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What To Do About Rust On Car – The Comprehensive Guide

Owning a car can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. It provides you with convenience, comfort, and a sense of pride. However, as with any other asset, it requires regular maintenance to keep it in top shape. One of the most common issues that car owners face is rust. Rust is a destructive force that can eat away at your car’s metal surface, causing aesthetic damage and compromising its structural integrity. In this article, we will explore what causes rust, how to prevent it, and what to do if your car already has rust.

Understanding Rust

Rust is a chemical reaction that occurs when iron, oxygen, and water combine. This chemical reaction is known as oxidation. The process starts with the formation of iron oxide which manifests as a reddish-brown flaky layer on the metal’s surface. As the process continues, the rust eats away at the metal, causing pitting, holes, and weakening the structure.

Rust is a natural phenomenon that can occur to any metal surface that is exposed to oxygen and moisture. Several factors can hasten the rusting process, including exposure to road salt, humidity, acidic pollutants, and high temperatures. Rust can invade your car’s bodywork, undercarriage, exhaust, and brake components.

Prevention is Key

Preventing rust is better than dealing with the aftermath. Here are some things you can do to prevent rust on your car.

1. Keep Your Car Clean and Dry

Washing your car regularly with soap and water is one of the simplest ways to prevent rust damage. Road salt, grime, and dirt can trap moisture that leads to rust. Be sure to rinse off any salt after driving on salted roads during winter.

2. Wax Your Car Regularly

Waxing your car acts as a protective barrier between the metal surface and the elements. It seals the paint, preventing moisture from penetrating the metal. Waxing your car every six months is recommended.

3. Fix Scratches and Chips

Scratches and chips expose the metal underneath the paint, making it vulnerable to rust. Repair any damage as soon as possible to prevent rust from setting in.

4. Rust Proof Your Car

Rust proofing involves treating your car with a protective coating that prevents rust. This process can be done during the manufacturing stage or as an aftermarket addition. It is recommended to get your car rust-proofed by professionals.

Dealing With Rust

If your car already has rust, do not panic. There are ways to fix it.

1. Sanding or Grinding

The first step in dealing with rust is to remove it. Sanding or grinding the rusted area can remove the flaky layer and reveal the underlying metal. This process is best done by professionals as it can be dangerous and requires specialized equipment.

2. Applying a Rust Converter

A rust converter is a chemical solution that converts rust into an inert substance, preventing it from spreading. It turns rust into a black, stable compound that can be painted over. This process is ideal for small rust spots.

3. Applying a Rust Inhibitor

A rust inhibitor is a chemical solution that forms a protective layer over the metal surface, preventing rust from forming. It can be used to treat areas that are prone to rusting.

4. Replacing Rusty Parts

If the rust has caused significant structural damage, replacing the rusty parts may be necessary. This process is best done by professionals as it involves removing the damaged parts and installing new ones.


Rust on your car is not something to ignore. It can lead to costly repairs and compromise your safety. Preventing rust is easier than dealing with it. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, waxing, and repairing scratches, can go a long way in preventing rust. In case your car already has rust, deal with it promptly to prevent further damage. As with any other car repair, it is recommended to seek professional help.


Can rust cause a car to fail its MOT?

Yes, rust can cause a car to fail its MOT. The MOT test checks for structural rust that can compromise the car’s safety.

Is rust repair expensive?

Rust repair costs vary depending on the extent of the damage. Small rust spots can be repaired easily, while significant structural rust may require the replacement of parts.

How often should I wash my car to prevent rust?

Washing your car regularly is recommended, especially during winter when salt is used on roads. Once a week is a good start.

Can I prevent rust on my car’s undercarriage?

Yes, you can. Rust proofing your car’s undercarriage is a crucial step in preventing rust. It involves treating the undercarriage with a protective coating that prevents rust.

Can I prevent rust on my car’s exhaust pipes?

Yes, you can. Exhaust pipes are prone to rusting due to their exposure to high temperatures and moisture. Applying a rust inhibitor can prevent rust from forming.

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