Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Prevent Rust Damage

Not only is rust unsightly, unsafe, and undesirable, but it also drastically depreciates your car's resale value. Once it begins to form, it continues to spread and is difficult to remove and repair. Therefore, it is important to know how to prevent it from happening, as well as identify the problem and repair your car when it does.

Rust is iron oxide, the product of corrosion, and consists of natural elements such as salt, water, and heat. Rust usually begins through the chips and nicks that tend to appear in unnoticeable locations on your car from daily driving. Salt (usually from the road during winter months) absorbs water and carries it through these small cracks and abrasions into the metal. With sufficient amount of heat, oxidation causes water to react with metal, producing rust and forming rust holes that eats through metal. The parts of your car that are most susceptible are the wheel wells, fenders, engine, exhaust, and trunk.

The best way to maintain a rust-free car is, of course, stopping rust before it can start. Here are some tips to prevent rust on your car:
  • Cover your car with a plastic covering when not in use, and try to drive further away from other cars to avoid the pebbles that kick up.
  • Wash your car approximately every two to three weeks, or once a week if there is a lot of salt on the roads or if you live near the ocean. Pay special attention to the wheel wells and the underside of your car.
  • Wax your car every four months
  • Keep the interior (especially the rug and upholstery) clean from spills that can start rust from the inside.
  • If you chip the paint of your car and bare metal is exposed, clean promptly and apply touch-up paint.
  • Always protect and keep the metal surface dry if possible.
  • If you are spraying your car with a flammable substance, make sure your engine is cold and give the car some time to dry before turning it on again.
  • If your car is seriously at risk for rust (i.e. very old or regularly exposed to salt), you may consider cleaning and spraying with an appropriate rust-preventing lubricant or repainting.
  • Examine your car frequently for rust. It will show directly on metal surfaces, and will show a small bubble or blister on the painted areas.
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