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car rust preventative maintenance

Car Rust | Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Even The Smallest Rust Spots

Not only is it extremely unsightly, but it’s also potentially dangerous in large amounts. Car rust is every car owner’s worst nightmare! Okay, maybe not their WORST, but it’s definitely something that shouldn’t be ignored. Rust on your vehicle is bound to happen especially if it’s old and always left out in the elements. So what exactly is rust caused by?

Car rust is just another name for iron oxide. Iron oxide forms when a metal that contains iron (like the metal your car is made of) is exposed to oxygen and moisture for an extended period of time.

Depending on the year of your vehicle, you might have one that will be rust free for a really long time compared to some older makes and models. Newer paint is providing more protection against rust and some are being manufactured with galvanized steel which will stand up to rust much longer. 

So when does rust become a problem? WHY is rust a problem? When should you have it taken to a body shop for repairs? And how can you protect your car from rust? 

Repairing Small Spots Early

Just like many things in life, if you catch it early on while it’s small and seemingly harmless, you’ll prevent much larger damage in the long run (not to mention you’ll save yourself a larger repair invoice as well). 

Oftentimes a dent or deep scratch in the paint can be the cause of small rust damage on your car. You can usually spot the car rust before it has the chance to penetrate through the metal. In this case an auto body shop can do a quick and small repair to stop the rust spot from spreading. 

During a small rust repair, the auto body technician will sand down the affected area, apply a primer to the rust to help prevent spreading and then the damaged spot is painted to match the rest of your vehicle. It’s a pretty quick, inexpensive and simple process. 

Large Rust Spot Repairs 

If the small car rust spots are not taken care of they will over time become larger and eventually penetrate right through the metal. This can be dangerous mainly because the erosion can compromise the integrity of the surrounding structures. This is when rust can potentially become a BIG and dangerous problem.

Cars are built to essentially crumble on the outside during a collision, while being able to protect what’s on the inside (you). So when deep or large spread rust is left, it can eventually weaken the frame and other components designed to keep you safe. 

While keeping you safe is the #1 reason to catch car rust early, it also lowers the value of your car, can leave you with a huge repair bill and let’s be real, it just looks down right bad. 

If the rust has become large enough and has penetrated the metal, during the repair process the area covered in rust will be completely removed from the body of the car. The piece removed is then replaced and bonded into place with special materials. The rest of the process is the same as a small spot fix…the section is sanded, primed and painted to match the rest of your car. 

Location Location Location

Have you ever noticed that some cars are more susceptible to rust? Have you ever purchased a used vehicle that came from a different province and noticed it was in much better shape than some of the local ones?

The location of the vehicle plays a factor here. We don’t just mean where it’s parked either, the actual area that you live in can play a role in rust.

Are your winters longer than other places? Do they use salt or sand on the roads? Is the climate damp with lots of rain? These are all things that can cause rust on your vehicle. 

Many places will strictly use salt on the roads during the winter months because it’s usually the cheapest option for keeping the roads safe. While it’s great to not go sliding through every intersection, the salt on the roads could be the sole cause of rust on your car. It’s important to pay attention to these things and take proper precautions. 

Prevent Further Car Rust 

While car rust isn’t something that just pops up over night and starts causing all kinds of problems, improper care of your vehicle will eventually lead to rust, erosion and the possibility of it getting beyond repairable (in really extreme cases).

But there are plenty of things you can do during the lifetime of your vehicle to help prevent rust and keep that baby looking new all the time. 

  • Avoid parking on grass, snow, or dirt. Parking in locations such as these (with high moisture) are a one-way ticket to the scrap yard. 
  • Wash it well – most of the time when we wash our vehicle, we don’t think about the underbelly of the car. But dirt can get trapped up underneath and trap unwanted moisture. So be sure to have the underside cleaned just as often as the rest of the car. 
  • Spray the underside with a protective coating. While no brand will guarantee their product will never allow rust to appear, it still doesn’t hurt to provide a bit of extra protection. 

Car rust is just like all other preventative maintenance on your vehicle. If it’s left unattended it will almost always lead to bigger and more expensive repairs. Get your vehicle’s rust spots fixed up ASAP by calling a reliable local repair facility.