To stop your car from rusting, you should just go ahead and buy a newer car. Newer cars are built differently compared to all the older cars. They use lots of rust-repellant materials such as galvanized steel, zinc, plastic coatings, waxes, and e-coatings.
Besides the factory rust protection, you can also opt for a couple of aftermarket rust-proofing techniques such as undercoating, drip/dripless sprays, electronic modules. These cost upwards of $100 and some of them are more effective than others.
Furthermore, you should also wash the car regularly, especially during the winter while there is lots of salt nearby. If you live in a coastal area, try to garage park your car to save it from prolonged salt exposures. Furthermore, paint protection film and loads of different paint protective coatings are also a good idea.
New-car rust protection
As mentioned previously, new cars come rust-protected straight from the factory. One of the most popular and effective ways of factory rust protection is increased galvanized steel usage throughout the car. Galvanizing is a process in which the iron/steel is protected by an equally distributed layer of zinc which repels rust for quite a bit of time.
Car manufacturers are also known to use specific plastic-like paint coatings which are also effective in making the car shinier in the process. These coatings are applied after the clear coat, or they are evenly mixed into the clear coat itself.
Lots of car brands also cover up any vulnerable metals before leaving the factory with other more rust repellant metals. Some brands also use electrical current to electrically charge the car’s panel which is often being used for rust protection in the marine business.
To top it all off, they also use a bunch of different wax-like products which are designed to cover up all the unreachable nooks and crannies. After the cars leave the factory, they are inspected carefully to make sure all these steps are done correctly.
If you want additional rust protection, there are a few popular aftermarket rust proofing techniques to consider. One of the most popular ones is a dedicated tar-based coating usually applied to all the vulnerable parts of your underside.
This coating usually costs $100-200, and it lasts a few years or so. The levels of protection are decent if the coating is applied correctly. You should also check out different types of drip or dripless oil sprays. These sprays also cost $100-200, and are also fairly successful at repelling rust for a few years.
The drip oil spray version is sprayed onto strategic parts, and it drips into all the vulnerable areas. The drawback of this method is the continuous leakages until the solution finally hardens. But the dripless oil spray might even require you to drill into the car’s panels, and this is rather questionable.
One of the most recent methods is a dedicated electronic module, that if placed strategically sends out a constant electrical current throughout the car’s body panels, which should in theory stop corrosion. But these are not all that effective if there is not lots moisture around constantly, and they cost a few hundred dollars as well.
DIY rust proofing
It’s not true that all rust-proofing techniques should be left to the professionals. Even cleaning your car from inside out helps to repel rust in the long run. Your interior can be dirty for a long time, and such dirt can find its way into all the crannies which are not easily reachable, and they can also cause rust over time.
Furthermore, a complete regular car wash process also does wonders for rust protection as it removes all kinds of contaminants from the panels which could cause corrosion down the line. Make sure you clean the underside of your car as well.
These processes are extremely important if you live in a coastal area that is often battered by salt. The same thing goes for wintertime if your area uses salt as an ice deterrent. Try to keep a safe distance from other cars on the road, as small stone chips can damage the paint, and later cause rust if they reach bare metal.
You should also check out pain protection films as they are a fairly popular method of paint protection. There are loads of different plastic coatings for multiple different car panels, and try to consult a professional when choosing a specific product because some of them might be more or less favorable depending on a variety of different aspects.
What should I do if I encounter rust?
After you’ve encountered rust, you should probably take the car in for an inspection. If the rust is fairly minimal you should grind it out, prime it in, and paint in. This is also a great moment to consider using some aftermarket rust-repelling products.
No matter what you do, always inspect the car for additional rust even if you are not able to locate it. Take the car in for an inspection, and a trained professional is usually equipped with special gear that can inspect the car completely.
How often does rust occur?
Even though it sometimes may seem common, rust in modern times is fairly uncommon. That’s basically because newer cars are great rust repellants, but the entire car manufacturing process is way more sophisticated than what it once was.
Even if manufacturers were not to use all these specific rust protective elements, newer cars would still be more rust repellant compared to older cars because the panel gaps are a lot better, and so is the paint and clear coat application.
Can rust kill a car?
Technically, almost all levels of rust can be replaced or fixed one way or the other. So theoretically no, rust can’t kill a car if there is reason and interest for the car to be fixed. That being said, if it does not make sense financially, most people opt for the scrapyard.
Only a small percentage of cars are worthy of high-level rust repair jobs. Such cars are usually valuable classics with low mileage that have been neglected for years. Such ‘’barn-find’’ cars are only a small percentage, and most cars are killed by rust because the final value proposition just does not make any sense.