Keep Your Car Rust Free With a Corrosion-Fighting Car Cover
Rust is a silent killer of cars, inconspicuously creeping in, concealing its calamitous presence in the undercarriage, door frame, and internal mechanics. Understanding top car rust myths – and taking appropriate action when cleaning and storing your coupe – can help you steer clear of the worst impacts vehicle corrosion.
Before we get rolling on the myths and misconceptions about vehicle rust it’s important to explain why cars get rusty in the first place. As our car rust prevention experts can explain, rust is the electrochemical process of iron-based metals breaking down due to exposure to water (or even just moisture) and oxygen. This occurs in virtually all cars, even newer models, despite advances in outer coatings and the use of alloys as opposed to pure iron. But anything containing iron (including steel, a common component in cars) is going to rust eventually. The question is, how long can you prolong that reality? Answer: Quite a long time, if you’re cautious and using the right cleaning processes and storage tools.
Regular and thorough cleaning AND drying, as well as the use of a rust prevention car cover, can go a long way.
Most Common Car Rust Myths
- Myth No. 1: Vehicle rust is usually visible. Unfortunately, oxidation (the chemical process that causes rust) frequently occurs in the areas of a vehicle that aren’t blatantly obvious. People are often concerned about how rust will impact the look of the car, but that doesn’t typically happen until the later stages. Early signs of rust – the point at which mitigating it is most effective – often go unnoticed, particularly on the undercarriage and inner components, which are some of the most vulnerable. Once rust sets in, car owners are faced with some potentially expensive solutions for getting rid of it. It’s always better to approach with a preventative solution.
- Myth No. 2: Newer cars won’t rust. If you’re comparing cars made today to those produced decades ago, then yes, modern cars have an advantage when it comes to corrosion. (Cheap cars made in the 1970s started to rust almost as soon as they hit the docks. Owners of classic cars have to be especially careful when it comes to automobile rust prevention.) However, that doesn’t mean newer cars are immune. Many newer models on the market are manufactured with a layer of plastic around the chassis, but this is primarily to improve fuel economy and reduce wind resistance. What it won’t do is block moisture and dirt from worming their way into the undercarriage and other components. That creates a perfect environment for rust and other forms of corrosion to take hold.
- Myth No. 3: Regular car washing makes a vehicle more prone to rust. We think this misconception arose from the notion that high-pressure water and/or harsh chemical cleaners might cause damage to paint, increasing the car’s vulnerability to corrosion. The reality is that when you wash the car, you’re clearing out the dirt and other impurities that can accelerate metal corrosion over time. This is especially true in northern states during the winter months, when salt covers the roads, as a build up of salt can hasten the rust process. Because this is a particular problem with the undercarriage, be sure to wash underneath your car with either a pressure washer or in an automatic car wash. (And don’t put any type of car cover on your vehicle until it’s fully dried, as this can trap moisture inside, potentially kick-starting the rust process.)
- Myth No. 4: Car rust risk is the same no matter where you live. Although it’s true that there is the potential for rust no matter where you’re parked, the reality is there are some climates where vehicles are more vulnerable to oxidation. Exposure to moisture is a big factor. That’s why your car is more likely to develop rust in Louisiana than Nevada. An aggravating factor in the corrosion process is salt., which boosts water’s ability to carry electrons. If you live on the coast, your vehicle is going to be at higher risk of rust than someone living further inland (assuming the latter isn’t exposed to copious amounts of road salt in the winter; road de-icers are known to cause $3 billion annually in vehicle rust costs).
- Myth No. 5: Cars kept in garages or under car covers won’t rust. Garages do help protect vehicles from many of the external pollutants to which they may otherwise be exposed if parked on the driveway, street, or parking lot. But garages aren’t necessarily a shield-all. Neither are car covers, for that matter. The bigger factor is ensuring the car is both clean and dry when it goes into storage. You also want to limit the amount of moist air to which the vehicle is exposed while in storage. We recommend using a Zerust car cover – whether in a garage or elsewhere – because it not only protects against the elements, but the chemical rusting process as well.
Many factors play into how fast a car will rust, including which iron alloy components are used, the thickness of those materials, the local climate, and the degree of care one puts into cleaning and storage. Vehicle owners can slow the process considerably by washing their car regularly, drying it thoroughly and keeping it parked in a cool, dry space. Lots of car coverings will offer some degree of protection against sun, water, and dust, but only Zerust car covers with vapor corrosion inhibiting (VCI) technology effectively protect against rust and corrosion without expensive anti-rust treatments. We offer four different sizes – lined or unlined – priced between $250 and $400, each offering a full five years of active, anti-rust protection.
If you have questions about our car covers or the best size fit for your vehicle, our dedicated rust prevention specialists are available with prompt answers.
How to Prevent and Remove Rust on Your Car Like a Pro, Jan. 10, 2022, By Ben Wojdyla, Popular Mechanic
More Blog Entries:
Zerust Car Covers Help Prevent Undercarriage Rust, March 12, 2021, VCI Car Cover Rust Prevention Blog