The Detroit Post
Monday, 25 October, 2021

How Can Rust Be Slowed

Maria Garcia
• Thursday, 15 October, 2020
• 10 min read

If left unchecked this happens to all steel or iron products inevitably. Poorly made iron or steel can begin to rust almost immediately.

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Higher quality metal can take years to show signs. Rust is usually first seen as small problems like nicks or cracks in the paint of the vehicle.

This can be exacerbated with chemical substances like road salt that act as electrolytes. Holes will then begin to form as the steel becomes iron oxide and at that point there is nothing that can be done.

That is where an undercoating like Known or a Berliner from LINE-X can help to extend the life of the vehicle. It is absorbed into existing corrosion and works to draw moisture out of the metal helping to stop oxidation and prevent rust from spreading.

We serve York County to help maintain and extend the life of vehicles. If you are in York or Red Lion, Hanover or Dover, Shrewsbury or Dallas town or any point in between stop in at our Donelson Road location to see what we can do to protect your vehicle.

Quite regularly, I see control arms rotted in half, entire mufflers in the middle of the road, and struts where the lower coil mount snaps off and allows the coil to stab the tire. Being a car-guy, I like my cars, so one of the actions that I enjoy doing every few months is cleaning debris out of my front fenders.

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It’s strange, I know, but I do it regularly with hopes that it will make some kind of difference in the life of the vehicle. So any who… I usually start by staring at the lower section of my fender to figure out what needs to happen for me to get the gross stuff out.

On my 2005 Subaru Impress, I began this process by removing the black plastic inner fender. Behind it is where I found about 3 lbs of dirt, mud, sticks, bugs and pine needles… Notice how lovely the area looks with that pollen covered water line.

From there, I dump out all natures goodies that cause my crusty lifestyle, and then I think some happy thoughts. So I usually spray it with the water hose quite a bit, and hope that I don’t soak my interior too much.

So, I took it upon myself to dry the area really well, and then soak it in a seriously awesome coating of POR-15… Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of that step. Lastly, I reinstalled the fender with a liberal coating of antiseize on the bolts.

July, 2018Page2of7Iron and Corrosion Research Questions:Google and/or Wikipedia will be helpful in answering these questions.1. Iron is the fourth most abundant element by mass in the earth's crust after oxygen silicon and aluminum. Iron is thesecondmost abundant metal after aluminum.However, it is more widely used than aluminum. Find a reason why this is the case.2. Most iron is converted into steel before use. Which other element is most commonly alloyed with iron to create steel? We've had to deal with more than our share on The Build's Toyota Land Cruiser project.

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Years ago, while working as a tire installer in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I accompanied a couple of coworkers to a junkyard in nearby Upper. It was one of those old-school scrapheaps, the sort with trees growing out of Sixties muscle car engine compartments, plenty of wet leaves, the oxidized fenders of Snoopy postwar streamlines peeking from beneath thick layers of moss.

It looked more like the setting of a forest fairy tale than anything a vaunted classic car, but the man was undeterred. A weary-looking guy, clad in soiled camo jacket and matching hat, dragged a grease-blackened floor jack through the mud.

It's indomitable, like a group of developers determined to turn fresh countryside into miles of tacky strip malls and paved-over suburbs. There are people who do incredible things with old rusted-out cars, the ones that are valuable enough to justify the great effort to overcome the forces of nature.

But, in general, the best you can do is delay rust as long as possible, ideally before it even starts; it can be slowed down. Your most valuable weapon in the never-ending battle iron and steel wage against oxygen and moisture is fresh water.

This is particularly true in places where the highway department uses salt or salt-like compounds to clear the roads during snow and ice, and near the ocean, where the air tends to be humid and salty. Salt, acidic leaves and road grit, mixed with water, can get into crevices and cracks in a vehicle's body; it doesn't take long before it finds unpainted metal and turns it into a rusty mess.

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Since those hidden spots usually live underneath a car and behind body panels, it's important to flush the undercarriage on a regular basis, especially during winter and after driving at the beach (or Bonneville). Make sure to thoroughly douse the wheel wells, rocker panels, cowl vents, behind trim pieces, and in any other crevices where salt and contaminants might be hiding.

Make sure the water runs clear out of drain holes in the bottoms of doors, fenders and tailgates. Body panels have built-in drain holes, ensuring the water that inevitably gets inside them can escape.

Chips and scratches open up the underlying metal to attack by rust. Think of paint as the walls of a house: When there's a person-sized hole in one of them, folks will get in and rob you blind.

If the rust has gotten flaky, or is making paint bubble up, you'll need to kill it off with a grinding wheel. Once you've pulverized the flakes, use naval jelly, or some other type of phosphoric acid, to kill off the remaining rust molecules.

For rust holes, you'll need to cut out the rusty edges, then weld in new metal. The vehicle's manufacturer may have sprayed or galvanized metal at the factory, but sometimes (especially on poorly-built economies, Malaise Era cars, and, of course, anything old and Italian) those coatings don't hold up, if they're even present.


I talked to some school bus fleet operators in Upstate New York who have been using this stuff for more than a decade, and they swear by it. They'll protect wheel wells from rock chips, but unless you use them in conjunction with a penetrating rust inhibitor, they allow moisture in through cracks and/or areas where applied too thinly.

Then you'll find yourself peeling off chunks of rubber with what's left of metal attached to it. Luckily, automakers have gotten a lot better at galvanizing metal and coating body panels and frame components.

And because no one wants to buy a rust bucket, it can radically depreciate your car's resale value. The way rust usually begins is through the chips and nicks you receive from the pebbles and stones that pepper your car through daily driving.

With a small nick exposing bare metal in an unnoticeable location, it's just a matter of time until rust forms. The most likely areas to check for rust would be in and around the wheel wells and on the fenders immediately behind the tires.

Check for excess body filler, which from this side will look like hardened putty all lobbed up. Above the suspected area, tap lightly on the car's body with your knuckles.

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Because bare metal will oxidize and painted surfaces won't, you only need to protect your car from the elements to keep rust a bay. This means a periodic checking of the most common areas where rust might rear its ugly head.

Wrap the sand paper around the tip of a small screwdriver and try not to mar the surrounding painted surface. Clean the dirt from the chips with a rag dampened with mineral spirits and let dry.

A build up of dirt can hold moisture against your car's undercarriage and promote rust. Keeping it clean under there will allow surfaces to dry quicker making it less susceptible to oxidation.

Place a lawn sprinkler under your car and turn on full blast. A good rug shampoo, either a do-it-yourself project or professionally done, will help remove the salt from the carpet fibers.

When Neil Young sang '' Rust Never Sleeps,'' he might as well have been croaking about the slow but inevitable deterioration of Minnesota automobiles. Because the state uses salt on its roads, vehicles can decline from showroom beauties to embarrassing rust buckets in a hurry.

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Lindsay Frankel, store manager at Heart in Minneapolis, says leasing has taken a big chunk out of his rustproofing business. Most warranties provide corrosion coverage for five years, and some are even longer, such as General Motors (six), Mitsubishi (seven) and Volkswagen (twelve).

Cars don't generally show rust until after the fifth year, about the time many manufacturers' warranties expire. But consumers may be disappointed to discover the kinds of exclusions in corrosion coverage, including rust caused by ordinary elements such as sand and salt.

Examine the warranty for exclusions, such as surface rust, rust caused by industrial fallout, areas damaged by stones and debris, corrosion caused by sand, salt and hail and tree sap. Some warranties contain vague phrases such as rust caused by abuse or misuse” or “lack of maintenance” that may prove to be catchalls to deny coverage.

Some people may be tempted to wait until the sixth year to have a vehicle rustproofed, but by then it may be too late for prevention; it could mean a body-shop repair instead. Falls Auto Clean and Rustproofing in Minneapolis charges $200 to $220 for most vehicles, plus $20 for an annual inspection.

Most new-car rustproofing comes with a lifetime guarantee that is good as long as the owner brings the car in for annual maintenance. At Heart, that means taking the car in every year, within 60 days of the anniversary date of the rustproofing job.

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Depending on its age and mileage, a used car that is rustproofed may be ineligible for a lifetime warranty. BBK Auto Trim in Roseville will warrant vehicles for six years, provided they have less than 30,000 miles at the time of service.

Older used cars in good condition with high mileage still can be rustproofed, but the warranty may be limited. Others, such as Best Body Shop in Minneapolis, use an oil that seeps into seams to displace moisture.

To get a sense for the quality of work, ask about the number of times customers have collected on their warranties. Nathan Clayton at Falls Rustproofing said only two customers in 28 years have had body work done because of rust.

It's just as important for consumers to ask how often claims are denied because of exclusions that rustproofed have, such as “surface rust.” Since rustproofed may not be as forthcoming about claims denied, consumers may want to contact the Better Business Bureau or state attorney general's office to inquire about any complaints or legal action filed against the company.

Once they've spent $200 to $300 for rustproofing, car owners might assume that any rust spots that appear would be repaired at no cost. If paint is blistering, the shop will sand it off and check the metal underneath.

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If it's silver, the peeling paint is not the result of rust, and is the consumer's responsibility. Frankel, of Heart, says one of the best indicators of whether a spot is under warranty is how the body shop writes it up.

“An estimate that calls for sanding and painting indicates surface rust .” It's important to find a body shop that shares your opinion of the repair.

Regardless of whether a car has been rustproofed, consumers can minimize rust by washing their vehicles at least once a month throughout the year and within a week of every snowfall. Next time the car is being serviced, ask the mechanic or a body shop employee to point out the drain holes in the doors, rocker panels and frame members.

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