Rust not only affects the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle but can also lead to structural damage and reduced resale value. To ensure your car stays protected, it’s crucial to take proactive measures to prevent rust and corrosion. There are also many environmental factors that accelerate rust and corrosion in Sewell, NJ, such as wintry roads. So, if you are looking to prevent rust and corrosion on your car’s exterior, here are some tips that you need to know about.
What Causes Rust and Corrosion on a Vehicle’s Exterior?
Before learning how to prevent rust and corrosion, it is important to know what causes these issues. Here are some common causes to keep in mind:
Moisture and Water Exposure
Water is one of the primary catalysts for rust formation. When moisture, such as rain, snow, or condensation, comes into contact with bare metal surfaces on a vehicle, it creates a favorable environment for rust to develop. Also, water can seep into crevices, seams, and joints, leading to corrosion over time.
New Jersey is no stranger to humidity, high moisture levels, and also salt in the air—all of which contribute to rust and corrosion. Salt-laden air near the ocean can have a corrosive effect on a vehicle’s exterior, especially if not properly protected.
Road Salt and De-Icing Chemicals
In regions with cold winters or areas prone to icy conditions like Sewell, NJ, road salt and de-icing chemicals are commonly used. While they help melt ice and snow, they can be highly corrosive to a vehicle’s metal components. Salt and chemicals can accumulate on the surface, including the undercarriage, accelerating the rusting process.
Other Chemicals and Contaminants
Aside from road salt and de-icing chemicals, there are also industrial pollutants, tree sap, gasoline, bird droppings, and a slew of other contaminants that can interact with paintwork and cause damages. These substances can eat away at the protective clear coat or penetrate the paint layer, leading to discoloration, stains, and eventually rust if left untreated.
Scratches, Chips, and Damaged Paint
You may think that your paint is impervious to damage, but that is not entirely true. There is a protective coating on the paint that prevents it from fading and other problems. When the protective paint layer on a car is compromised, such as through scratches, chips, or flaking paint, the exposed metal is vulnerable to rust. These areas provide an entry point for moisture, allowing it to reach the bare metal and initiate corrosion.
Neglecting regular cleaning, washing, and maintenance routines can leave the car’s exterior vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Failure to remove dirt, debris, or corrosive substances in a timely manner allows them to accumulate and cause damage to the paintwork and metal surfaces.
How to Prevent Rust and Corrosion on Your Car’s Exterior
Fortunately, the issues that cause rust and corrosion on your car’s exterior can be avoided or mitigated. Here are proactive and protective measures you can take to keep your vehicle from getting covered in rust:
Regular Washing and Drying
It should come as no surprise that washing your car is one of the best ways to prevent rust and corrosion. Use a mild automotive soap and a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to gently clean the exterior, ensuring you reach all areas, including wheel wells and undercarriage. This removes dirt, grime, and corrosive substances that can contribute to rust formation.
After washing your car, dry it thoroughly to prevent moisture from lingering on the surface. Use a clean microfiber cloth or chamois to remove all traces of water, paying attention to areas prone to water accumulation, such as door sills and wheel wells.
Waxing and Sealing
Applying a high-quality automotive wax can also add a protective barrier to your car that keeps scratches and chips from affecting the paint. Waxing every few months helps shield the paint from moisture, contaminants, and UV rays. Consider using synthetic sealants or ceramic coatings for even stronger and longer-lasting protection.
Aside from waxes and seals, there are rustproofing products like undercoatings, cavity waxes, and rust inhibitors that provide an additional layer of protection against moisture and corrosion. Consult with an auto body shop in Sewell, NJ for the best rustproofing options suitable for your vehicle.
Correct Paint Damage
Attend to any scratches, chips, or paint damage as soon as possible. Repairing or touching up these areas promptly prevents moisture from reaching the bare metal and initiating rust. Use touch-up paint matched to your vehicle’s color and follow proper application techniques.
Protect the Undercarriage
The undercarriage is particularly susceptible to rust and corrosion due to its exposure to road debris, salt, and moisture. Regularly inspect the undercarriage and address any signs of rust or damage promptly. Consider applying a protective coating specifically designed for undercarriage protection, as it creates a barrier against moisture and contaminants.
Routine Maintenance and Inspection
Regular maintenance on your vehicle gives you or an automotive technician a chance to detect any rust or corrosion early. Pay attention to areas prone to rust, including the edges of doors, wheel wells, and around the trunk and hood.
Rust and Corrosion Repair Tips
In the event that you were unable to prevent rust and corrosion, or the used car you just bought has some spots that need to be taken care of, here are some tips to help you get rid of the unsightly corrosion:
If you are dealing with surface level rust, then you can try applying a rust converter or rust inhibitor solution. Rust converters chemically react with rust, converting it into a more stable compound that can be painted over. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and drying time.
Sanding and Grinding
For more severe rust or corrosion, you may need to use sanding or grinding tools to remove the affected metal. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper or a grinding wheel to eliminate the rust and reach bare, clean metal. Gradually switch to finer grits to smooth the surface.
Fillers and Patching
Has rust and corrosion caused deep holes or pits to form in the body of your vehicle? You may be able to use body fillers or patches to restore the surface. Often, this is best left to a professional rust repair service.
Priming and Painting
Once the repaired area is clean, smooth, and free of rust, apply a primer specifically designed for rust protection. The primer creates a barrier between the metal and the paint, preventing future rust formation. Allow the primer to dry completely before applying the top coat of paint that matches your vehicle’s color.
Looking For Rust and Corrosion Repair in Sewell, NJ?
Protecting your car’s exterior from rust and corrosion in Sewell, NJ, is crucial for maintaining its appearance and value. By following the essential steps outlined in this guide—regular washing, thorough drying, waxing, sealing, rustproofing treatments, and undercarriage protection—you can significantly reduce the risk of rust and corrosion. For vehicles that need rust or corrosion repair, consider calling Elmer’s Auto Body in Sewell, NJ. Our paint repair services are backed by our extensive experience and masterful technicians.