While we most often deal with collision repair, there is another source of autobody stress that can damage your vehicle with no collision at all – rust. It can sneak in quietly but it can ruin your vehicle’s paint, body, and even the frame, becoming a major safety hazard. Luckily, rust damage is preventable. Here are some tips to keep your vehicle rust and corrosion free.
1. Wash your car often
Washing your car often can make a serious difference in the fight against rust. And no, you can not cause increased rust by washing your car too often. The water that comes from washing a car dries easily on a clean car, but dirt, grime, and debris trap moisture which causes most rust and corrosion. And be sure not to just wash the easy spots, but the undercarriage and inside your wheel wells also. It’s also important to realize that your car does not need to “look dirty” to need a car wash and that damage can be caused by dirt and debris that may not be visible to the naked eye.
2. Watch out for salt
Another reason to wash your car often is to make sure you are removing road salt that may stick to your vehicle. This is especially important for Rhode Islanders like us. While salt can trap moisture like someof the debris mentioned in the above section, it can also react with water causing your car to corrode even faster. This is all the more reason to wash the undercarriae of your car or to visit a car wash that has an undercarriage spray. If possible, we recommend washing your car once per week in the winter. For more winter autobody tips, check out How To Avoid Winter Autobody Damage.
3. Wax your car
While keeping your car clean is important for removing dust and grime, a nice coat of wax provides a shield to protect your paint from rust damage that can be caused by a buildup of debris. This also also helps prevent fading and sun damage which is an added benefit that makes this an effective treatment for year-round use. We recommend waxing about twice per year for best results.
4. Consider using a rust-proof coating
Rhode Island can be a pretty rust-heavy environment due to the heavy use of road salt but also our proximity to the coast. For this reason, the added step of using a rust-proof coating can be very helpful. This may not be as important as waxing if you plan on owning your vehicle for a short period of time or if you are leasing it, but if you plan to keep your vehicle for years to come, it can be helpful over the long-haul.
5. Stay on top of rust before it spreads
We highly recommend inspecting your car regularly for a wide variety of reasons. But one of the major reasons is to stay on top of rust. While a small amount of rust may not seem significant, it can spread quickly if not treated so it is important to catch rust early. So be sure to include a glance at the undercarriage of your vehicle in your checklist when inspecting your vehicle. If you do notice large amounts of rust, consider getting a professional opinion from a Class-A autobody shop like Reliable Collision Repair. We would be happy to have one of our trained experts take a look and help you determine the next step to take.