The Detroit Post
Monday, 25 October, 2021

Is Rust Proofing Worth It

David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 13 October, 2020
• 8 min read

This is especially important for the undercarriage of your vehicle, which commonly comes into contact with substances such as water, chemicals such as salt, and other dirt and debris from the road. Without some sort of protection, the bottom of your vehicle can rust and corrode, leading to part failure.

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The best time to rustproof or apply undercoating protection is when you buy a brand-new vehicle that hasn't been driven yet. In essence, ask the dealership to apply the protection before you even drive off the lot.

This represents the best time to have an undercoating applied, as the under body of the vehicle is probably the cleanest it will ever be. If you only plan on keeping the vehicle for a few years, you might consider sparing the expense and foregoing getting an undercoating applied.

While the underside of the vehicle has already been exposed to water, dirt, and other debris from the road at this point, applying an undercoating now can protect it from further exposure. When having your vehicle rustproofed or an undercoating applied, you have a few options to choose from.

Whether you prefer the latest technology or a more tried and true method, knowing what the different options are should allow you to choose the best one for your vehicle. Using a weak electric current, this small device can stop the corroding effects of rust.

This method involves spraying a tar-based substance on the exposed parts of a vehicle's under body. The tar-like undercoating acts as a barrier once it hardens, keeping out moisture, salt, and other substances.

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It also requires expert application, or it can crack, letting in moisture. A wax-like substance applied to the entire body of the vehicle, it hardens once it has dried.

One of the downsides of dripless oil sprays is that you need to have holes drilled into the body of the car at specific points to make it effective. The spray also has a high viscosity, meaning that it does not always get into all the nooks and crannies of your vehicle.

While you could pay someone to apply an undercoating to your vehicle, you can also save money by doing it yourself. Sand any remaining rust using sandpaper designed for metal.

After removing any rust, it is time to prime and paint the underside of the vehicle. The last step in the process requires you to apply an undercoating to the under body of your vehicle.

Allow this coat to dry for at least an hour, or longer if the instructions call for it. A rubberized undercoating is more durable and seals better, protecting the metal from exposure to water.

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However, warranty does expire and there are still plenty of regions in the world where vehicles are at a high risk of corrosion damage. If you often drive in central or eastern parts Canada, then your vehicle may be at risk of rust due to heavy usage of road salts and plentiful snowfalls.

Cars have changed a lot in the past 20 years, and one key difference is the treatment and usage of metal. Modern car frames are galvanized and well-protected, which means that you can still drive your “ugly” vehicle without any major problems.

These modules are easy to install, and many dealers offer them as an optional upgrade. Electronic modules are designed to prevent rust and can also be found in retailers such as Canadian Tire.

Simply put, the spray is an undercoating that creates a barrier underneath your car. Also, take into consideration that you’ll need to bring your vehicle in for occasional check-ups to ensure there are no cracks in the barrier.

But it does require extra steps, such as drilling holes into parts of the car, so that the substance could be applied. The average price for dripless oil spray from Heart is about $120 to $140, depending on your vehicle.

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But with consumers often opting for extended-term car loans that can last up to 96 months, a small investment to keep rust away may be a worthwhile consideration. While the CAA recommends rust protection to prolong the life of your vehicle, it prefers and endorses sprayed solutions instead of the modules.

It involves spraying a black, tar-like substance on the floor pans, wheel wells, and other exposed parts of the under body of your car, which then hardens and acts as a permanent shield against moisture, salt, and other elements. This will not protect the whole body of your car though, and it cannot stop corrosion if it has already started, which means it is best applied to brand-new vehicles.

The major risk to tar-based solutions is that if not applied properly, cracks may develop in the hardened coating over time and trap moisture within itself, leading to rust. Heart is one of the largest providers of this method of rust protection and charges approximately $150 per vehicle.

Heart also offers something called Penetr-Oil, which is a very dense, wax-like oil spray applied to the entire body of the vehicle. There is a catch though, as this method involves drilling holes into a car's doors, fenders, and other areas to make sure the substance gets applied everywhere.

Another known issue is that due to the substance's high viscosity, it cannot get into all the nooks and crannies in the same way more watery oil solutions can. As the name suggests, a slight annoyance is that the sprayed oil drips for about two days after application, potentially leaving stains in your garage, driveway or parking spot.

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Andrew Tai is CEO of Untangle, which helps consumers find new car deals by providing access to data on what others paid for the same vehicle, current incentives, invoice prices, and more. When committing to such a big ticket item, it’s advisable to find ways to protect the value of your investment for as long as possible.

In addition, the cost of repairing the damage done by any corrosion that develops can really add up depending on what component(s) are affected (paint, circuits, floor panels, etc. ServiceCarSUV/Truck Rust Check$$120150Krown$$120130/$140Corrosion Free$150$170The the best way to prevent weather and salt from producing (or accelerating) corrosion on your car is to treat it with a rustproofing solution.

The process involves spraying a rustproofing product on the surface of the under body that is designed to protect it from moisture. These solutions seep into the hard-to-reach door seam, joints, and crevices that are hotspots for rust and corrosion.

A dense oil based solution can be applied to the entire body of the vehicle, including the under body. This solution involves an electronic module that sends weak electric currents through the metal of a vehicle.

This is a great short term solution, however the undercoating can chip away and cause moisture to actually seep into cracks, getting trapped under the coat and accelerating the corrosion process. The undercoating also doesn’t protect the rest of the car, and won’t be any help for areas already affected by rust or damage.


When done by a trusted professional, any holes should be drilled in unnoticeable places such as near the door latch and on the underside of the vehicle, and will be too tiny to spot. The benefits of drilling in order to apply a rustproofing solution outweigh the inconvenience of having small holes that no one will ever know are there.

Other elements such as dry weather and the UV rays from the sun can accelerate rust and corrosion once the initial damage occurs. In winter conditions, salt and other chemicals used for snow or ice removal make its way underneath your car and stick to the metal surfaces.

The combination of salt and water is more damaging than rust, as the solution eats away at the metal, weakening it and causing it to fall apart. Salt and deicing chemicals are designed to lower the freezing point of water, allowing your car to hit pavement in winter conditions.

| Reader's Digest Skip to main content Photo: Shutterstock Take yourself back a few months: you arrive at your dealership on a cold winter day to pick up the brand-new car you bought, but the manager stops you. Photo: Shutterstock One of the newest and most heavily disputed methods of rustproofing is through an electronic rust protection system.

Often sold by your dealer, an electronic module is a small device that must be professionally installed in your vehicle. These systems emit a weak current through a vehicle’s metal body, theoretically preventing it from reacting with oxygen and corroding.

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Photo: Shutterstock Also known as an “undercoating,” tar-based sprays were initially introduced in the 1950s to make car rides quieter. The procedure involves spraying a black, tar-like substance on the floor pans, wheel wells, and other exposed parts of the under body of your car, which then hardens and acts as a permanent shield against moisture, salt, and other elements.

Unfortunately, over time moisture can seep behind the hard outer seal and corrode the metal beneath. Furthermore, the rigid nature of a tar based spray makes it susceptible to cracks, which will pose an entrance for water to get in.

Heart is one of the largest providers of this method of rust protection and charges approximately $150 per vehicle. Compared to its tar-based counterpart, a dripless oil spray covers more surface area because it’s applied to more interior regions of the vehicle, but this added protection comes with a price.

The application process often involves drilling holes into the frame of the vehicle to maximize the area covered. Additionally, these sprays will often leave smaller crevices and tight seams on your vehicle unprotected because of their high viscosity.

This procedure is the most common and most recommended method of rustproofing, as it’s able to fully rustproof your vehicle by penetrating all the small nooks and crannies. The biggest knock on this method is that the sprayed oil will drip off your vehicle for about two days as it dries.

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To make matters even more complicated, it’s become a common practice for manufacturers to use galvanized steel in their vehicles frames. With a coating of zinc, galvanized steel doesn’t react with oxygen the way iron does greatly reduce the risk of rust.

Rustproofing will make more sense if your vehicle is regularly subjected to the elements, but if you plan to mainly do city driving in a warm climate changes are it isn’t necessary. Finally, the decisions to rustproof has to make financial sense; you wouldn’t want to spend $1,000 rustproofing a $10,000 sedan.

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