6 Ways to Prevent and Remove Car Corrosion

Front of a green Dodge car.

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Owning a car feels like parenthood for motor enthusiasts — you put in a lot of time and effort to ensure your vehicles run smoothly with every bit of horsepower possible. But one part of maintenance you should pay close attention to is car corrosion.

Some people call it the silent killer, which is apt because rust can do significant damage. To protect your car, use these six methods for corrosion prevention and removal.

1. Wash the Car

One of the best ways to prevent rust on your vehicle is to wash it regularly. You probably do this already, but a regular wash goes a long way in protecting your car from oxidizing. If your vehicle runs through dirt, that can contribute to your car’s coating wearing down, inviting rust to invade. Use soap designed for cash washes because it will be gentler on your vehicle.

You should also remember to wash the undercarriage of your car. Some owners may forget to clean this part of the vehicle, but it’s arguably the most critical area to care for. Your car’s undercarriage has drainage holes that can clog because of dirt and debris from the road. Rocks can chip away at the coating, leaving the metal vulnerable to rust. A thorough cleaning will help keep your car pristine and contribute to corrosion prevention.

2. Beware of Salt

Among the most significant contributors to your undercarriage rusting is salt. There are a couple of scenarios where you may encounter salt with your vehicle — both can cause damage over time. The first instance occurs more often if you live in a cold-weather area. Many cities put salt on the roads to help the streets during frigid conditions. The salt will help melt the ice because it lowers the freezing temperature of the water.

Another area you may encounter salt with your vehicle is if you live in a coastal area. The salty air from the beach may bring an inviting feeling, but you won’t welcome the salt when it gets into your car. Salt from the ocean or the roads can be detrimental to your vehicle. When water, salt and air combine, a chemical reaction occurs and can damage metals. Corrosion prevention is more challenging in these locations.

3. Clean the Interior

You may overlook it for rust prevention, but your interior can be a crucial part of corrosion prevention. Accidents happen and you may encounter moisture on the seats from spills. If you see liquid in your interior, there’s a decent chance it will end up on the vehicle’s exterior if you don’t clean it up.

4. Keep the Car Sheltered

The elements can be hard to avoid. No matter what time of year, your vehicle is susceptible to some weather events, whether it’s hurricanes, blizzards, heat waves and more. One way to help your car avoid extreme weather conditions is to store it in a garage. You may have a garage at home or other storage options like a portable garage. If none of these is possible, use a cover for your vehicle.

If you have a garage, you should take precautions to ensure it’s suitable for any car you store. It’s essential to keep the facility climate-controlled so it’s a comfortable temperature all year. You can achieve this by cleaning the garage, weatherstripping the door, sealing air gaps and adding insulation to the walls.

5. Get Anti-Rust Spray

Cars from the last century seem to rust faster than vehicles from the 21st century. Manufacturers these days galvanize the steel to protect the metal. Dipping the steel in zinc gives the metal extra protection to prevent rusting underneath.

Rust prevention tactics — whether from you or the manufacturer — will help significantly, but you may still run into problems. If you do, the best tactic is to tackle the rust immediately using an anti-rust spray. This spray is effective because it’s an inexpensive option you can do yourself, saving a trip to the mechanic.

6. Wash Away Rust With Soda

It may seem made up, but Coca-Cola is actually very effective at removing rust from vehicles. The beverage contains citric and phosphoric acid, which help remove stains and break down oxidation. Coke’s carbonation also helps dissolve rust.

If you need to remove corrosion from your car, just grab a can of Diet Coke, leaving it open for a little while so it gets slightly flat. Then, apply the soda and use a sponge or aluminum foil to scrub the rust away. Finish off the job with some soap and water to get rid of the residue.

Corrosion Prevention and Removal Made Easy

No matter where you live, avoiding rust in your vehicle is a challenging feat. Newer cars can withstand it better, but even the slightest corrosion can start the rust buildup. If untreated, it could spread and cause significant damage to your vehicle. Use these six tips for corrosion prevention and removal on your car.

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