Nothing ruins a perfectly shiny car more than a patch of rust in a particularly visible area. Not only is it undesirable to look at; it’s also unhealthy for the car. If you’re planning to resell it someday, rust dramatically reduces its value, making it hard for you to find a potential buyer.
While rust is naturally unavoidable, you can take steps to prevent it. But before you can do that, you should first know about the three common causes of rust in your car, which are outlined below.
Moisture and salt is perhaps the deadliest combination for metal, which makes living near the ocean especially cumbersome. The closer you are to the ocean, the likelier it is for your vehicle to be damaged by the high salt content of the humid air.
Salt (or saltwater) is known to be extremely corrosive to metal, which hastens the process of rusting because saltwater is an efficient carrier of electrolytes. This means that an object that rusts slowly under normal circumstances rusts quicker when exposed to saltwater.
Come wintertime, a lot of people use salt to get rid of ice and snow on cars and slippery roads, but as mentioned above, salt is especially detrimental to metal surfaces. Once the snow melts, you are left with a sheet of electrolyte that is conducive to rust formation especially when it gets wet again or traps moisture from the cool winter air. Rains are also a leading cause of rusts.
Rust happens because metal is not completely immune to it. As metal ages over time and the coats of treatments and processes it has undergone gradually thin out, rust occurs.
However, lack of knowledge in the proper maintenance of your vehicle hastens this process. Some of the conditions that allow the formation of rust can be completely avoided. So as a car owner, you should be aware of these things.
Now that you are familiar how automotive rust occurs, here are four simple ways that you can do on your own to make sure that your prized car is free from rust.
Regularly Wash Your Car
That coat of paint on your car isn’t just there to make it look good; it’s one of the many mechanisms automakers use to ensure that the metal body resists any form of rusting for a period. However, because of habitual use and exposure to different terrains, dirt, sand, or mud will eventually wear through the protective coating of your vehicle.
Cleaning your car every few weeks will do the trick. You can do this yourself or drive through a car wash. The use of high-pressure water is the best option to do this compared to regular foam and cloth, which can trap dirt or scrape your car’s exterior.
Go the extra mile, and have the undercarriage washed as well. The underside is perhaps one of the dirtiest parts of a car’s body as it is the most exposed to the ground below. It is important that you should regularly check this area because a lot of the pipes that make the car run are found here.
Clean Your Car’s Interior
The interior of your car is as important as the exterior. Moisture and salt can get trapped inside and seep through the carpets and dashboards. Surfaces getting wet causes oxidation, which is the first step in the formation of rust.
Prevent this from happening by getting yourself quality mats to protect the floors from water and other chemicals like sodium or calcium chloride. Clean spills right away with a cloth or when your dashboard gets wet, which usually happens because of air-conditioning. Even if your vehicle has been kept inside a garage, you should still check for moisture accumulation especially if you’ve been driving out in the rain or snow prior to parking.
Apart from preventing rust, another obvious advantage is that you’ll enjoy a better driving experience with a clean car free from dirt and clutter. Who honestly wants to stay in a car with pieces of chips and wrappers scattered on the seats and on the floor?
Treat Rust Early
Just like a virus on the human body, rust can easily spread to other parts of your car when it is left untreated. When you see warning signs, make it a point to work on it right away.
There are a handful of rust repair kits that you can do on your own. This is the initial step. Smooth the area down with sandpaper, taking note of the grit size to avoid deep scratches on the car’s surface.
Apply the primer next, and let it dry completely before you repaint the area with the same color as the rest of the car. Don’t forget to apply a clear coat for that trademark shine. However, this technique only works on minor rusts.
If the affected area cannot be undone by home or garage remedies, you should consider having the entire part replaced, which lessens the likelihood of it affecting other parts of the car since it’s already removed. You can also buy quality car accessories such as fender flares for Toyota Tundra to add protection to your car.
Use Antirust Products
You can have your automaker pretreat the body of your car with an additional coat of anti-rust. You don’t necessarily have to do this since most manufacturers already spray antirust formulations on the cars before they sell them in the market.
Oftentimes, they use a phosphate conversion or a zinc coating on galvanized steel. The process itself is relatively inexpensive, that’s why most automakers do it.
However, if you feel that you can’t regularly wash your car because of your schedule or lifestyle, then, by all means, treat your car to a coat of rustproof protection. Corrosion happens if you’re constantly off the road and expose your car to a lot of dirt and let it dry up. Another option is that you can spray problem areas on your own after a car wash. Inspect your vehicle and look for signs of rusting like paint bubbling up or part of the body where paint has been chipped away.