Three Tips for a Rust-Free Winter

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This may just be the world’s fastest crash course on rust prevention ever written – well maybe not ever but, by the end of this article you will have learned the basics as it relates to rust on your car and how to handle it.

Rust 101

What is Rust? In simplified terms, when iron meets water and oxygen the result is rust.
Vehicles made with iron based products will eventually show signs of rust. The goal, therefore, is to use protection as a method to extend the life of the vehicle. Most cars will rust in two to three years if unprotected. However, once treated and maintained an average car will show little signs of rust for up to five to six years which happens to be the average length of time most Canadians will keep a vehicle. Preventing rust is important to the potential reselling value of the vehicle and should not be overlooked.

Where Does Rust Start? The paint job is the car’s first line of defense against rust. Once the paint is nicked, scratched or exposed corrosion can start to form in those areas. Rust often forms anywhere two iron parts rub together such as the doors, hinges, etc. The undercarriage of the vehicles is also often prone to rust. Salt, dirt, sand, damp weather, heavy snow, and carbon elements all help to speed up the rate at which the iron will start to rust or corrode.

How to Prevent Rust? These are the three basic steps necessary to increase the life of the vehicle and prevent rust: Keep the car protected/oiled, clean, and dry.

1. Keep it Protected and Oiled: Rust proofing spray/undercoating is currently the most popular method of rust protection used in Canada due to its price point and availability and is recommended for new vehicles. Rust proofing is used in areas that are more visible on the vehicle such as the door, wheel wells, fenders etc. and are available as oils, gels, or waxes that require yearly maintenance. The ceramic application is a new alternative to wax products and is said to be five times stronger than wax and lasts for five years. Undercoating protects the undercarriage of the vehicle or the hidden parts of the car and is often called sealants. There are a variety of brands and price ranges
available for rustproofing and undercoating – additional research is recommended before purchasing a package.
a. Electronic Rust Inhibitors – work well on boats and bridges but have been proven less effective on cars and are often not recommended.
b. Paint protection film products represent the latest in protection technology and are removable, self-healing, stain resistant and often maintenance free.

2. Keep it Clean: It is highly recommended to remove the vehicles dirt, salt and all other elements that increase the corrosion rate of the iron as quickly as possible. Washing all parts of the car including the underbody is necessary to prolong the life of the protection option chosen. Use baking soda and not dish-washing soap.

3. Keep It Dry: Once cleaned, the vehicles must be properly dried and kept out of moisture. Store your vehicles inside when ever possible or use a car tarp or tent to protect from heavy snowfall or rain. Keep water away from your vehicle.

You now know the basics of rust prevention. How many of these suggestions will you adopt in your everyday routine? Do you have other rust proofing ideas? We want to hear from you.


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