    Likes SWETM liked this post

  7. #7

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Thanks everyone. Lots of info here. A few responses that come to mind.

    As I mentioned - when using a touchless wash during the winter, I always opt for the undercarriage option. I`m just not really sure whether the salt removal of the carwash can compete with 2 hours at 65mph through brine when it comes to creeping into seams and under covers.

    Accumulator: I simply don`t have your kind of time I wish I did.

    Marine products for salt removal are an interesting spin for sure. But, there`s no salt water even remotely near me. If I were to shop in marine circles, I don`t think there would be any products or expertise in salt water issues. So, I`m back to ordering online. Thus, I need to know what I want before I order it. Hence asking real humans. Asking google doesn`t always get you the right product.

    Accumulator: I`ll have to see if I can even get Eastwood or KBS products here. They do sound interesting.

    SWETM: As you mention - salt is water soluble but like I mentioned the ice cold tap water in the spring when I need to get this done doesn`t seem to have the power on its own to clean salt off. I`m even less excited about lying on the driveway under the car in ice cold tap water, spraying ice cold tap water at the underside of the car inches from my face. Sigh.

    Yes I do have a foam gun, but not a foam cannon at my disposal. I do have a gas powered power washer at my disposal, but it`s not something I`ve ever used for cleaning up the car. It`s never been needed on the shiny bits or under the hood and frankly it`s a PITA to deal with. The question would be - with either foam gun/cannon - what product do I spray out of all of those options which will foam, attack salt and grime, but not react with any of the materials in the construction of the car, or cause problems at dissimilar metal interfaces? Oh, and I can order online to Canada?

  8. #8

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Surly- IIRC, AutoInt/ValuGard makes a type of "Salt-removal Product" that`s supposed to be All That. I`d be astounded if you can`t get products from Automotive International since they really are world-wide. If nothing else, you could bet your life that it wouldn`t do any damage, period.

    And I fully understand people not having the time/other resources that Yours Truly sometimes puts in to this stuff. If I didn`t, I`d simply be leasing stuff or otherwise not driving myself nuts. Which sometimes sounds appealing anyhow

  9. #9

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    I`ll look at that too. I did find a pointer to an Eastwood dealer in country, but their web site made absolutely no mention of the brand. I sent an inquiry at any rate. If they won`t ship it won`t help but one step at a time.

    So - inquiring minds want to know... There are a bunch of salt remover, salt neutralizer etc... products out there. Are they any different or are they all the same? Bio-Kleen, Eastwood, many brands I`ve never heard of but can actually get online by the gallon.

  10. #10

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Quote Originally Posted by Surly View Post
    So - inquiring minds want to know... There are a bunch of salt remover, salt neutralizer etc... products out there. Are they any different or are they all the same?
    Good Q..could you tell anything from the Safety info, the MSDS or whatever they`re called?

  11. #11

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Being from Ontario myself, I can see your struggle.

    I would be washing the undercarriage once a week in the log winter months using the drive they car washes.

    Not many of us are blessed with a heated garage that has all the drainage etc. Ive never been a fan of paint like material to protect rust. I just dont believe in it and it would be impossible for me to be convinced otherwise. If its DRY and goes on DRY and remains DRY- it WILL allow for crap to get in between the metal and whatever paint-like product youve used in an attempt to save your car from winter hell in Canada.

    Our temps fluctuate like crazy too- which also cant help when you apply anything that dries. I like your idea of spraying krown products- even tho in my opinion there are better options out there that last forever.

    I just took the interior out in my 1990 Mustang that has been sprayed with Rust Check since 1993-2011.

    That stuff is still dripping and sitting INSIDE my fenders. I saw it once I removed the interior paneling. I can send you pics of what Im talking about.

    I would honestly keep everything clean and your touch up idea is excellent in my opinion.


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  12. #12

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    For the last couple of years they are called Safety Data Sheets (SDS sheets). Basically the same info but now the layout and icons used are universal globally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    Good Q..could you tell anything from the Safety info, the MSDS or whatever they`re called?

  13. #13

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    Re: Winter salt cleanup and corrosion prevention (on parts that aren`t shiny)

    Quote Originally Posted by JSFM35X View Post
    For the last couple of years they are called Safety Data Sheets (SDS sheets). .
    Ah, OK...I somehow *thought* the name had changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Striker
    I’ve never been a fan of paint like material to protect rust. I just don’t believe in it and it would be impossible for me to be convinced otherwise. If it’s DRY and goes on DRY and remains DRY- it WILL allow for crap to get in between the metal and whatever paint-like product youve used in an attempt to save your car...
    The Eastwood Black Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust kinda strikes the middle ground between the Dry and Wet protection. It does the creep/migrate/wick thing yet exhibits a surface dryness that`s close to paint like. The job I did on my old beater-Blazer has held up so well for its current owner that I`m second-guessing my decision to sell it, and he doesn`t maintain it *nearly* the way I did.

 

 

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