Bubbling paint and reddish stains have haunted the nightmares of motorists for years. Nobody likes auto rust, but what can be done to stop it? As it turns out, you aren’t doomed to watch your car decay away as you drive it. You can fight back against rust and add years to the life of your trusty ride, sparing it from an early grave in the junkyard.
What in the world?
The red rust we all know and hate is the result of the chemical breakdown of iron-based metals. The process is called oxidization, and it takes place when the molecules in the metal parts of your car bond with oxygen to create a molecule called ferric oxide (but you can call it rust). The takeaway here is that the phenomenon we call rusting is only possible in the presence of oxygen. No oxygen, no rust. Untreated, just about every iron-based product (including your car) will eventually rust away completely, but you aren’t going to let that happen, are you?
Addressing Auto Rust in Various Situations:
- If my car is scratched? Get it fixed, and soon at a collision repair shop! Scratches compromise the protective coating of your paint and expose the metal on your car to the threat of oxidization. If you aren’t able to get the scratch fixed right away, be sure to clean it out thoroughly. A rag dabbed in alcohol works extremely well for this. When the scratch is cleaned out, a thin coat of clear nail polish can be applied to prevent oxidization. While getting the scratch fixed immediately is always best, the nail polish technique should buy you some time.
- If there is salt on the roads? Wash your car regularly, at least once a week. Salt accelerates rusting and can make a little problem a serious one in no time! When you wash, use quality products that won’t harm the car’s paint or surface. Make sure that you dry with towels made from a non-abrasive material such as microfiber.
- If I’ve already noticed rust? Get it taken care of right away at your local auto body shop. Neglecting a rust problem can lead to serious issues with your car’s body. Eventually, the rust will eat a hole right through your car. You wouldn’t want that, so get your car repaired quickly!
- If I really want to be sure? If you want to be sure that your car is protected, there are a few good practices that can help keep the dreaded oxidization away. A rust prevention spray can be a good option, especially for car owners who live near the ocean (that whole salt thing, remember?). It is always a good idea to wax your car. A fresh coat of wax will keep your paint looking shiny, and will give your ride an extra layer of rust protection. If you’re in the habit of regularly exposing your car to the elements, it’s smart to keep it cozy (and safe) with a car cover.
Your vehicle takes great care of you, and it doesn’t ask for much in return. The least you can do is keep it safe from rust and corrosion by following the tips above. If you do, your car should stay looking beautiful and will thank you with years of added service!