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You would be surprised to see how many things are susceptible to rust! Jewelry, bridges, and statues are just a few that touch upon how widespread rust can be. In this blog, we will touch upon how rust affects your car and how you can prevent it to keep your car running in tip-top shape.

How Does My Car Get Rusty?

More often than not, your car is exposed more to the elements of the great outdoors instead of being protected in a garage. Rain or shine, your car can be subjected to a handful of factors that can cause rust, or even speed up the process of rusting.

  • Winter Is Coming: When cold and icy weather starts settling in, road crews prep the area by distributing salt on major roadways. Although road salt is essential for safe driving on icy and wet roads, it’s actually extremely corrosive to your car. The chemical reaction between the mixture of road salt and water can cause rust to form in the underbelly of your car. Even worse — road salt specifically manufactured to keep the roads safe can actually speed up the rusting process of your car!
  • Beachy Not-So-Keen: If you live in a warmer climate like Hawaii, you would think your car isn’t susceptible to corrosion from road salt, right? Although that’s true, your car is in fact still susceptible to corrosion! According to a blog from Allstate, blowing salt water from beachy shores can get in the nooks and crannies of your car, leading to rust formation. But if you live about 10 to 20 miles away from the sparkling shores, your car won’t be as affected as much.
  • Oh So Humid: Areas with high humidity, like the swampy South, can encourage rust growth on your car because of the amount of moisture in the air. Since a large percentage of the air water, nightly condensation often appears on all surfaces, ranging from wooden decks to car hoods made of steel. This is called atmospheric corrosion.
  • Rain, Rain, Go Away: By far, the easiest way for a car to get rusty is exposure to rain. Cars that are frequently left outside in rain storms will deteriorate rapidly. For particularly rainy areas like Washington state, it’s best to park your car in a garage at all times if you can!
How Can I Prevent Rust on My Car?
  • Keep Your Car in a Garage: The easiest way to ward off rust is to keep your car protected in a garage. If you don’t have one, invest in a car cover to protect it from the elements.
  • Wash Your Car Regularly: A simple drive through a car wash can keep your car clean with ease. However, you do want to pay particular attention to your car during periods of bad weather, and get it cleaned more often. You might also want to get a deeper clean by doing it yourself and scrubbing the wheels and underside of the car.
  • Apply a Rust Proofer To Your Car: What better way to prevent rust on your car then covering it with a protective coating in the first place? There are a wide variety of rust proofers out there that will keep this problem at bay.

Robert “Bob” Heidersbach is the author of Metallurgy and Corrosion Control in Oil and Gas Production. The book is based on Robert’s experience teaching new engineers that need to understand metallurgy and corrosion control in the oil industry. He is currently in the process of rewriting and updating the publication, and welcomes any suggestions about how to improve the book. In his spare time, Bob enjoys kayaking, biking and traveling.