Fighting corrosion is a challenge every driver will have to face sooner or later. At the early stage you can combat corrosion yourself, especially when it comes to preventing its formation. However, when large areas of your vehicle’s body are corroded, you should let the professionals help.
Fighting corrosion at the time of purchase
As usual, prevention is better than cure. Fighting corrosion is no fun at all; the later you are forced to start it, the better, so make sure you protect your car in the first place. You can make the first step in this direction as early as at the time of purchase. It would be best to buy a new vehicle from a dealer, that’s for sure. While car manufacturers are trying to save on anti-corrosion protection, you can still expect to not be bothered by corrosion during the first 5 or 7 years of driving.
When looking for a vehicle on the secondary market, you should search the Internet and automobile magazines to find out whether your chosen model is susceptible to rust. It’s a well known fact that fighting corrosion is the everyday life of Dacia (drip moulds, doors, fuel fillers), Ford (back seat, wheel arches, doors) or (10-year-old or older) Mercedes owners. At the same time, cars manufactured by Volvo, Volkswagen and Skoda are more resistant to corrosion.
Of course, even a vehicle that is well-protected by the manufacturer can have rust problems if the owner doesn’t care for it properly. Therefore, when buying a car on the secondary market, pay special attention to checking it for the first signs of rust. You should also remember that a salvaged car equals corrosion. Not many sellers put enough effort in restoring the original level of anti-corrosion protection when removing the effects of a collision.
Everyday fight with corrosion
Regardless how susceptible to corrosion your car is, you can delay the process by taking proper care of your vehicle. Let’s start with simple things, i.e. shaking snow off your shoes before you step in the car. In winter, remember to use rubber mats instead of those made of cloth and clean them of water and mud on a regular basis. Avoid washing the car at sub-zero temperatures unless you are able to dry it well soon after. Remember not to save on waxing, too, as it’s a very useful protection against rust.
Fight corrosion on your own
If your vehicle doesn’t show first signs of corrosion yet, you can try to protect it with various car cosmetics. You should be aware that the exterior of your car requires different cosmetics than the interior. Chemicals protecting the interior of the car usually come as a spray and are applied through specific inlets, hidden under special blinds. External protection measures are applied directly to the chassis, suspension, rims or wheel arches. It’s best to use a spray gun for that.
If you observe the first signs of corrosion on your vehicle, you can still try to do something with it on your own. First of all, you should thoroughly wash and dry the car and protect the surfaces adjacent to the corroded spots in order to avoid spreading the corrosion. The next step is grinding the corroded part till the rust is gone. After that, you should degrease and thoroughly clean the surface. You can now apply a paint primer corresponding to the colour of the car’s body and, if necessary, apply a finishing coat. Once this is done, you can level the surface with sandpaper and paint it with the colour whose code can be found in the instruction manual of your vehicle.
As you can see, fighting corrosion on your own is not something everyone will want to bother doing; it will work best for those with a knack for fixing things. If you don’t feel like doing it, you should definitely use the help of specialists; improper and unprofessional maintenance of the vehicle is going to cost you money. It is very easy to e.g. clog the drainage holes that let the water out of the vehicle when trying to save the car from corrosion. Doing this would speed up rust formation rather than slow it down.
Fighting corrosion with professional help
Specialized paint and body shops offer a number of services that vary in efficiency, durability and, of course, price. For example, comprehensive anti-corrosion protection by means of spraying the oil mist formula into closed profiles will cost you between 400-500 and 1000 PLN. Such service should be repeated every 2-3 years. Rust prevention isn’t cheap but it’s still cheaper than removing the existing corrosion. For example, corrosion removal and painting the doors and fenders in a professional workshop may cost you up to 2000 PLN.