A Comprehensive Guide on Preventing and Removing Rust on Your Car

Rust is like a thief that slowly crawls into your bedroom–you won’t really know you’re being robbed until you wake up with an empty house. Fortunately, rusting doesn’t happen overnight. By learning to spot problem areas in your vehicle and recognizing the importance of rust prevention and rust removal, you can enjoy driving your car with pride and integrity for the years to come.

Types of Rust

Rust is a product of oxidation, an electrochemical process that breaks down different types of iron-based metals. As the molecular compound of the surface of metal interact with oxygen present in air, it produces iron oxide, which is more popularly known as rust.

Contrary to popular belief, rust also comes in different levels of intensity. To help you understand the rusting process a little bit more, below are some of the most common types of rust:

Surface Rust: Iron is highly resistant to corrosion–a process that eventually leads to rusting. However, pure iron does not offer enough flexibility, formability and tensile strength, making carbon iron a more ideal type of metal in building cars. The extra carbon, on a negative note, makes vehicular surfaces more vulnerable to surface rust, which first appears in cracks, scratches and paint nicks.

Scale Rust: The development of scale rust is highly dependent on factors like alloy type, metal sheet thickness and the presence of environmental hazards. Although alloy elements like chromium and nickel can repel rust, contaminants like road salt can speed up the rusting process. This mainly explains why most cars that are manufactured and used in countries that experience cold, winter climates are more vulnerable to rusting.

Penetrating Rust: Just like house termites, rust can eat up the integrity of your vehicle. Once left unattended, penetrating rust can turn steel into brittle iron and form unwanted holes. Luckily, most modern cars are made with more durable metal sheets that are painted with anti-corrosive coatings. However, it is never enough to leave rust prevention to car manufacturers, especially since your vehicle faces extreme weather and road conditions on a daily basis. To keep rust at bay, perform a regular inspection and use a primer and a paint for light rust removal.

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Back to Basics: Top Tips on Rust Prevention

Wash Your Car: Rust prevention starts with one important step: regularly washing your car. Since environmental hazards like road salts, dirt and grime can speed up the rusting process, washing off any dirt from your vehicle can help you significantly delay–if not totally prevent–rusting. Similarly, always clean the interior part of your vehicle and don’t let any spill sit on your car floor and seats.

Use Baking Soda for Road Salts: If you are dealing with road salt, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with car soap dissolved in clean water. Baking soda helps neutralize the acidity of salt and ice-melting compounds on the road.

Drain Your Car Plugs: Regularly checking and clearing your car’s drain plugs, which are located along the bottom of the doors and the edges of the trunk and hood, can keep water out and reduce any chance for rusting.

Wax Your Car: Wax acts as an extra coat of protection for any vehicle. By religiously waxing your car at least once a month, you can repel water and other rust-forming particles from the surface of your vehicle.

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Rust Removal

Learning how to ward off rust at a specific stage can help you fully prevent the progress of the oxidation process. Below are some of the most important tips on how to remove rust on cars:

Surface Rust: Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to rust. While surface rust is not really a major problem, leaving it behind can cause bigger damages in the future. Typically caused by either UV exposure or paint breakdown, surface rust can be easily fixed by undergoing these simple steps:

Scrape off the rust by the use of a sandpaper or a razor blade. Be careful not to scrape off paint around the rust.
Once the metal is visible, apply a primer and a car paint.
Clear the coat and buff the surface to perfectly blend the finishing.

Scale rust: Scale rust, which appears like tiny bubbles on the surface of your vehicle, is the second degree of rust formation. You can prevent it from worsening by immediately following these steps:

Remove rust on cars by correcting the scale by the use of a wire brush. Get rid of roughness by using a grinding wheel and smoothen the surface by scraping off the surface with a sandpaper. Finally, apply a primer and a paint.

Penetrating Rust: If you fail to remove rust on cars at an early stage, it can penetrate through the surface. In cases like this, it is best that you consult a repair facility. If the rusting is severe, you may have to replace the panel affected by rust.

Precautions

The rule in rust removal is quite simple: if the rust occupies just a small part of your car and it is still at its early stages, you can always try to remove it yourself. However, if the rusting has already dramatically progressed, always ask help for a professional repair facility.

If, on the other hand, you are planning to buy a used car from a Japanese car auction, read the auction sheet so you can get a clear idea on the overall condition of the car. A Japanese car auction sheet illustrates all problem areas within your vehicle so you can make informed decisions before you import any used car.

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