rust on silver carYou take good care of your car, storing it in the garage and washing it regularly. Yet one day, you notice spots of rust on the door. How did they form?

Rust is a menace to many auto enthusiasts. While it can signal neglect, cars in certain climates and conditions are more prone to rusting. Before you address rust on your own, here’s what you should know.

How Rust Forms

Rust forms through a chemical reaction called oxidation, which requires an anode, cathode and electrolyte. Your car’s metal supplies the anode and cathode, while water or salt can be used as the electrolyte. With all three aspects in place, the metal starts to break down.

Steel plating mitigates rust on modern cars, but it doesn’t block the process completely. Especially if you live by the ocean or drive on winter treated roads, salt speeds up the oxidation process. It’s a much stronger electrolyte than water and, once it accumulates on your undercarriage, gets into a small scratch or it’s in the air, salt goes after your car’s metal.

Factors That Increase Rusting

Your car may be more likely to experience rust damage in the following scenarios:

  • You Live Oceanside: Keeping your car outdoors all year long can exacerbate the process. The humid air has a higher salt content and regular exposure puts your vehicle at risk.
  • You Live In a Cold Climate: Going inland doesn’t always help – especially if you live in New England. Salt makes the roads more drivable, yet corrosion is a significant downside, particularly when you don’t prioritize washing your car’s undercarriage.
  • You Neglect Car Maintenance: To remove any salt, as well as tree sap and bird droppings, regularly wash your car and have it waxed at least twice a year. Furthermore, all scratches and dents should be repaired and painted over.
  • Paint or Finish Scratched: Paint and primer act as a sealant against the elements and any moisture. They offer your car reliable, protection against rust but scratches can break this barrier, especially if they go all the way down to the metal. If you notice a scratch, take your car in for a professional paint and finishing job.

At this point, what options do you have?

  • Be on the lookout. Even if you can’t see it on the surface, rust can travel underneath paint. Bubbling or flaking often means moisture and rust are right below.
  • Put a car maintenance plan in place. In New England, that means regular washings after you’ve traveled through the snow. In warmer conditions, consider using a protective lubricant or an anti-rust spray on top of your standard paint job.
  • Add a rustproof sealant. Stronger than any kit you’ll find at the auto parts store, a professional can apply this solution to the surface, undercarriage and exposed metal.

For rustproofing or rust removal, work with DaSilva’s Auto Body to address the problem before it gets worse. Call us today to learn more about our services or to make an appointment.