How to Prevent Rust From Forming on Your Car
When it comes to maintaining a vehicle properly, protecting you car against rust damage is one of the important steps you can take to preserve the value and quality of your car. Once rust damage occurs, it can be both difficult and expensive to repair, so performing regular maintenance — as well as being aware of your driving habits — is simply good sense.
What is Rust?
It might seem like a silly question, but it’s important to bear in mind what you’re up against. The kind of rust that concerns us a kind of red oxide, called iron-oxide. This chemical compound forms when the iron elements in a car’s steel alloy and oxygen are in contact with a moisture-rich environment. Since water vapor is always in the air to some degree, given enough time rust will always form on your vehicle — and because it’s a chemical reaction, it can’t be undone. But don’t worry: with a few basic steps you can slow this inevitable process to practically a grinding halt.
1.) Know where to look for rust. Rust typically forms in three predictable places: your trunk and engine, the car’s undercarriage, and the external painted parts. Check these places often and treat any rust you find immediately. There are sprays that can be used to remove small amounts of rust if you catch it early. Especially be aware of chipped paint.
2.) Wash your car every two weeks. If it’s been snowy or rainy and the roads have been salty, or you live by large bodies of salt water, try washing it every week. Worse than water is salt, which acts as a catalyst to rust forming, and will speed up the rusting process. Washing will keep your vehicle salt free.
2.) Wax your car every four months. Remember you want to minimize the contact between the iron in your car and the moisture-laden air; keeping a good layer of wax is simply another barrier.
3.) Coat your car with rust-preventing spray. In addition to having chemicals that help to nullify the reaction, it is another physical layer between the metal and the air.
4.) Clean your car’s interior. Spills and moisture in your car’s interior can breed rust to form from the inside out. Keeping your passenger area clean is a simple step that can help protect the often-neglected cabin-area of a vehicle.
5.) Clean your tires during the winter. Winter means ice, and ice means salty roads. Salt that’s become embedded in your wheels’ rims can exacerbate the rust reaction. Keep them clear to protect your car’s undercarriage and wheel well.
6.) Repair any damage to your vehicle quickly. Remember, any damage to your car’s body or parts means that oxygen is being exposed to parts of your car that are normally protected. Performing service and body-work on your vehicle promptly, even chipped paint, can do wonders in preventing rust.
7.) Check for rust often! While this might seem like a no-brainer, it is easy to forget to this step, but it is simply the most important step in keeping your vehicle rust-free. Remember once rust is formed, there’s no getting that iron back — so the sooner you can identify what’s there the sooner you can take steps to remove it, and prevent potentially major repair expenses.
March 6, 2012 by Jamie Rettig