How to Prevent Rust on Car Exteriors

Preventing rust on your car is as simple as keeping your vehicle dry, as well as washing and waxing it regularly.
Written by Brady Klopfer
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
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.
Despite how frustrating rust can be, it’s actually quite easy to prevent. Those dirty, flaky, sharp brown bits on your car aren't guaranteed, 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.
So, here's how to prevent rust from ruining your car, with a little help from
car insurance
comparison and broker app
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings

How to prevent rust from occurring

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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). When 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.

Protecting your car with insurance

If rust does become a problem, you can always get your car repaired. And if you have the right car insurance, you shouldn't be on the hook for too much damage. To get the best rate, try using the
app.  A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding cheap quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even help you cancel your old policy.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price.
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings