How to Prevent Rust on Car Exteriors

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Nobody likes rust. However, if you own a vehicle, then you really don’t like rust. Rust is a hassle if it’s on your vehicle: it looks bad, deteriorates the quality of the vehicle’s exterior, is unlikely to be covered by insurance, and can dramatically reduce the resale value of any car. Long story short, there’s nothing good about rust on your car.
Despite how frustrating rust can be, it’s actually quite easy to prevent. Those dirty, flaky, sharp brown bits on your car don’t ever need to occur, and if they do appear, you can keep them contained. Preventing rust on your vehicle requires a little bit of work and some pre-emptive measures, but it’s no big deal.
Thankfully, applying these basic tricks and tips can keep your car looking wonderful, and keep the resale value as high as possible.

How to prevent rust from occurring

Step 1: Keep your car dry. Rust occurs when a vehicle has been exposed to water for large amounts of time. It follows, then, that the best way to keep rust from popping up on your vehicle is to keep it dry!
If you have the opportunity, park your vehicle in a garage, or in a car port as much as is possible. However, you want to make sure that a garage has proper circulation, so that it doesn’t cause condensation to build up and add moisture to the vehicle’s exterior.
Step 2: Keep your car clean. Keeping your vehicle clean is also incredibly important. Dirt, debris, and bird poop all damage the exterior of your vehicle.
These things won’t actively cause rust to occur on your vehicle, but rust has a much easier time developing on a damaged exterior, where the paint is worn out. Keeping these things off of your vehicle will make your exterior healthy enough to help fight off rust.
Step 3: Clean the underside of the car. When you wash your car, you want to be sure to wash the underside of the vehicle as well.
The underside of your vehicle may not be something you worry about aesthetically, but it’s highly susceptible to rust damage.
And rust damage on engine components can lead to very pricy repairs.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly. When you wash your car, you want to rinse it off thoroughly. The soap that exists in car cleaning liquid can damage your exterior if it is left on, so you need to thoroughly remove it all.
  • Tip: Don’t stop at washing - wax your car at least once a year, and preferably twice a year. Waxing helps keep both water and dirt from sticking to your vehicle.

How to prevent rust from spreading

Step 1: Inspect your car on a regular basis. Even if you have a little bit of rust already on your vehicle, don’t worry: you can do a lot to keep it from spreading.
However, the most important element of keeping rust from spreading is identifying it, so be sure to visually inspect your car with some regularity, especially the underside, and any hard to see crevices.
Step 2: Brush off the rust. When you find some rust, you want to immediately get rid of it, by brushing it off with a razor blade or some fine grit sandpaper.
Always be careful when doing this, as you don’t want to damage the parts of your vehicle that haven’t been impacted by the rust.
Step 3: Apply rust arrestor. After you have removed as much rust as possible, you should apply some rust arrestor to the area (you can find rust arrestor at a home improvement store, or an auto parts store).
After the arrestor dries, you can also apply primer and car paint to cover up the spot, though that is more for aesthetics than rust prevention.
Preventing rust from occurring and spreading is relatively easy. It only takes a few preemptive measures to help stop rust from ever getting started, and halting it in its tracks is equally simple. Rust may seem like a hassle, but it really doesn’t have to be.

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