Staying Rust Free

by Rali Macaulay


The old adage, "Prevention is better than cure" cannot be truer where cars and rust are concerned! So what has winter got to do with rust, and why should the car owner be concerned about rust?

Rust in cars can be very expensive if not tended early. Not only does it spread fast and makes your car unattractive, but also it could be pretty damaging and dangerous. Rust will minimize your car's ability to protect you in an accident, as well as greatly depreciate your car's value. A little rust is all that's needed to get the car fully dilapidated in a short time, even with the car in good running condition!

So which cars are more prone to rust, and what can we do to protect our cars from rusting?

Places with a lot of snow every winter pose a greater threat to cars, exposing them to a higher likelihood of rust. This is mainly because of salt used on the streets to melt snow and ice during winter; for those living in these areas, it is advisable to prevent rust as much and as early as possible.

A good way to start is having your car washed and waxed even before the first snow. Also, an excellent practice is continuing to frequently wash your car all through the winter, including the car's undercarriage.

Particularly after a snow, and if you have driven on the salted roads, it is absolutely important to wash the salt off your car as soon as possible. Never mind the extra expenses now, as you'll be saving yourself a greater cost of having a rusty car!

In addition to protecting your car with waxes, sealants, polish and undercarriage treatment are great essentials too.

Also, after you wash your car, leave the doors open to allow the water trapped on the doors to dry up.

Make sure there are no leaves, or any moisture-causing particles around your tires and wheels, as these could also aid rusting. Remove any snow trapped around your tires.

Avoid putting snow inside your car during and after a storm by knocking off any snow on your shoes before getting into your car.

Park your cars outside as opposed to parking in a heated garage, as the warmth in the garage would melt the snow and ice on your car, causing the salt to eat into the body of your car, thereby causing rust.

Having a different floor mat for your car during winter is also a good idea. Preferably use a rubber one. Wash and change this once winter is over. You'll need it next winter!

Once winter is over, wash your car again, and have it polished/waxed to further guard against rust and also bring back the shine on your car.

Got rust already? Well, "a stitch in time saves nine." Don't delay; get a good auto body shop to fix the rust before it spreads. Your trusted auto mechanic should be able to recommend one to you.

But if you'd rather do it yourself, here are some basic steps:

  1. First scrape off the rust with a sanding wheel and later smoothen it out with a sand paper.

  2. Wash with warm water and a good car soap. Leave to dry.

  3. When thoroughly dried, repaint the sand papered area.

These are just some basic steps. However, if the rust is already well spread, it will be better to go to the experts to fix it.

Finally, regularly check the body of your car for rust spots and tiny bubbles, as these could be rust brewing underneath the paint. Be vigilant and fight off any rust, fast!

Get your car in a good shape, enjoy the summer and don't forget to do this again next winter. Have a "rust-free" winter.

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