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Rust Proofing: A small investment with long term rewards

Rust Proofing
Photo: iStockphoto

We’ve talked about several vehicle maintenance items, most referring to the mechanics of your car – but what about the body?  If you are going to take the time to perform regular mechanical maintenance on your vehicle in order to prolong the life of your vehicle – than why should the body get any lesser treatment? Rust is a bad four letter word in my vocabulary and it should be in yours too!

I recently purchased my first new vehicle. Having always had older, used vehicles this was the first time that I was confronted with making the decision about rust proofing my car. As I glanced over at my old truck that I’d had for 10 years, eaten away by rust, I thought to myself, “Yeah, maybe rust proofing is a good idea this time around”.   If you’re like me and you keep your vehicles for longer than a 3 year lease cycle, then you probably should think about making the small investment into rust proofing your vehicle annually. 

First, let’s give a high level summary on how rust forms on your vehicle. Typically rust will begin to form on your car as early as 3-4 years. The paint and primer used by manufacturers does yield some protection from rust, however dirt and debris from the road can chip the paint, leaving the bare metal exposed – which allows for rust to form when it comes in contact with water and / or salt. Salt makes it much easier for rust to form on a vehicle and given our Canadian winters, it makes rust proofing that much more important to prevent rust on your vehicle.  You can learn more about how rust forms on HowStuffWorks.com.

So how does rust proofing work?
There are many types of rust proofing products, but they all perform fairly the same way – they act as an additional seal of protection, on top of your vehicle’s paint.

When is the best time?
There are mixed opinions on whether spring or fall is the best time.  An article in Auto123.com says that spring is better than fall because “The mild-to-warm temperatures will allow the products to better penetrate the treated areas.”   Also, given that your vehicle is usually dredged with salt over the winter and the fact that we know salt helps rust in forming on your vehicle.  Getting your vehicle rust proofed in the spring will ensure that all the salt is cleaned off thoroughly and that there won’t be any remnants of it over the summer.

Is it worth it?
Choosing to rust proof your vehicle annually, every couple years, or even at all is really a decision that varies with you as a vehicle owner.  Think about how long you intend to keep your vehicle – if it’s longer than 3-4 years, it may be worth doing some investigating. Here is a good article from Moneysense.ca, answering the question, “Is Rust Proofing Worth the Cost”.

We’d love to hear your opinions! Do you rust proof your vehicle?

- Julie S.

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