Northern climate/winter driven S550 Mustangs: how are they holding up?

MRGTX

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I decided that life was too short to drive a car I didn’t love so my 2017 WRX was traded in when I bought my 2020.

Having lived through 12 New England winters with a lowered Miata, I'm not overly concerned with the practicality issue. Snow tires and not being “stupid” generally keeps a driver safe in any car.

However, Im already getting pretty attached to the new Mustang so concerns about how well the car itself will fare are on my mind.

Obviously, the oldest S550s have only seen five winters. How are these cars holding up so far? Are there any areas of concern surfacing yet?

What preparation have you done to mitigate the damage?
I already have my floor liners in place, I sprayed some Fluid Film into the door drains and inside the fender liners... trying to think what else might help before this car’s first dose of road salt.





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101a

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MY18 bought in February of 2019, driven year round, I'd say there's not too much to worry about.

What I did:
Unlimited car washes, paid extra for that underbody wash. Every day I drove to work, I got a car wash during my lunch break.
Weather tech floor mats. They do get salty.

What I noticed:
The paint is super thin. Most of the chips were above the windshield.
Sand in the airbox. Not an alarming amount but I took it out and whacked it against the wall to clear it out.
I almost bought "splash guards" (mud flaps) just to keep the rear end looking cleaner, longer.

IMG_4586.jpeg

This is what the Flowmaster Outlaws looked like after being on from October of 2019 to July of 2020.

IMG_4595.jpeg

This is from July 2020. Rusty drive shaft and petina on the exhaust parts. Not bad looking. My MY15 F-150 had a rusty diff and nice aluminum drive shaft.

IMG_4347.jpeg

Here's March of 2020 showing the dirt that never gets cleaned.
 
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amk91

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I decided that life was too short to drive a car I didn’t love so my 2017 WRX was traded in when I bought my 2020.

Having lived through 12 New England winters with a lowered Miata, I'm not overly concerned with the practicality issue. Snow tires and not being “stupid” generally keeps a driver safe in any car.

However, Im already getting pretty attached to the new Mustang so concerns about how well the car itself will fare are on my mind.

Obviously, the oldest S550s have only seen five winters. How are these cars holding up so far? Are there any areas of concern surfacing yet?

What preparation have you done to mitigate the damage?
I already have my floor liners in place, I sprayed some Fluid Film into the door drains and inside the fender liners... trying to think what else might help before this car’s first dose of road salt.
Umm, that's not accurate. Me thinks it's 6 winters, about to be 7 soon. Remember that these cars came out 6 years ago.
 
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MRGTX

MRGTX

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MY18 bought in February of 2019, driven year round, I'd say there's not too much to worry about.

What I did:
Unlimited car washes, paid extra for that underbody wash. Every day I drove to work, I got a car wash during my lunch break.
Weather tech floor mats. They do get salty.

What I noticed:
The paint is super thin. Most of the chips were above the windshield.
Sand in the airbox. Not an alarming amount but I took it out and whacked it against the wall to clear it out.
I almost bought "splash guards" (mud flaps) just to keep the rear end looking cleaner, longer.

IMG_4586.jpeg

This is what the Flowmaster Outlaws looked like after being on from October of 2019 to July of 2020.

IMG_4595.jpeg

This is from July 2020. Rusty drive shaft and petina on the exhaust parts. Not bad looking. My MY15 F-150 had a rusty diff and nice aluminum drive shaft.

IMG_4347.jpeg

Here's March of 2020 showing the dirt that never gets cleaned.
All in all, the undercarriage looks fine. i like your plan for unlimited car washes. I’m going to see if my local touchless wash offers that.
what was the occasion for pulling the bumper cover and tail lights? It is alarming to see the crud that accumulates back there. That may be a weight reduction mod for S550 people a few years from now.
 
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MRGTX

MRGTX

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I decided it was time to swap back to the no-season radials...this will be a one year only thing since I have the PP Brembo brakes ready to go on So the 18s will be sold for scrap.

Funny how those old 285 RE-11s still work pretty well despite 20,000 ish miles. They certainly look a hell of a lot better than the comically small 235s.

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NoVaGT

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Order some good corrosion protection spray/brush-on stuff, and hit everything on the bottom of the car.

Something like POR15.

Just don't clog any drain holes. Maybe some cavity wax too, in those hard-to-reach places the spray/brush on stuff can't reach.
 

101a

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All in all, the undercarriage looks fine. i like your plan for unlimited car washes. I’m going to see if my local touchless wash offers that.
what was the occasion for pulling the bumper cover and tail lights? It is alarming to see the crud that accumulates back there. That may be a weight reduction mod for S550 people a few years from now.
Within a week of owning the car, I got stuck in a parking lot driving on the Pirelli P Zero Nero tires. I then wanted two things. Snow tires and tow hooks. I added the rear fog light and rear tow hook in that shot. But the tow hook didn't look good cut into the plastic, so I bought and installed the GT rear valence for the quad tips. So I had to take off the bumper again to put that on.
 

NoVaGT

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With my '05 GT, living in SW Michigan, even the All Seasons didn't cut it.

My cousin owned a tire shop, and installed some Mud & Snow tires on it.

Talk about a difference......it was like it had 4WD. Amazing.
 

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With my '05 GT, living in SW Michigan, even the All Seasons didn't cut it.

My cousin owned a tire shop, and installed some Mud & Snow tires on it.

Talk about a difference......it was like it had 4WD. Amazing.
I'm from SE Michigan, but have moved to SE Indiana. Just got my Mustang a few months ago and it has Conti Summers on it. I'm going to have to make the decision soon. I'll have a lot more 20-30 degree days with dry pavement, then the typical Michigan winters of 5-10 and inches of snow. So I'm trying to decide which way to go. I've had an Infiniti G37X with All Seasons the last 5 years and it was fine in our winters, but I'm losing the AWD factor. I get the feeling that I'll get more wear out of All Seasons on mostly dry pavement, but could be wrong on that. I'm running 275/35's on 20s. I'll probably just swap out the tires and I'm also thinking I'll have a better selection with All Seasons. Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but any input would be appreciated. Go Lions...
 

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Don’t forget to add weight to the trunk. For a FWD car, the engine weighs down the drive wheels. For a front engine rear wheel drive car, there’s nothing back there for weight.

I’ve got 2 60lbs bags of sand I picked up at Lowe’s in the trunk. Keeping the tank full of gas always helps. I’ve also got a Husky trunk liner in case the sand bags break. Although I should have bought 3 40lbs of sand as pulling a 60lb bag of sand out of the trunk is a pain.

I’ve got Tux Mats in the car. Better and nicer looking than Weathertech mats.
 

ice445

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I bought a cheap winter beater instead, but I was pretty close to doing what you're doing. The main thing is spraying fluid film all through the underside. Inside the frame rails, and on the suspension parts. The most vulnerable things are generally the stamped steel parts, including the front and rear subframes. Anything aluminum like the control arms will be fine. If you film the underside of the car, don't wash it. You'll just wash off your protection. Do a final clean after winter is over. Monitor the suspension though and recoat as necessary. Anywhere that sees a lot of wheel splash will probably need to be done again at the 3 month mark.

Also check your pinch welds for any paint damage, touch up any rock chips, etc. Put a good sealant or ceramic coat on the paint. And buy some Blizzak WS90's. If you MUST use an all season, Michelin just released the Pilot All Season 4 which supposedly has 10% better snow performance than the A/S 3+, which probably means it's adequate for most winter duty.
 

NoVaGT

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I'm from SE Michigan, but have moved to SE Indiana. Just got my Mustang a few months ago and it has Conti Summers on it. I'm going to have to make the decision soon. I'll have a lot more 20-30 degree days with dry pavement, then the typical Michigan winters of 5-10 and inches of snow. So I'm trying to decide which way to go. I've had an Infiniti G37X with All Seasons the last 5 years and it was fine in our winters, but I'm losing the AWD factor. I get the feeling that I'll get more wear out of All Seasons on mostly dry pavement, but could be wrong on that. I'm running 275/35's on 20s. I'll probably just swap out the tires and I'm also thinking I'll have a better selection with All Seasons. Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but any input would be appreciated. Go Lions...
I'm thinking SE Indiana has about 1/10th the snow of SW Michigan. And SW Michigan gets about 6X the snow SE Michigan gets. I'm originally from SE MI, then moved to SW MI. The snow in SW MI is amazing, waaaaaaaaay more than SE MI.

So the point is, I'd think All Season tires would be just fine in SE Indiana, assuming the weather in SE Indiana has a bit less snow annually than SE MI.
 

5.0AVP

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Like you, I decided I couldn't drive something I didn't love.

When I had my 13 GT I had a 97 Blazer beater and it sucked driving that for 4-5 months out of the year so when I bought my manual 15 GT I drove it through 3 chicagoland winters with Blizzak LM-32s. The winters were pretty light but with the winter tires and snow/wet mode she handled like a tank. I didn't put any weight in the trunk because I didn't want to mess with the suspension geometry but figured if I ever got stuck I would revisit that idea. Prior to winter I sealed it with Griots Poly Wax. I ran it through the touchless carwash weekly as temps allowed and then drove it home and hit it with Griots Waterless Carwash and followed with Griots Speed Shine. I usually took it to the hand car wash once a month if I couldn't do it myself. When I traded it in for an Edge the dealer said it was immaculate so I was pretty pleased with how it held up. I have new Blizzak LM-32s going on my 20 next month and I'm hoping for similar results.

Good luck!
 

3rdRGR

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I'm thinking SE Indiana has about 1/10th the snow of SW Michigan. And SW Michigan gets about 6X the snow SE Michigan gets. I'm originally from SE MI, then moved to SW MI. The snow in SW MI is amazing, waaaaaaaaay more than SE MI.

So the point is, I'd think All Season tires would be just fine in SE Indiana, assuming the weather in SE Indiana has a bit less snow annually than SE MI.
Yeah Lake Michigan effect snow is just a wee bit more rough than Lake Erie effect snow... I pulled a complete 360 on I-94 near Battle Creek due to black ice. Empty RWD minivan with no seats in the back due to a move. Very lucky that it was at night and traffic was sparse. We definitely get less down here than we did in SE Michigan. I can get to Kentucky in 35 minutes. Just looking at 20" winter tires... holy shiznit!! 400 a tire isn't floating my boat. Things in the all season zone are much more reasonable. Not like I'm going to be carving the corners in February.
 

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I put some winter tires on the OEM 18s that came with my '18 GT. I also put a couple of sand bags in the trunk. Even with all that, I tried to avoid driving in the salty slush left behind after the plows and salt trucks do their thing. When it came time to swap out the winter wheels for my summer wheels, I wrangled the sand bags out of the trunk and discovered that some aggressive cornering had flung a bag against the subwoofer and cracked the plastic grille. This winter I'll try to secure the bags better.
There's a winter severity index for road maintenance that takes into account amount and duration of snow, freezing rain and blowing snow. The higher the number, the more severe the winter driving conditions. SE Indiana ranks in the '20s, SE Michigan (like SE Wisconsin where I am) ranks in the '40s and SW Michigan ranks in the '70s.
 

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