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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Wed, Dec-06-2017, 11:53:33 PM   #1
Toxic0n
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Default PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

Sorry, didn't think to take pics but decided to share my experience.

My car has zero rust. Well, it had a rock chip that I didn't notice right away that had rusted but some rust converter and a touch up pen took care of it.

Originally a California car, imported to Canada in 2009 and mostly parked indoors since, except a 3 year period when I only had street parking.

It rarely snows where I live but I do take my car up to the mountains to hit the slopes so it does see some snow and salt.

I was waxing my car the other day and decided to pop the little plastic covers on the door latches. To my horror, I discovered two small rust spots (about 3mm wide by 6 mm tall). It looks like the repeated stress of closing the door has caused the plastic to rub on the paint and eventually it ate through. There were a couple of other spots where the paint was starting to get worn through but no rust.

I took off the door latches on both sides, sanded down the small spots, then hit them with rust converter/primer and touch up paint. Also touched up the spots that were getting worn. I'm not an auto body expert or painter by any means so it looks quite ugly. Luckily it is covered up by the plastic piece.

You all may want to check your cars. I plan on doing a yearly check to see how my "repair" is holding up. Perhaps some sort of gasket could help?

As a bonus, removing and reinstalling the latch made my passenger door easier to open. I guess it wasn't aligned perfectly before.

Any other sneaky spots I should check for rust? The underbody of my car is flawless, clean, zero rust, never any seized bolts when I'm working down there. This was a huge surprise.
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Old Thu, Dec-07-2017, 01:07:00 AM   #2
Joshe46
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Default Re: PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

If you donít already always ALWAYS wipe down your door jams, trunk jams, etc after a wash. Many people focus on just exterior and forget about the jams and the doors themselves.


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Old Thu, Dec-07-2017, 01:50:43 AM   #3
Toxic0n
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Default Re: PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

Not sure if wiping down would have helped anything, the paint was clearly worn through due to physical contact and bare metal will rust eventually, water or no water.
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Old Thu, Dec-07-2017, 01:53:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

Pop off the plastic every wash and dry it underneath. Water sits in the plastic which causes the rust.

Same with the door hinges. Hard to get to but water sit on top of the flat area and starts to rust. And the trunk handle, and in-between the taillights and body...and...and lol
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Old Thu, Dec-07-2017, 02:24:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

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Originally Posted by Sandeep1212 View Post
Pop off the plastic every wash and dry it underneath. Water sits in the plastic which causes the rust.

Same with the door hinges. Hard to get to but water sit on top of the flat area and starts to rust. And the trunk handle, and in-between the taillights and body...and...and lol
Lol! Wonder how long these chassis will last,🤔. If I can get 500k out of it I will be happy.
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Old Thu, Dec-07-2017, 02:26:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

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Originally Posted by Joshe46 View Post
If you donít already always ALWAYS wipe down your door jams, trunk jams, etc after a wash. Many people focus on just exterior and forget about the jams and the doors themselves.


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Wonder what it looks like under this sills. Haven't seen rain in a while but don't all those areas get wet when it rains anyway?
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Old Thu, Dec-07-2017, 02:32:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: PSA: Check for rust under your door latch

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Wonder what it looks like under this sills. Haven't seen rain in a while but don't all those areas get wet when it rains anyway?


My M also hasnít seen rain in a while and Iím curious to check it out. But pretty much. In between trunk and rear window is a water channel and you cant stop water from getting into the door sills, Im sure after driving in rain water gets behind the plastic and sits. Im mental about this car but not enough so to pop out my door cards, etc. every time it gets wet.

As for wiping down not helping, getting any water out of any area helps. It probably wasnít cause for area youíre talking about but do it anyway!
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Discussing PSA: Check for rust under your door latch in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)