Rust doesn’t have to be unavoidable, especially with all the tools at your disposal. It is a reddish or yellowish-brown flaky coat which forms on iron or steel—the materials used to construct cars. Rust on your car can appear in a variety of areas, all the way from the screws to your bumper.
There are many different rusts to look out for, such as surface, scale, and penetrating rust. Surface rust is typically just kinks and scratches—the easiest to fix. There is also scale rust, which takes over the surface and can reduce the strength of metal parts, which can really damage your car. The worst rust out there is penetrating rust, which can begin to form holes. If you let your car get to this point, chances are you’ll need to buy expensive replacement parts.
Thankfully, there are many ways to prevent your car from rusting. If you are looking to maintain an older vehicle or plan on selling it, you will probably want to remove the rust to increase the quality and value of the car. With the help of regular washes, paint, and more, your car will be looking brand new with these simple precautions.
One of the best ways you can prevent rust is to find it before it starts to form; knowing where to look for it can go a long way. A common place where rust typically forms is on the wheel wells above your tires. One way you can prevent the rust in this area is to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Conveniently, many auto repair shops offer this service when you go in for an oil change. Another spot where rust tends to form is wherever two metal parts meet. The trunk, door area, and hood are good places to look. If you notice paint bubbling, that could also be a sign that rust could be forming as well.
Parking in a garage comes with many benefits. Mainly, it prevents exposure to the elements—snow and sun are known to contribute to rust growth. Keep your car protected and store it in a garage if you can; if you have one that is full of belongings, clean it up! Once your garage is able to hold your vehicle, make sure you maintain the temperature of it. Depending on the season, you want to make sure your car is not too hot or cold, as this could increase the risk of it rusting.F
We often forget about the bottom of our car—especially since we don’t see it. However, the bottom of your car is just as important as the rest of it. Make sure you check underneath your car periodically throughout the different seasons. If you don’t own a lift, a good opportunity to look underneath your car is during an oil change. We also recommend that when you get your car washed, you choose the option that offers undercarriage cleaning.
One of the biggest culprits of rust is not regularly washing your car. Your car can get dirty fast due to all the dirt, sand, and salt on the roads. These elements can destroy the paint on your vehicle and thus, create rust. You’ll also want to watch out for bird droppings and gasoline spills. It is recommended that to you stop at the car wash or do it yourself every two weeks.
Winters can be rough on everyone, including your car. Since salt is a leading cause of rust, try your best to neutralize it. One way you can accomplish this is by using baking soda, soap, and water. One tablespoon of baking soda with automotive soap should be enough to remove the salt on your vehicle.
Another way to prevent your car from rusting is to give your car a nice shine and wax. Waxing not only makes your car look better, but it can also protect it from the sun and prevent water spots—both of which can lead to rust. According to Cars.com, “Not waxing your car on a regular basis, you are giving these corrosive substances a better chance of damaging the clear coat (the finish on top that seals the paint) and exposing the paint below.” A wax can last many months if you use the proper wax and polish products, and it should be done two times a year.
If you do find yourself in a situation where there is rust on your car, don’t worry! There are many ways to remove rust from your car. One of the most common ways to do this is by using a razor blade or a fine grit sandpaper to scrape it off the vehicle. When scraping, try your best to stay in the area where the rust is and avoid the surrounding paint. Once you finish, you will then brush rust arrestor over the spot to prevent further rust from spreading. After you finish applying this product, let it dry for a few hours.
Once you have finished scrapping the rust, applied the rust arrestor, and have let it dry, you are now ready to remove that unwanted rust for good. To cover up the spot with paint, locate the correct color code of your car. You can typically find the color code on the VIN number, which can be located on the driver’s side of the door jam or on the windshield. Once you know your car’s color, you will then use a paint touch up kit to cover up the rusted area. Your car will look like it never had rust in the first place.
Rust can take over your car if you’re not careful. If rust begins to dominate certain parts of your vehicle, such as the frame, the damage may be irreversible. However, there are simple ways you can get ahead of this treachery. Being on the lookout for all variations of rust can keep your car healthy and on the road for many years to come.