Rust is a common but highly preventable problem. And, while existing rust can be tough to manage, preventing oxidation is a pretty simple science.
If you’re worried about corrosion, here’s how to prevent rust from forming in the first place.
1) Know your vehicle (and what it’s made of).
Different metals have different properties when it comes to oxidation, so it’s important to know what yours is made of.
Automakers do a lot of testing and engineering to try to prevent corrosion. In today’s automotive market, aluminum and magnesium components are becoming popular because of their lightweight and don’t corrode as easily, or at least not at a noticeable rate. But, those higher quality metals are expensive and tend to be used sparingly.
Most newer cars are made of modern sheet steel that’s dipped in highly durable coatings and anti-corrosion agents before the painting process. The underside of the car is sprayed with an additional thick chemical sealant steel to protect against oxidizing agents, as it’s especially vulnerable to rust.
2) Wash your car frequently.
Limiting exposure to sand, salt, and other harsh elements is one of the best ways to keep your car in good shape—but staying home in bad weather or refusing to drive on freshly salted roads isn’t a very practical option.
Instead, frequently washing off road salt and waxing your vehicle regularly will help to prevent damage. This is especially important in northern climates, like New England, where salt is used to treat the icy winter roads; those road salts and other contaminants found in water will accelerate the oxidation process, making cars more prone to rot.
Frequently hose off any salt, dirt, or other debris between storms. Be sure to let your car dry fully and wax your vehicle regularly to take care of the protective layers.
3) Apply extra paint protection.
A great way to lower your risk of rust is to apply a paint protection coating. This thin film will help to preserve the paint on chip-prone areas like the front edge of the hood which, in turn, protects the metal underneath.
If you really want to go the extra mile, you can also talk to your mechanic about regular rust inspections. Having worn spots professionally covered before they become a serious problem will keep rust from advancing and causing additional damage. Most mechanics use primer and paint for light body rust, bed liner to repair undercoating wear, and a rust neutralizer on any frame and subframe rust, so repair costs can vary significantly.
4) Treat rust early.
The most important thing to remember when trying to prevent rust is that nothing is foolproof; no matter how many treatments or fixes you apply, all metals eventually corrode—even with paint protection and frequent washing, you’re still going to get a few rust spots. And ignored rust spots can quickly turn your sheet metal into Swiss cheese.
Dealing with rust early will help to stop it from spreading and allow you to squeeze a few extra years out of your vehicle.
While you can’t stop the inevitable, just a little extra vigilance reduces rust to no more of a problem than any other regular maintenance issue. Our experts at V&F can help your pride and joy can stay on the road as long as you do. We use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.