All metals have the potential to undergo a complex electrochemical process that can lead to the deterioration of their aesthetic and physical properties. In short, corrosion can undermine the structural integrity and strength of metal while also giving it a less-than-appealing look. The principal material used in the manufacture of cars is metal. As such, cars are at an increased risk of corrosion. It is, therefore, imperative for any sensible car owner to learn how to prevent rust on cars. Not only does this safeguard the longevity and structural integrity of the vehicle. Preventing corrosion can also help retain the aesthetic and overall value of the automobile. Here’s how you can put a stop or, at least, minimize rust on your car.
Perform a Regular Inspection of Your Car for Rusts
One of the very first things you have to do after reading this article is to perform a very thorough inspection of your car. The best way to prevent rust is to make sure you don’t have any to begin with. If there are already rust spots on your vehicle, then prevention takes a backseat. You will need to address the corroded parts at once to help stop the corrosion process and prevent further damage.
- Wheel Wells and Bumpers
In inspecting the car for corrosion, it is best to start at the bumpers and the wheel wells. It is very easy to overlook these areas since they may not be that easy to see. The main issue here is that these parts of the car can have plenty of dirt that can mask any developing rust underneath.
You may want to remove the tires of the car one by one. This will help you get a better view of each wheel well. Clean the inner wheel well first by spraying it with water. Make sure to dry the surface very well before proceeding with the inspection. Shine a beam of light onto the surface of the inner wheel well to help in the visualization of corroded areas. While you are at it, make sure to check the inner surface of the bumper as well.
- Areas Where Body Components Meet
Another area where you may want to check for rust is any section where two body components meet. These can include the car door frame, the area between the fenders and the hood, and the section of the trunk. When rust proofing cars, manufacturers apply paint to eliminate the risk of creating friction between two metal surfaces. Unfortunately, with consistent “rubbing” action, the layer of paint can wear away. This exposes the metal underneath and causing it to rust. Look for signs of bubbling paint as rust may already be developing underneath this bubble.
- Drain Holes
The modern car always has drain holes on the floor of the passenger cabin. They are often found along the bottoms of rocker and door panels. Drain holes facilitate the removal of rainwater. If your car comes with a sunroof, then you know that a clogged sunroof drain hose is a very common problem. Removing the obstruction in these drain holes and drain hoses will help prevent the accumulation of water in your vehicle.
One last area you have to inspect on a regular basis is the underside of your car. This section of any vehicle receives the most abuse on any given day. It’s exposed to a lot of road salt, winter deicer chemicals, moisture, and what have you that can hasten the speed of rust formation. The best time to inspect the underside of the car for rust is during a scheduled oil change. Since the car will be on a lift, you’ll have better access to the car’s underside.
Wash Your Car on a Regular Basis
If you want to stop rust from starting or spreading, then you have to make it a habit to wash it on a more regular basis. It goes without saying that washing your car should always entail a very thorough drying of all moist or wet parts. Moisture that’s left on any metallic surface on your car has the potential to cause rusting.
It is important to understand that dirt and dust will not cause corrosion. However, these can rub against the protective paint of the car. Car paints are not that thick. With constant friction with road debris, this thin layer of protective paint can also wear off. When that happens, then you are inviting the development of corrosion.
Bird droppings may seem like benign organic matter. But the organic compounds present in these animal wastes can also cause a chemical reaction on the clear coat of the car. The same is true with automotive fluids like brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, and fuel, among others. If any of these fluids spill onto metal parts of the car, then there’s a chance that corrosion can take place.
Of course, the rusting we are talking about will develop over time, not overnight. Having said that, cleaning your car and washing it every week is ideal. This is to help remove any dirt, sand, and road debris that may accumulate in hard-to-reach areas like wheel wells. The inner side of the bumpers as well as the underside of the car are also areas that you have to wash in a very thorough manner.
If you notice bird droppings or automotive chemical spills on your vehicle, don’t wait for several weeks before you start washing it. These chemicals and compounds can eat through the protective paint of your car.
In learning how to prevent rust on cars, frequent and regular washing often helps. However, a more critical activity after washing is the drying of the car. Under no circumstance should you leave your car wet or moist. This is an open invitation for rust to start forming.
And since you are already into washing and drying your car, you might as well invest in the best rust prevention sprays for cars. These will help provide better corrosion protection for your vehicle. Waxing your car after washing also helps. This provides a thin layer of slick surface that serves as a barrier between your car’s body paint and water.
It is also wise to keep the interior surfaces of your car dry and free from moisture. If there are spills in the cabin, wipe them dry at once. Do not let them sit there as this can lead to rusting on the floor of the car.
Apply Anti-Rust Products on Your Car
All modern automobiles undergo extensive application of rust-protection technologies before they roll out of the assembly line. Some manufacturers apply several layers of corrosion-resistant automotive paints on the car’s body. Some car manufacturers apply phosphate conversion coatings, while most use zinc coatings since it is less expensive.
However, as we have already mentioned, exposure to the elements can eat away at the paint of the car. These same compounds can interact with the anti-rust treatment. As such, it is advisable to apply one of the best rust prevention sprays for cars that you can buy.
Before applying these products on your car, make sure to clean, wash, and dry your vehicle very well first. It makes no sense to apply rust proofing car protection on surfaces that contain dust particles. Follow the directions on the product.
Address Beginning Signs of Corrosion
If you spot any sign of corrosion on your car, then you have to treat it right away. Do not wait for it to get worse. This will help keep the integrity of your vehicle.
There are rust repair kits available on the market. Take note that these products only work on minor rust. These remove rust to prepare the surface for the application of a replacement primer. If you don’t want to use such rust repair kits or if the rust is more severe, then you can use sandpaper. Start with a 180-grit sandpaper, then 320-grit, before finishing it off with 400-grit. This will help remove the rust from the surface while smoothening it as the last step.
Upon the removal of the rust, you can apply primer to the affected area. Allow it to dry completely. Next, get a touch-up paint that matches the body color of your car. Apply the paint following the manufacturer’s directions.
The final step in the management of minor rust on your car is the application of a clear coat. You can purchase a spray can of automotive clear coat from your auto supply store. Again, make sure to follow the directions of the clear coat manufacturer.
You can repair small and minor rusted areas in your car yourself. However, if the corrosion is so extensive that it has gone all the way through the metal of the car’s body or if there is extensive damage, you’re better off with auto body repair professionals.
To stop rust on cars, it is important that you clean it on a regular basis. Performing regular inspections of areas where rust can develop can also help.