How to Prevent Automotive Rust
Car rust is unsightly, fast spreading, and difficult to remove; but there are ways to prevent rust and keep your vehicle from depreciating. Rust prevention is especially important in states that utilize salt to melt snow on roads, so take extra care if you will be road tripping through the states highlighted red on the map to the right.
What Causes Rust?
Rust is an iron oxide that forms from the chemical reaction of iron and oxygen. This chemical reaction occurs when water comes in contact with iron; water conducts small amounts of electric current that will travel through iron. The electric current allows the hydrogen and oxygen atoms to split, leaving the oxygen free to bond with the iron and create rust. When salt is added to the equation, it acts as a conductor, more current passes through the iron, and more rust is formed. Check out the Wikipedia Rust page for a more detailed explanation. Since cars are made primarily from steel, a product of iron, they are especially susceptible to rust. Given enough time, iron exposed to oxygen and water will convert to rust and disintegrate entirely.
While there are many products on the market that claim to convert rust into paint, the only sure way to stop rust is to remove it. This means grinding away the rust affected areas to clean metal and repainting. In some cases, rust will penetrate so much of a vehicle that entire body panels need to be replaced. The best way to stop rust is really to prevent it from being there in the first place.
How to Prevent Car Rust
Most manufacturers offer a corrosion warranty of around 6 years, but preventions should start before the warranty runs out. Most important is regular maintenance. Wash your car every two weeks or so. Take extra care to wash the insides of your vehicle’s wheel wells and undercarriage. This will remove contaminants that could accelerate rust. It’s a good idea to also wax your vehicle every four months and keep the interior clean and moisture free. In the winter, your car is extra susceptible to contaminants that accelerate rust. Once a week, clean the underside and wheel wells of your vehicle. Some automatic car washes offer an underside cleaning; you can usually save some money and use a high pressure wash at a self-service car wash to clean your car’s underside of dirt and grime yourself. There are several dealer-installed and aftermarket rust protection products available that also help to slow rust.
Let Fisher Auto Body Fix the Rust
Unfortunately, automotive rust won’t take care of itself if you ignore it long enough. Treat rust at the first sign to avoid a bigger problem down the road. Get a quote from the Fisher Collision Center and avoid a major problem down the road.