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I had a couple of questions regarding frame corrosion. These are kind of survey oriented so anyone can answer them.

If you live in a northern state, do you do anything to protect the frame on your truck?

If not, would you ever pay extra at a carwash in the winter months to have an underbody flush with added detergent that would clean off road salt and other corrosive chemicals from your frame?
 

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I live in NH; I think that qualifies.

On prior vehicles I've done nothing. I kinda regret that, but then again, most of my prior vehicles were pre-owned and wasn't planning to own for decades. My VW was different, and my Tundra will likewise be 10+ years planned ownership.

A number of people I know swear by weekly washing. Hose down the undercarriage, making sure to get everything, will get all the salt off. I'm not sure I would trust an automated carwash, as I would not want to stand next to it, so as to find out if every nook and cranny was being washed down. Of course, crawling under the vehicle to do it yourself is probably just as messy. Nevermind the issue of doing this in freezing cold weather.

On my Tundra I decided to spray it down with Fluid Film. I read lots of reviews, lots of opinions, and decided to try it. The reviews for Krown seem to be better, but that is only available in Canada for some reason. Fluid Film has good reviews just the same. I bought four cans of it, about $10 each, off Amazon. I used three cans to just do the frame and running gear, and some spots on the sheetmetal. I think it would take six plus spray cans, so it would be economically feasible to buy the gallon and the sprayer. I will say, given the ground clearance, I had little trouble crawling around under the truck. My truck was still very new to me at the time, so it was still very clean underneath, from the dealership's washing. If it's not clean underneath, you'll want to hose it off, powerwash preferably, and then let it dry for a couple days, so it's good and dry, before spraying.

The smell is different, but not unpleasant. Melted crayons is what I've read it described as. Not bad, really. With the windows rolled up I don't smell it; and I actually started to like the smell after a while... Easy enough to spray on. It is a nuisance initially, as it will at first attract lots of grit; but, who cares? It's under the truck. I've noticed it attracting less dirt now, now it just has a dusty finish.

The downside to Fluid Film is that it needs to be reapplied. Like once a year, or twice if you drive lots and wash the vehicle lots. Buy it by the gallon, and spray at your leisure. Any time you get under the truck, grab a spray can and hose anything looking dry. Otherwise, just pick some weekend in the fall to hose everything down, again after powerwashing it a day or two before.

[I have read of not washing prior to using; some state that commercial users might go that route. Being immaculately clean is not a prerequisite for Fluid Film to work. It supposedly will displace water, and, being an oil, it should coat everything anyhow. It's just one of those things, it will likely work better if there's no dirt under it.]

I'll probably spray all three of my vehicles this fall. I don't think it's necessary for sub-10 year ownership, but it'll be appreciated after that time frame.
 
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I'll be testing this product in the fall and over the winter :)

 

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I live in southern Maine and travel north a couple times a month snowmobiling during the winter, so I see a lot of treated roads; salt, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride. I use a "touch free" commercial car wash and use the bottom blast upon returning home and usually after a storm otherwise. There is some corrosion on the frame rails, especially at the welds, and some on the rear differential, but the body panels look to be rust free and no discernible rust on the brake or fuel lines. I've got 90,000 on the clock and see no reason it shouldn't go another 90. Some friends use a 50/50 mix of diesel fuel and drain oil to treat their frames, but I find that too messy for me
 

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I will say, vehicles do seem to have changed, in regards to rust. For the most part, that is. Underneath I think "sheetmetal" rusts less than it used to. It, along with the body panels, gets whatever rust protection that the body panels gets: thick paint, whatever. Point is, I think all the sheetmetal gets painted at roughly the same time. That seems to rust little.

OTOH, the frame and other bits that seem to just get some cheapo black paint seem to fare much worse. The paint must slowly get chipped away from dirt/rocks kicked up from the road, or wasn't all that well applied. Seems to be true across brands: look at any vehicle, and it seems the black suspension/frame parts are rusty in short order. Like 2-3 years. At least around here, I guess I should say (sandy, salty NH).

Rock chips though are what do in the sheetmetal you can see. Keeping on top of that can be hard, as a small chip slowly spreads.
 

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OTOH, the frame and other bits that seem to just get some cheapo black paint seem to fare much worse. The paint must slowly get chipped away from dirt/rocks kicked up from the road, or wasn't all that well applied. Seems to be true across brands: look at any vehicle, and it seems the black suspension/frame parts are rusty in short order. Like 2-3 years. At least around here, I guess I should say (sandy, salty NH).

Rock chips though are what do in the sheetmetal you can see. Keeping on top of that can be hard, as a small chip slowly spreads.

^^ Agreed,

MFG's use cheap enamel without primer and its just thick enough to cover the steel. nothing is etched or sanded just sprayed. Weld spatter is on just about every joint which makes it easy for rust to find its way in. Next time it rains or you wash your truck rub your finger on the frame rails or suspension parts. the paint comes right off.
 

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I've got double protection. POR-15 coated along with the Toyota CRC compound, so no rust worries for me.

It is one huge PITA to apply it, but once it's on, you'll never need to reapply it unless you missed some spots to touch it up. Went through the last winter with no washing and had zero rust.

A few years back when they just used salt it wasn't so bad just washing the undercarriage, but once they started using calcium chloride, it started to eat away at everything and stuck to the frame like glue. Took TWO pressure wash treatments to get most of it off.
 
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I had mine undercoated and also had inside the panels fogged with rust prohibitor. I wash it 2 or 3 times a month, or when it looks like it needs to be done.

I have a good friend who used to work at an automated carwash as a detailer. He'd wash his Chevy in the auto wash a 4 or 5 times a week for 2 years and said he was shocked to see how bad his frame was looking. He said the chemicals ate the paint and were eating the metal. He keeps all of his vehicles immaculate and still does detailing, only now he works for himself.

osellr, are you from a northern state? Tell us a little about yourself.
 

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A few years back when they just used salt it wasn't so bad just washing the undercarriage, but once they started using calcium chloride, it started to eat away at everything and stuck to the frame like glue. Took TWO pressure wash treatments to get most of it off.
I used to like the calcium chloride until I saw how corrosive it is. It's no wonder our bridges are eroding. That crap sticks and is still on the roads during the summer months. Next time it rains and starts to clear up, check out the whitish outline from the tire tracks on roads. That whitish grey goop is the calcium chloride and it's still spraying up under our vehicles.
 

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I used to like the calcium chloride until I saw how corrosive it is. It's no wonder our bridges are eroding. That crap sticks and is still on the roads during the summer months. Next time it rains and starts to clear up, check out the whitish outline from the tire tracks on roads. That whitish grey goop is the calcium chloride and it's still spraying up under our vehicles.
Yep. The worst time for rusting is when you drive to work in wet salty snow and let it sit there for most of the day when it could easily get above 40 degrees and have to wait until after work to wash it.

Personally, I rather contribute more in taxes to have the state use sand instead of salt thus preventing the corrosion on the vehicles.
 
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Undercoated brand new off the lot and wouldn't suggest anything but that here..Hell we had snow a couple weeks ago and I still swear I see it in the woods here and there.
 

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i've got the electronic rust protection stuff the dealers sell and so far its worked pretty well, hell i can leave my truck parked for weeks w/o driving it & i don't even have surface rust on the rotors. that everdry stuff looks awesome but its uber expensive
 

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Personally, I rather contribute more in taxes to have the state use sand instead of salt thus preventing the corrosion on the vehicles.
Speaking from experience, sand isn't that great either. After a few years the front end has nicks all over it and if you haven't replaced the windshield at least once in the first 5 years your at least guaranteed hazing along with the obligatory stone chips.
 

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I bought a beater .....and park the truck for the winter. ;)
That's funny--I bought mine to be my winter vehicle... :eek:
 

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I would never buy a Yota for a winter car. They are world renowned for being rust buckets. I have owned 7 in various shaped and sizes and the frames/chassis always corrode.
I love them for most everything else, but their steel protection system stinks.
 

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I live in VA currently. They salt the roads here like crazy during the winter. I just take the truck to the car wash once a week or once every couple of weeks and spray out the underside. Seems to have worked fine for me. No matter what you do, you're not going to beat all corrosion of the undercarriage.
 

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Yeah, I wanted a truck, and I could use something with 4WD for snow duty. Subaru is known for rust too, or at least they used to be; I know for a few years they had "weird" issues, like wheel bearings, or worse, head gaskets. Can't win in the rustbelt, no matter what. So I went with one vehicle. Maybe I'll luck out and keep the rust issues at bay...

I'm not really interested in a winter vs summer vehicle. I don't have a garage, so whatever it is will get driven year 'round. I keep my Jetta around as it's paid off, and gets mid 40's for mpg. Lots of incentive there, what with a long commute and all.
 
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