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How To Prevent Car Rust

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How To Stop Rust From Forming

How To Prevent Rust On Your Own Car – Ford Focus Mk1 LR

The good news is that this kind of vehicular decay is largely preventable. The best advice is the most obvious: Wash your car regularly to keep the body and underside clean of the road grime, salts, and dirt that lead to corrosion. Many modern car washes can blast the underside of your car with water to get much of this grime off.

The not-so-obvious advice is to check the drain holes along the bottoms of doors and rocker panels, which allow rainwater to flow out. Use a pipe cleaner to clear these holes out, and keep the cars nooks and crannies dry. WD-40 can be a useful tool here as well. This lubricant protects parts from corrosion, and its thin nozzle can be used to reach tight underbody spots and blast away water or corrosive grime.

As noted earlier, many vehicles have a thick coating on the underside that chemically seals the steel against oxidizing agents. Regular inspection and repair of the spots that have worn bare will keep rust from advancing and causing additional damage. If this coating is not there, consider adding one yourself. POR-15 is one of the more popular examples of such a rust-protective sealant, and they even have a rubberized coating to go over it in case you want even more protection underneath your car. As with other rust repairs, sand off any rust that might be sticking through and rough up the area you intend to paint with some sandpaper, then brush or spray the new coating on.

Inspect The Bottom Of The Vehicle

Therefore, the car or trucks underside often takes the most risk and is more likely to rust. If you live in a region that snows in the winter, salt and other chemicals used to treat ice and snow on the roads may increase the likelihood of rust developing beneath the vehicle. Check beneath the car during oil changes or as you rotate the tires for signs of rust developing.


  • Look beneath the vehicle for rust while changing the oil
  • Never climb under the car without utilizing jack stands.

Should I Buy A Car With Signs Of Rust

If youre looking to buy a car and notice signs of rust you should ask yourself a few important questions before deciding whether to part with your cash:

How bad is the damage?

Rust on the surface of the car should be easy to fix, while more serious damage or discolouring to structural parts of the vehicle could mean major repairs are needed.

Make sure you look for signs of a cover up or previous damage that has since been repaired.

Can I haggle the price down?

Once youve assessed the damage you could try asking for a discount on the cars sale price based on the cost of repairs.

Am I happy to drive a car with rust damage?

Between buying a second-hand car and repairing any damage, you could be driving a vehicle with visible signs of rust. Ask yourself if youre comfortable driving a noticeably-damaged car before shaking hands on a price.

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Protecting Your Undercarriage From Rust: Why Its Important

There are two main reasons why rustproofing your undercarriage is important. First, it will save you money in the long run. Rust repairs can cost you anywhere between $30 to $2,000, depending on the extent of the damage. Sometimes, theres nothing more to be done to treat rust damage than to entirely replace the affected vehicle part. Even the slightest spot of rust will bring your cars resale value way down.

Secondly, and more importantly, rustproofing will make your car safer, as rust can affect the structural integrity of your vehicle. Furthermore, rustproofing will help prevent leaks and other mechanical failures, which can be costly as well as dangerous.

Protection against rust is particularly important in cities that experience snowy winters, such as Edmonton. During winter, cities like Edmonton spread ice-melting road salt on streets to keep them from becoming dangerously slippery. Thats good news for public safety, but bad news for your undercarriage. Salt accelerates the formation of rust when it combines with water and oxygen. Over time, and especially during winter, it accumulates under your vehicle and starts to do damage.

How Can I Prevent Rust From Spreading And Getting Worse

Never Get Rust on Your Car Again

If you have some serious rusting on your vehicle, youre probably better off to work with a professional so as to have the oxidation removed. This is especially true if you suspect that any section of your car might need to be replaced. If the damage isnt quite so extensive as that, you may be able to manage it yourself, so that no further spreading of the damage will occur. Here are some different products and approaches you might want to consider.

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What If You Dont Stop Rust On Your Car

If you dont do anything about stopping rust on your car, your cars life span will shrink, and the exterior part of your car will be looking like junk. The cars value also gets deprecated, and no ones ready to pay good money for your car if you ever want to sell it.

It also costs expensive to get your car free from rust after it has covered most of the car parts because that requires your car to go through many processes and use expensive materials.

So its essential to keep your car with proper care and prevent it from rust from the initial days.

How Do I Fix Major Rust On A Car

While it is technically possible to treat major rust, it is better left to the professionals. If you leave small rust spots too long, they will completely eat through the metal. The entire area needs to be treated to ensure all evidence of rust is removed. A special rust treatment is then applied. Metal mesh needs to be cut to fill the holes and body filler used to hold it in place. The area is then sanded and painted the appropriate color. As you can tell, it’s a complex process with expensive tool requirements, so the best way to remove severe rust from a car is by means of professional services.

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How Can You Prevent The Frame And Undercarriage On Your Car From Rusting

I drove a ’97 Subaru Legacy for many years and that thing got over 280,000 miles and was still running smooth before rust finally killed it. The frame started rusting away there was a hole straight through to the trunk interior from the outside. It was quoted at 10x the cost of the car to repair the rust was very extensive, like metastasized cancer.

Because I have a hard time moving on, I just bought another ’97 Subaru Legacy.

How can I keep the same thing from gradually happening again?

I should add that I live in New England, where snow and salt on the roads are a yearly norm. Does the salt have anything to do with it? I’ve been told it does.

  • 1waxoyl, dinitrol … Go on any UK based Land Rover Defender forum and see the discussions there. Two reasons: UK salt their roads in the winter and the Defender is a known rust magnet.May 19 ’17 at 22:22
  • 1I’m in California so our cars never rust . However I’ve always wondered if you could just install a sprinkler head in your driveway to wash the salt off your car when you get home. user959690May 30 ’18 at 16:47
  • if the sprinkler head is effective, it’ll also convert your driveway and any runoff areas to an ice rink, making it difficult to drive onto the driveway if it’s inclined at all.
  • Don’t let the car get wet. Don’t drive in wet weather and don’t park the car outside. Ever.
  • So, to prevent your car from rusting again, I would advise you to do several things:

    Inspect Wheel Wells And Bumpers

    How to Clean Your Car to Prevent Rust

    The wheel wells are a common trouble spot for rust developing in a vehicle. Since they tend to be dirty and difficult to see clearly, people often avoid inspecting them. Most tire manufacturers recommend that you rotate the tires every 6,000 miles. So, as you remove the wheel from the car to rotate it to another wheel well, use a flashlight to inspect the well. Check the areas where the bumpers are attached to the vehicle each time you rotate the tires too.


    • If there is too much mud or dirt in the wheel well to check for rust, take a hose to spray the area out, then inspect again
    • Use tire rotation as a reminder to check your bumpers for rust as well. Older vehicles with metal bumpers sometimes rust quicker than the body of the vehicle.

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    Take Extra Care Around Salt

    a.Salt speeds rust, so be careful to keep your car clean if you live by the ocean or in the winter when there’s salt on the road. b.Clean the underside of your car and your wheel wells when filthy or at least once a week during the winter when salt is out. c.If your car is seriously at risk for rust because of regularly exposure to salt, etc. you can clean it and then spray it with a lubricant appropriate for cars or even paint it with a proper coating for the surface .

    Rust And Corrosion Repair Cost

    The costs of repairs will depend on the location and extent of damage.

    Repairing damage yourself may work out cheaper after shopping around for tools and materials, especially when you consider bodywork specialists can charge anything from £36 to £200 per hour for their expertise.1

    If damage cant be repaired, you might have to consider coughing up for replacement parts.

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    Clean Up Spills Inside Your Car

    Any drink you accidentally knock over wont just be absorbed by the carpet. Rather, it can pass below the upholstery where moisture starts to gather. From here, dont be surprised if patches of rust form and gradually spread across your cars underside.

    After a spill, many recommend using a highly absorbent microfiber towel to soak up as much moisture as you can. If this doesnt work, remove any rugs to dry outside your car. If the carpet cannot be taken out, park the car in the garage with the doors open to air dry.

    How Weather Causes Rust To Invade The Exterior

    Chris is Wrong, You Can

    Youve no doubt seen vehicles on the road where the rust seems more prevalent than the actual body color. Once rust starts, it can spread quickly and take over the whole car. There are many ways this unwanted invader attacks a vehicle, and whether it happens in the winter, or summer, it all starts with water. Water, and saltwater in particular, are the catalysts for corrosion on metal to begin, and more specifically, in areas that do not dry quickly. This is every nook, cranny, crease, or cavity of your cars body or undercarriage that are not able to dry, or be flushed out quickly. This is the reason why rust always starts at the edges or seems to rot out from the inside.

    Along with rain, snow can play a bigger role in the process. The snow itself is no different than rain, but the treatments put on roads, most notably road salt, are a huge difference.

    Wet conditions arent the only signs of danger. The beating sun can also be an issue when it comes to rusting. Of course, you need to drive, and some exposure to the suns rays wont be a major concern. However, if your car is constantly outside, slowly but surely, rust will be on its way.

    If your vehicle is already rusted, check out these articles:

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    Use Baking Soda To Remove Salt

    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.

    Regularly Wash Your Car

    How often do you wash your car in the winter? When you drive over recently salted roads, your car picks up a bunch of corrosive debris. Unless you wash it off within a reasonable timeframe, it stays there and accumulates, eating away at your cars undercarriage and trim.

    As the first line of defense, wash your car regularly throughout winter, especially if it snowed earlier that day. If you live oceanside, schedule regular washes, followed by a wax application. In addition to the road salt, this also loosens and removes bird droppings, tree sap and dirt that can mar or thin out your cars paint job, which all contribute to rust formation.

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    Should I Buy A Car With Signs Of Rust Damage

    Buying a used car always carries some risks, but if there is obvious rust damage, you should be even more cautious. Do a careful examination to see if it is just surface rust, or if the problem runs deeper. Avoid buying a car with scale or penetrating rust. However, you can use minor rust spots as leverage to haggle down the price. It’s pretty easy to get rid of minor rust buildup.

    How Does A Car Rust Problem Start

    How to Rust Proof your car – Stop & Prevent Car Rust | Easy DIY steps for Trouble Spots

    One reason, above all: NEGLECT!

    The main enemy of a long car life is the improper maintenance and lack of attention from the owner.

    You see, much of us take for granted all of the conditions that the car is subdued to during usage.

    From weather to road conditions its a pretty hostile environment.

    Hot summers, cold winters, dirt, moist, road-salt during winter, gravel..the list goes on.

    Considering this, its not all that strange that rust attacks the car.

    But rust doesnt just land on the car. As mentioned, its a slow and progressive process.

    It usually starts from a scratch that damages the protective coating thus exposing the metal.

    A few tiny spots become bigger spots which form in to rust stains. Then the paint starts falling off. In the final phase, chunks of what used to be metal also start falling off the car.

    So, if you want to avoid these problems know that you simply must be vigilant and alert.

    The moment rust shows up, take action.

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    When You Have Surface Rust

    Surface rust is mostly formed when your cars paint breaks down over time. This can be due to mechanical damage of simply too much exposure to the suns UV rays over time. Believe it or not it is actually incredibly easy to be rid of surface rust however it may take time and money. The trick is essentially to do the same thing you do when you want to paint or repaint your car. Use some sort of abrasive wheel tool or high grade sandpaper to remove the paint and the corrosion itself until you get to the clean and bright metal. Then apply your primer and get to painting .

    How To Identify Early Signs Of Rust

    Rust is just a four-letter word for iron oxide, but whatever you call it, it can damage your classic car. The two main culprits of rust are water and air, so you can imagine that your vintage car is under constant assault. Look your car over regularly from top to bottom to look for these early signs of rust:

    • Bubbling or flaking paint
    • Pitting on the surface of paint
    • Scaling along doors and joints
    • Etching in paint from dings, dents, and scratches
    • Build-up of dirt, road salt, or other particles on undercarriage and wheels

    The more often you visually inspect your classic car, the more likely you are to spot these warning signs before they become big headaches.

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    Keep Drain Plugs Clear

    A post shared by EN6LAND Supercars on Aug 25, 2019 at 1:26pm PDT

    Drain plugs are often overlooked when caring for your car, but checking them can help prevent rust. These plugs can become clogged with debris, which will allow water to accumulate. When you wash your car, remember to check drain plugs and clean them out if needed. You can find these under your car doors and along the edges of the trunk and hood.

    How To Prevent Car Rust

    How to Prevent Rust Damage

    Dirt can be wiped off and dents can be buffed out, but rust is a real killer. Especially for those of us in the northeast, where rain, snow, humidity, and even ocean air can form a deadly combination for your car. Even just a little rust spot can turn into a big problem.

    It’s important to be proactive in preventing your car from rusting.

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    Rusting Metal Can Lead To Ultimate Corrosion

    If you ignored the above stages of surface and scales what happens is that the base metal itself ends up flaking away to leave holes. This is the worst case scenario. There are only two options now. One solution is to completely replace the ruined panel which is costly depending on your make/model. The only other option would be to cut out the rotten parts before welding patch panels into place. If the actual frame of your car is rusting like this then the full integrity of your car is at risk. You must take it to an ASE Certified repair facility.

    The tips above are definitely ways you can prevent rust from forming too soon, after all, youve spent so much money on that set of wheels the last thing you want is to have it eaten away by a microscopic chemical reaction. And remember, if you already have rust, its always treatable. And doing is sooner rather than later is the key here. If youve found an alternative way or home remedy to either protect your car from rust or treat it, wed love to hear it! Let us know in the comments section below and stay tuned for more how-to guides on ShopTalk powered by Endurance.

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