The Detroit Post
Saturday, 16 October, 2021

How Much Frame Rust Is Acceptable

author
Elaine Sutton
• Friday, 16 October, 2020
• 9 min read

If rust gets into a vehicle’s frame or body structure, it can become a safety issue for drivers. In fact, if a vehicle’s structure gets rusty enough, there could be a catastrophic failure even in routine daily driving.

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Contents

First, moisture and carbon dioxide in the air mix to create a weak acid that starts to dissolve the iron. Think about how easy it is to crumble a flake of rust between your fingers, and then imagine that stuff trying to protect you and your loved ones during a car crash.

A stray piece of gravel or a minor fender bender is all it takes to chip a car’s paint, and any iron in the body panels will start to rust as soon as air and water reach the metal beneath it. That means rust spots can be fairly common on used vehicles, particularly if they’ve been driven in a northern U.S. state that uses chemicals and salt to device winter roads.

But if the rusting process goes on too long, it can eat right through the metal, causing holes and allowing body panels to fall to pieces. This is where problems go from cosmetic to dangerous, because modern cars and SUVs rely on these body panels for their structural integrity.

Rust -free body panels boost a vehicle’s structural integrity, but the parts doing the heavy lifting lie under the car’s skin. Unfortunately, this area of a vehicle is often susceptible to rust -causing chemicals and water, which can accumulate there when a car drives down wet or icy roads.

Rust only needs a tiny crack in a car’s structure (or truck frame) to do its work. Most customers should avoid used vehicles that show strong signs of structural rust.

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CARFAX also recommends getting an expert inspection that includes putting the vehicle up on a lift, to give your mechanic a better view of under body components. You can apply touch-up paint to stone chips, small scratches, and other minor nicks and dings, but truly repairing rust can take several steps, a variety of tools and materials, and quite a bit of skill.

Depending on the size and severity of the rust, blending the repaired area with the surrounding paint may require wet sanding or buffing the surface. Dirt can retain and trap moisture, and road salt, bird droppings, and other corrosive materials will eat away at paint if they’re left unattended on metal surfaces for long periods.

Waxing it on a regular basis (twice or more each year) will add a protective surface to the paint and clear coat. Wash and wax more frequently if you live near an ocean or in an area where highway crews spread salt on the roads to melt snow and ice during the winter.

Also, frequently check the fender liners and other areas under the hood, along the sides of the engine bay, for any standing water. Check the trunk or cargo area to make sure water isn’t seeping past the seals.

Stone chips and other nicks and dings that are left unrepaired can develop into rust spots over time, so it pays to buy some matching touch-paint to cover those imperfections. I spotted some rust on the underside of the car between the back wheels.

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By the time the inspection was completed (and failed), I had a hole in my muffler system along with about $2,500 worth of rust related repairs for a $1000 vehicle. However, to check you're going to have to do the squeeze test between fingers and thumb on the thicker structural sections, then if you still can't determine how severe or not the rust is. It's time to get an old screwdriver out and tap (with the handle part) on the rustiest bits.

If the material is corroded right through holes will likely appear, this is not good especially in the structural sections, if this is the case then you may like to walk away from this one as welding will be required. If however it is just surface rust then a scrap off and clean up followed by an application of under body protection will suffice and your good to go.

The seller should have no issues at all with you taping on the structural parts of the body to check its integrity. In some parts of the world where lots of salt is used in the winter, this is not unusual rust.

If you want to keep it longer term, I'd treat the rusty areas on the under body with a wire wheel brush on an angle grinder, rust converter and fresh undercoating after a thorough clean. (It has now spent 9 years in S. Georgia) and I have very little rust on the frame and components.

The hitch and rear bumpers had been recently rattle can spray by me while off the Jeep while it was being professionally repainted. This is the low point on the frame, with no drain holes the water and dirt collects there.

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You can look into the holes on the side of the frame if you see flaked rust properly not good. I don't know if I would say it's problematic, I just doubt it spent the majority of its existence in Nevada.

Of course, it could have spent several years in the rust belt and then moved to Nevada. If the rest of the Jeep is worth, then the surface of the frame treated and painted.

Have the sellers send you short video clips of them stabbing aggressively at the front arm, rear arm and skid plate mounting points. When you find one that looks good on the pictures run the CARFAX and look where it was registered every registration.

From what I can see in the photos, the Nevada one looks typical of a western desert climate car of that age. Just a note of caution, DO NOT buy a car that lived its life in Utah, and more specifically in Salt Lake area...........don't ask me how I know, LOL.

I don't know if I would say it's problematic, I just doubt it spent the majority of its existence in Nevada. Of course, it could have spent several years in the rust belt and then moved to Nevada.

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If I did buy it, I was thinking of a suspension and body lift, but not if those bolts are going to be a nightmare. I doubt the body bolts are rusted up in the recess where the threads are.

There is a thread on here where a member was installing accessories on a '21 Flu and one of those bolts broke when he was trying to remove it. I don't know if I would say it's problematic, I just doubt it spent the majority of its existence in Nevada.

Of course, it could have spent several years in the rust belt and then moved to Nevada. For comparison, here are some recent pictures of my '98 Grand Cherokee that I bought new, and it has spent its entire life in Colorado.

I would expect something from Nevada to be even cleaner underneath as my GC has seen its share of winter driving here in Colorado. Probably helps that mine's always been garaged and I routinely hose off the underside.

The old Jeep, with its more nimble size and V-8, feels like a sports car in comparison to the 4Runner. I had instead considered buying a Cherokee back in 1998, but it was just too cramped inside for me (particularly the headroom).

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When I bought my PJ (actually in Toledo for I was there with my company for a short period) the salesman told me that they had a number of people trade in BMWs for them. I thought he was blowing smoke, but there were a number on the used car lot.

Driving it back down I-77 through West by God Virginia, I really liked how nimble it was. Mine was a Laredo and had the full time 4WD position on the transfer case, I really like that.

One weekend a friend and I out at my place in the country had two pickups stuck on a steep slope (lake at the bottom). We got his pulled out with a little 17HP Ford 1200 4WD tractor (AG tires really helped).

TJ’s frames rust out from the inside because they do not drain water. As I'm looking for a 4th Gen and live in the Northeast and travel is all but impossible for me, I'll probably be dealing with some rust. Now here is the issue.

When the frame looks like Swiss cheese and there's nothing left to weld on to...seriously though, significant flaking is a good warning sign. In my experience, some on the rockers is ok because they're easily replaceable but when you start finding significant flaking on the frame, quarters, under body, it's not worth saving.long story short any rust is too much rust ...

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When the frame looks like Swiss cheese and there's nothing left to weld on to...seriously though, significant flaking is a good warning sign. That looks pretty nasty, specifically that lower radiator support and frame rails where the bumper reinforcement bolts up.

Reply With Quote 08-17-2016, 01:15 PM # 6 Location: Downcast, Maine, USA We replaced the lower radiator support on my 2003 T4R because it was pretty rotten, and it looked very much like this one.

That radiator support probably looks even worse in real life. The problem with some of these frames is they begin to rust from the inside out.

With substantial rust like this already showing on this 2008, who knows how bad the inside of the frame is rotting. We replaced the lower radiator support on my 2003 T4R because it was pretty rotten, and it looked very much like this one.

That radiator support probably looks even worse in real life. With substantial rust like this already showing on this 2008, who knows how bad the inside of the frame is rotting.

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CIRC they are asking at least $17K for this one Reply With Quote 08-17-2016, 02:06 PM # 8 Posts: 852 Oh and on that one above the dealer called it “surface rust and said they'd be more than happy to remove it and undercoat it if I wanted it.

I understand you can't travel, my recommendation is to contact a broker who can get you a vehicle from the desert southwest. You'll pay about $1200 for shipping but you'll get a rust free truck for roughly the same price as the ones you're looking at.

OR go through Car Max and check out their dealers in places where they don't use road salt and have them transfer a truck for you. It might sound extreme, but having lived (and wrenched) in the northeast for almost 20 years I can say with 100% confidence that I'll never buy another used car from up there again.

I'll GLADLY pay an extra $1000+ for a vehicle from a part of the country that doesn't salt the roads. It might sound extreme, but having lived (and wrenched) in the northeast for almost 20 years I can say with 100% confidence that I'll never buy another used car from up there again.

I'll GLADLY pay an extra $1000+ for a vehicle from a part of the country that doesn't salt the roads. This is spot on....and it's really not that hard to find and get into a rust free vehicle.

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I've since sanded and hit it with Rust coleus, which still isn't ideal, but something like that you won't notice until it's too late in most cases.

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Sources
1 www.tripadvisor.com - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g60745-c26-Boston_Massachusetts.html
2 www.tripadvisor.co.uk - https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurants-g60745-c26-Boston_Massachusetts.html
3 www.timeout.com - https://www.timeout.com/boston/restaurants/best-italian-restaurants-in-boston
4 usmenuguide.com - https://usmenuguide.com/places/category/italian-restaurants/united-states/massachusetts/boston/
5 ruggerosrestaurant.com - https://ruggerosrestaurant.com/
6 www.mikespastry.com - https://www.mikespastry.com/
7 www.lombardisitalian.com - https://www.lombardisitalian.com/
8 www.modernrestaurant.com - http://www.modernrestaurant.com/
9 italiancorner-ri.com - http://italiancorner-ri.com/
10 www.modernpastry.com - https://www.modernpastry.com/
11 www.tuscanychicago.com - https://www.tuscanychicago.com/
12 www.camillosrestaurant.com - https://www.camillosrestaurant.com/
13 www.wesellrestaurants.com - https://www.wesellrestaurants.com/
14 www.kingstonpizza.com - https://www.kingstonpizza.com/
15 www.wedding-spot.com - https://www.wedding-spot.com/wedding-venues/Massachusetts/Boston/
16 philly.eater.com - https://philly.eater.com/2019/8/21/20825604/queer-eye-philadelphia-italian-market-breakfast-restaurant
17 www.iqmatics.com - https://www.iqmatics.com/webstore/