What are the Main Reasons Cars Rust and What You Can do About it

Causes and prevention of rust on cars


A vehicle is one of the largest investments most of us will make in our lifetime, second to our home. This is why it’s only natural you’d want to protect your vehicle so you can get the most out of your investment for years to come.

One of the main things you need to protect your vehicle from is rust. Therefore, it’s important to understand why a car rusts and how you can keep your car from rusting faster than necessary, or even at all.


how to prevent rust on a car

What causes rust?

The corrosion of metals, that happen under certain conditions is the reason vehicles rust. Usually, rust, or more specifically, the corrosion of metal, happens when the metal is exposed to iron, oxygen or water.

The chemical reaction between the metal and iron, oxygen or water will break down the metal causing the appearance of rust, also known as oxidation.

The most common cause of rust on vehicles, happens when the metal is exposed to moisture. However, rust is not as big a concern as it was decades ago. Although, rust is still a major issue, but most newer cars are coated with rust deterrents focused on preventing rust, or at least slow it down considerably.

But over time or in situations where the likelihood of exposure is higher than average, rust still occurs, even on newer cars. This is why it’s important to be aware of the conditions that foster the rusting process and understand why rusting occurs in the first place.

With this knowledge you will be able to help slow down, or even prevent, rust from appearing on your vehicle.


Why vehicles rust faster by the ocean

Usually, people who live by the ocean will notice their vehicles rust faster than it would if they lived further inland. Even though we know that water triggers rusting in vehicles, people who live by the ocean will notice that their cars rust at a faster rate than people who don’t live anywhere near the ocean.

The reason for this increase in rusting isn’t only due to the amount of moisture in the air, but also the salt in the air due to the salt in the ocean. Water and salt are a bad combination when it comes to your vehicle’s finish.

Therefore, it’s the combination of moisture and salt that speed up the rusting (oxidation) process, making vehicles, close to the ocean, rust faster and more severe.


How can you protect your car from rust, especially near the seaside?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent the rusting process of your vehicle, especially if you live near the sea. However, you may be able to slow the process down.

As I previously pointed out, most newer vehicles already have a preventive coating intended to slow down the rusting process. However, there other preventative measures a car owner can do to help slow down the rusting process.

These preventative measures include:

  • Frequent washing
  • Professional rust-proofing
  • Waxing your vehicle regularly
  • Seal scratches and dents immediately



It’s recommended that you wash your vehicle at least every two weeks, especially when you live in high moisture areas or near the sea. This will help keep the salt and moisture from starting the rusting process. Make sure you rinse out the undercarriage, wheel wells and anywhere water and salt can collect.



Also, take your car to a professional to have a rustproofing and sealant applied. This will go a long way to combatting rust before it has a chance to take hold. A trusted professional will make sure that all of the nooks and crannies, where salt can collect, is efficiently and effectively coated and treated.

Your vehicle is one of your most expensive investments and you need it to serve your needs for several years. If you take care of it, it will, and tackling rust before it becomes and uncontrollable issue is a good place to start.


This content is provided by Car Care Australia. Car Care Australia is mobile detailing company providing car detailing services in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Norther Territory and Tasmania.

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