How To Stop Rust On Your Car

December 7, 2019
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Protect Your Car From Rust

Rust is a regular companion on vehicles in snowy states as the road salts and slush that coat your car make an ideal environment for the metal-eating menace to form. Learn how to combat rust this winter with tips and more extreme options to stop it in its tracks.

The "tin worm" thrives in wet, salty conditions and can make quick work of a car's body and undercarriage, leading to repairs and even frame damage in extreme cases.

Rust is inevitable in many ways because all it needs to form is iron, oxygen and water. With oxygen and water in the air, most metals are vulnerable after their protective coating thins out, but there are still steps to slow and stop rust's progress.

How to Prevent Rust

Preventing rust is simple, but to do so effectively requires regular attention to your vehicle. The first line of defense to counter rust is cleaning your car. While water is a factor in rust, the salt from the road speeds up the process dramatically. Remove the salt by spraying down your vehicle - specifically the undercarriage and wheel wells - and let your vehicle dry properly.

If rust has already formed, a plain old wire brush is an easy method for removing surface-level corrosion. Wire brushes cost about $10 and only require some elbow grease to use.

How to Stop Rust

If you're more interested in stopping rust rather than just stalling it, powder coating your undercarriage or applying a protective coat of a product like POR 15 are good steps up from just washing your vehicle. Instead of slowing the formation of rust, POR 15 and powder coating - if applied correctly - will stop the chemical reaction entirely. 

POR 15 paints over already rusted spots (with a little treatment) and can be installed in your driveway. In terms of a cost-effective solution, POR 15 can be applied in an afternoon and won't break the bank.

However, having a professional sandblast and coating your undercarriage in powder coating looks the best, lasts the longest and offers the most protection against rust. However, there is a lot of labor involved, as each powder-coated piece will need to be removed, sand blasted, sprayed and finally "cooked" in an oven to set the coating in place.

Keep in mind no matter what you do, rust is tenacious, and even powder-coated vehicles should still get hosed down or driven through a car wash regularly in the winter. But hopefully with these tips you will be better prepared to tackle winter and keep your vehicle rust-free. You can read our guide covering all aspects of checking out a used car.

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