Rust just isn't my colour.
November 6, 2009 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Rust Prevention? What do you do to prevent rust from forming on a 1-2 year old car?

I am not a car person, live in a snow belt in Ontario, excessive road salt usage, cold weather etc, and I want to know what steps should I take to prevent rust from forming on the car. Black tar spray put on the bottom that apparently lasts for 10+ years, frequent car washes, oil sprays, some magic product called DuraShield? What should I do?

The car had half of a winter last year, sleeps in an insulated but unheated garage at night and is a medium sized SUV.

I tried google but I have no way to verify claims of performance and my bullshit-o-meter fails on all car related matters.
posted by saradarlin to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
At the very least try to wash it fairly often in the winter months and pay the extra few bucks for the undercarriage spray. I can't really see too much harm in that other than it sucks to wash your car and have it covered in sand and salt a day later, but not much getting around that.
posted by reptile at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2009

I'm living in Ontario as well, and I have heard numerous people recommend rustproofing. I have on my car and has worked well. There are some spots that will get rust no matter what but so far is ok. Ziebarts or Krown usually do a good job.
posted by boomcha76 at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2009

There are a lot of people that swear by rustproofing (the black tar-like stuff sprayed on the underside) but it can be fairly expensive (relatively speaking).

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to prevent rust is to wax your vehicle several times per year (twice minimum). This should be done once in the spring (after the snow stops) and once in the fall (before the snow starts). I have become a pretty big fan of Nu Finish as it goes on and comes off fairly easily.

Also, you may want to have any scratches looked at before the salt starts hitting the road. These can often be temporarily fixed by putting a thin coat of clear nail polish on the scratch in question. Deep scratches will turn to rust spots if left untreated.

I'm also in Ontario, for what it's worth.
posted by Anizev at 1:50 PM on November 6, 2009

But you can't wax the underside of the car... I also wax my car. Rustproofing doesn't need to get done every year.. maybe every 2-3 or. Its usually around $100 for a 4 door car.
posted by boomcha76 at 2:07 PM on November 6, 2009

I live in Minnesota. I've had several cars for years and never noticed any rust problems on any of them. Some exterior components will rust, your exhaust pipes, drum brakes etc. That's normal. Besides that, I wouldn't worry about it.

I'm running a Ford Taurus that's over 10 years old now. It has the normal scratches and dings associated with a car that old. One is a little ding/rust spot, about the size of half a pea. I've had my eye on it for about 3 years now and it hasn't done anything. In the past I'd have ground it out, primed and repainted, but it seems paint coatings are far more rust preventative than they were on my older cars. It's not spreading, no paint is bubbling, so I'm just leaving it alone for now.

I think rustproofing is a racket.
posted by sanka at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2009

Newer cars are much better the the old ones in terms of rust, I wouldn't worry about it at all if I were you. I don't live in a cold climate any more but did for many years. It seems to me that starting in the 1990s the cars were pretty well rust-proof. I agree with sanka that it's a racket, plus it might affect your warranty.
posted by mareli at 3:34 PM on November 6, 2009

Just wash the wheel wells during snow season to clean the sand and salt out, otherwise, don't worry. Your car will do fine. Do an undercarriage wash now and then during the winter for bonus points if you really want to.

If it ever does start to rust (in a decade, maybe?) you can use Paint Over Rust on those spots on the undercarriage. It both kills the existing rust and protects the area from additional rust.
posted by zippy at 10:33 PM on November 6, 2009

I live in Chicago, and I can say that a friend's family was all about getting their cars Ziebart-ed. Their cars seemed to be more rust-free than the rest.

If it's really $100, even if it has to be redone once a year, that seems like a good investment. Even if it doesn't pay back in direct dollars (though I suspect it would), it will pay back in having a car that looks good and is more "youthful" than its age.
posted by gjc at 6:01 AM on November 7, 2009

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