Prevent rust from building up on your car

September 9, 2013 12:00 AM

Caring for the exterior of your car can be just as important as maintaining the gear under the hood. That is especially true when you are trying to avoid rust, which many consider to be one of the death knells of a vehicle. Not only does rust build-up create an eyesore, it also can impact the performance and efficiency of an automobile, and as such drivers who want to extend the life of their car will look for ways to prevent rusting from occurring. 

Rust forms when a chemical reaction takes place between metal and water. The end result is a corrosive material that eats away at a vehicle frame that can negatively affect driving performance and decrease the value of a car, Yahoo reported. 

Watch the paint job
Rust can form on any surface that is not protected by a coat of paint, and that includes smaller areas where nicks or scratches may have chipped away the exterior. That's why it's a good idea to frequently examine the undercarriage of a car. This area is susceptible to scrapes due to gravel or obstacles on the roads, and any damage could lead to rusting. Instead of letting the problem go unchecked, regularly clean any scrapes and use touch-up paint to protect the area from further destruction. If you aren't comfortable with this, consider taking the vehicle to an auto repair franchise and have a professional help out. 

Another important thing drivers can do to protect their vehicles is to get in the habit of frequently washing and waxing cars. Cleaning the surface can get rid of salt and other harmful materials while also allowing you to spot nicks in the paint. Waxing the exterior can then seal the area and prevent liquid from becoming absorbed into any scrapes. 

Take care in winter
With the cooler months rapidly approaching, many drivers are taking steps to prepare their vehicles for icy roads, cold temperatures and heavy snows. However, motorists also need to be aware that the inclement weather can create a prime environment for rust. Salt speeds up the process, and the large amounts vehicle trudge through during the winter can harm automobiles. CarsDirect reported that salt can carry liquid into tiny cracks in the vehicle's surface, where oxidation then leads to rust.

To prevent the salt from doing major damage, make sure you are sticking with your scheduled maintenance, especially with regards to washing the car. Letting the salt residue stay on the automobile for more than one or two weeks can lead to rusting, so it is essential to clean this build-up off throughout the season.

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