How to protect your car from rust?

Article by Christian A., on August 14, 2018

Your car has many enemies, and one of them is rust. Rust doesn’t just make your car look ugly, it also could make some parts unable to function normally. Furthermore, rust can diminish the resell value of your car. But as much as you don’t want rust from building up on your car, it persists.

Rust is the common name for iron oxide. Iron oxide is formed by a redox reaction between iron and oxygen. Your car is typically made from iron or alloys containing iron, like steel. When exposed to air (oxygen) and water (which also contains oxygen), iron will corrode. The process of oxidation of iron is slow, and given enough time, rust will form. This rusting process is similar to fire, as both are a combustion reaction. However, the combustion reaction in a fire is quick and fast, while that of rust is quite slow.

By understanding how rust is formed, you can take steps to prevent it from forming. You just need to stop the process, and this can be done in many ways. Here are some ways by which you can protect your car from rust.

As you drive, your car is exposed to a great deal of dirt, debris as well as chemicals. All of these can damage or remove the protective layers of paint and wax. Likewise, a number of elements, especially salt, foster the formation and spread rust. This is especially true in places with winter season or in locations near the sea or ocean. During winter, roads are usually sprinkled with salt to lower the freezing point of the water, thereby preventing snow to freeze.

You can have you car cleaned at a car wash. You can also wash the car by yourself. Either way, do it regularly – once or twice a week, or even once every two weeks. Do this more frequently when the winter season comes. This would help wash off not just the dirt and salt, but also other elements that might damage your car.

In addition, make sure that the drain plugs of your car are always clear. These drain plugs are typically found along the bottoms of the doors and around the edges of the bonnet and trunk. If the drain plugs are blocked, water is collected and rust can form. Thus, it is vital to make sure that the drain plugs aren’t blocked with leaves or other dirt and debris.

Spills inside your car are sometimes unavoidable, but you can prevent from causing rust. Any spills should be cleaned up immediately or after a trip. A spill that has been left to sit is much harder to clean up, and eventually form rust.

To help speed up the drying process after washing the exterior and the interior of the car, you can use a microfiber towel as it could help remove most of the moisture.

Use protective products to help protect your car from rust. For instance, wax seals the water off the car. You can also use anti-rust sprays as they could help stop or hold the rusting process.

In addition, try locating rusted parts and treat them as early as possible. Parts that have been badly rusted might need replacement to prevent rust from spread to other parts of your car.

You can use sandpaper to sand down the rusted sections, using the roughest sandpaper (180 grit), then to a finer one (320 grit) and to the finest (400 grit). Once the affected area is sanded and the rust is removed, apply primer and let it dry completely. Then apply touch-up paint to cover the primed area.

If the rusted section is large enough for at-home treatment, you can bring your car to a professional.

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