How to Prevent Car Rust

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Not only is rust a serious cosmetic issue, but it can also lead to major structural damage if it is not addressed immediately. Taking a few steps to protect your car or truck from rust will prevent expensive damage and a serious hit to the value of your vehicle. This article explores some of the most common causes of rust and what you can do to prevent this issue.

Conditions that Cause Cars to Rust
In order for rust to form, anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes must all be present. This simply means that bare metal is exposed to oxygen molecules and a chemical reaction takes place. Moisture in the air or on the roads can speed up this process, but it is not a requirement. The same goes for salt molecules from the ocean or within the products that are used to de-ice the roadways. Drivers who live in humid climates or areas with extreme weather patterns should constantly inspect their vehicles for any visible signs of rust.

This type of corrosion takes place in stages, and the initial stage is nothing more than surface rust that can easily be removed with light sanding or other minor repairs. In the latest stages, the rust has penetrated through the metal and that area of the vehicle will most likely need to be removed. Rust generally develops on the underside of a vehicle and anywhere the paint has chipped away and exposed the metal underneath. That is why it is so important to take care of scratches, chips, and any other forms of damage as quickly as possible.

Car Rust Prevention Tips
Most rust damage can be completely prevented with some simple preventative maintenance. At the very least, the drivers should thoroughly wash their vehicles at least once every other week and wax their vehicles every other month. This will remove much of the grime and dirt that can damage the paint as well as any road salt that has collected in the wheel wells. Vehicles that are exposed to de-icing salts should be washed at least once a week to prevent undercarriage damage.

If rust is a common problem in your hometown, you might want to take some time and thoroughly inspect your vehicle every few days. Areas such as the wheel wells and the chassis generally develop rust much quicker due to constant wear-and-tear. Even if you do not plan on washing your vehicle, you can still spray those areas down with a hose or lawn sprinkler. When parking your vehicle for the night, you should use a soft rag to wipe down any moisture that has collected. Chipped paint and scratches that have resulted in exposed metal should be fixed immediately.

Even though interior rust is relatively rare, it can still take place if the driver is careless. This damage generally occurs when liquids seep through the carpet and come into contact with the metal underneath. Liquids can also become trapped inside the door sills and near the dashboard. The carpets should be vacuumed every few weeks and all spilled items must be removed immediately to prevent damage to the doors and floorboards. Rust in these areas of the vehicle can be very expensive to fix and will drastically reduce the value of a car or truck.

Just because rust is a common issue, it doesn’t mean you must accept it without a fight. Keeping your vehicle clean and regularly inspecting it for any visible signs of damage will help you avoid most major issues down the road.

David Moss

Born and raised in Detroit, David had no choice but to become a car enthusiast. His mother swears his first word was “car”. As a young freelance writer, he is on a mission to turn his passion for cars into a career. When he is not writing about the latest auto technology, he spends his time hiking.

  • Guest

    “…interior rust is relatively rare…”
    Not that rare. Gone are the days when rust worked its way up from the wheel wells, or down from the roof rails and wind screen. In the recent years, so many cars get submerged in the rains, the floor pans catch the rust and from there it goes.

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