Regardless of the season or locale, owners can prevent rust from ruining their favorite autos by taking the right steps to protect their investment.
To help explain how, Wheels.ca automotive expert Eric Lai recently offered some tips.
For example, Lai noted that there are a variety of products on the market today that proclaim motorists can buy applications that they themselves can use to rust-proof their cars. However, some of these products are better than others. The most effective ones are made by Rust Check and are widely available at most automotive stores, such as Canadian Tire.
Lai stressed that while other products may have proven to work well for some, as a general rule, certain treatments succeed or fail depending on how they’re supposed to be applied. For instance, penetrating oil products aren’t worth the money, as they evaporate soon after being used. There are also rubberized undercoating products available. But these, too, aren’t effective and may even cause rust to form more quickly due trapping in water when the rubber cracks.
As much as DIY products may be able to save car owners on labor costs, Lai stated that professional treatments are usually the best way to go. Experts have the tools needed to access hard-to-reach areas, which spray cans that are sold in stores can’t access. This problem could be avoided by physically removing parts of the vehicle where rust often develops – such as the inner door panels – but the time and effort this requires is significant.
In short, while DIY products have their utility, rust-proofing from trained professional tend to be more effective and last longer over time.
Unfortunately, because rust results from wear and tear, it’s not something that’s covered by car insurance in Alberta or anywhere else in Canada. However, in addition to some rust-proofing methods, there are other ways in which motorists can protect their cars from rust development.
- Wash your car on a regular basis. Whether it’s done manually or by a professional, washing the car helps you get rid of the dirt and debris that expedites the rusting process, particularly road salt and sand in the winter. When snow is in the forecast and salt is used in abundance on the road, try to clean the car every one or two weeks.
- Check the hard-to-reach areas. In and around the bumpers is a hard area in which to access when cleaning the car. Using a flashlight, check around the fenders and wheel wells to ensure that debris has been removed.
- If rust has formed, address it quickly. Like a bad cold, rust has a way of spreading once it forms. Thus, if you locate a rust spot, try to scrape it away with a fine-grain sandpaper or a one-sided razor blade. This needs to be done carefully, though, so as not to chip away the exterior paint. Once this has been done, wash the affected area, allow it to dry and use some touchup paint to protect it. This may best left with a professional if you’ve never done it before.
As important as addressing rust spots are, it’s also important to be aware of the signs indicating that rust may be about to develop. This is best done by getting an up close look at the car, looking for spots that may be off-color. For example, if there are patchy dark spots, this means that the metal may be rusting underneath the paint.