Winter Driving, East Coast E36 & Rust - BMW Forum -

3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Winter Driving, East Coast E36 & Rust

Hi everyone. I bought my E36 in November 2010, and I love it. It had 217k km on it when I bought it, drove it from Hamilton, Ontario to Halifax Nova Scotia and it hit 233k km just yesterday. I've put a few grand into it, it drives like I want it to, looks like I want it to (for the most part, I'll get to that eventually), and I drive it year round. That's a part of the problem. It's my only car, and I live in Nova Scotia, Canada (basically New England for the geographically challenged), so the roads are salted for 3-4 months out of the year/most of the winter. My car is kept in a garage when it's not driven except for when I'm at work when its in a lot.

The body on it is pretty much solid, interior is mint, new speakers and all that, but I've become the victim of rust, or maybe I'm just starting to notice all of it now (I'm one of those guys who loses sleep over minor car problems, but I hear that untreated rust is like cancer).

Here's the link to my photobucket page, click the first pic and check the descriptions underneath.
Pictures by mfcollex - Photobucket

The car is mechanically mint, so it drives no problems. I'm going to college in September this year and I would like to at least keep the car until the end of college, driving it all year round, considering the money I've put into it to keep it mechanically sound it should have no problem being my DD for another few years. My concern is that the rust will really make itself known to the general public and look like crap on an otherwise awesome looking car. It looks mint from afar but to those who know where to look it's showing signs of salt making the car it's b*tch. I was quoted $1000 + tax to fix all the rust spots shown in the pictures, from a not-so-good local body shop so if I want something like that done, I want it done right and not at a discount price.

Thing is, I don't really want to spend much more money on the car. I have to start saving up for school, and I would love to keep the car through til' I make enough money to buy myself probably a low km e39 540i or maybe an e46 m3 if the price is right. So my general question is... Will the New England roads totally EAT my car the way that it sits if I want to keep driving it year round, and is it worth getting all the rust fixed to help sell it in 2-3 years, or is there a way I can just leave it as it is, still washing the undercarriage and babying it as it is now, and have the car be in only slightly worse condition, rust-wise when it comes time to sell it?

It seems like I would be putting $1k into it now and then 3 years from now all the rust I had removed would have resurfaced. So like I said, can I just baby it and wash regularly and the car should be fine? I don't really know just how quick rust can spread, although looking back on when I first bought the car I remember how much rust it had and how much it has now, and it's an alarming difference for only a year, I was surprised. I know that 99% of the rust on the car is just simple body panels and known e36 rust spots (rear arches, under the trunk, front fenders). Please let me know what you think, share your E36 rust experiences. Thank you
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