This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated based on current research and updated best practices.
Rust on a vehicle not only looks unsightly but reduces the value when selling the vehicle or using it as a trade-in to purchase a new car. It eats away at the surrounding metal and, over time, can cause major cosmetic and mechanical damage to your vehicle.
Once a car starts to rust, the damage can spread quickly, so preventing it in the first place is important. Here are two simple steps that you can take to keep your vehicle rust-free:
1) Wash your vehicle regularly.
Dirt, salt, and sediment can destroy your clear coat and paint over time; once these layers are gone your car’s metal components are reducing your vehicle’s protection against rust.
Washing your vehicle every few one or two weeks sand and dirt can’t be rubbed through the paint. You should also be wary of include bird droppings and gasoline that spills when filling the vehicle. Be careful not to touch or wipe the paint when it’s dry, as
Pay special attention to the undercarriage of your vehicle. If you live in an area with lots of snow, like New England, road salt and chemical deposits that build up on the underside of your vehicle will compromise its ability to protect against rust. Frequent washing prevents these materials from sitting on your vehicle. Many automatic car washes offer undercarriage cleaning.
2) Wax on, wax off.
No, seriously. Wax does more than give your vehicle a sleek shine, it also protects your paint from fading and damage. Applying a coat of wax to your vehicle twice a year will give your paint an extra layer of protection, helping to repel water and reduce the risk of rust.
3) Treat rust spots early.
Rust spreads quickly and can destroy your car if it’s not dealt with in a timely manner.
If you do see a spot on your car—suspicious wear in the clear coat, discoloration in the paint, or even rust starting to grow along the seams— you need to investigate immediately. There are many “over the counter” type products at your local auto store to touch up paint, repair clear coats, or treat rust, but it’s best to seek treatment and repair by a professional technician. If your car has visible rust, you won’t pass your next state inspection.
If signs of decay are starting to show, it’s best to have your car inspected by a professional technician right away. At V&F, our expert mechanics 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.