undercarraige cover

I have an EVO M3, 1996, in the UK. It has a cover under the engine that has come loose and scrapes the road over bumps or during spirited driving. I have duct--taped it up as a temporary measure. I never
understood its purpose (my 1994, non-evo M3 didn't have one) and it essentially makes it more irksome to change oil etc as it needs to be removed and put back every time one drains the oil. Can I just take it off and leave it off? Does it have any other purpose than to keep the underside of the engine from dirt and possible chip damage?
TIA for any input,
Vijay
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All E46 models (at least in the US) have them. It's mostly for smoothing the under-body airflow, presumably to create less drag and lift - I don't know how effective this is (obviously it's worth something or the added weight and complexity wouldn't add up). They're notorious or getting gravel on top of them to create rattles. Other than that, they serve little purpose IMHO.
FloydR
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Poor editing, Tom. You completely clipped out Vijay's original text... which is who you should be replying to.
FloydR
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Floyd Rogers wrote:

Thanks much, Floyd, Tom. I spoke to a couple of garages and the messaage is that it is worth maintiaining it because of the low sitting engine, particularly the low oil sump. I am a bit of a luddite when it comes to these things and have therefore decided to spend the money for a new 'splash cover'. I love the car and has always had it properly maintianed, so 43.00 sounds like a reasonable expense.
Regards,
Vijay
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Cautionary true story: I change my own oil; unless it Inspection II time. After the last I2, I removed it to change oil (on my 7500 mile interval), and lo-and-behold, there was oil on the cover. It was lube oil from the front differential (330xi). They hadn't torqued the fill plug properly.
FloydR
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about something:

That's odd, my '96 E36 325TDS has the full panel, and there's a little rectangle that you can remove with a 10mm spanner which is directly under the oil drain... Adds all of 2 minutes to the oil change.
Anyway, as other say, it keeps the engine clean, smooths the air, protects the sump and also helps the engine warm up faster.
Dodgy.
--
MUSHROOMS ARE THE OPIATE OF THE MOOSES

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Also cuts down on road noise from the front rubbers entering the cabin...
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