How to Recognize Early Signs of Rust

Posted By: Main Auto Body, Inc. | November 10, 2019

Man Looks For Rust In Car

Rust has many causes, from winter road salt and accident damage to simple wear and tear. This corrosion can cause significant damage to your vehicle over time, so it’s important to catch it during the earliest stages – or prevent it altogether. Here, Main Auto Body, Inc. explains how to identify rust in cars and keep it from causing further damage.

Surface Rust

The first signs that you have a rust problem usually appear on the surface of your vehicle. While most modern vehicles feature a protective layer over the paint, often called a clear coat, this layer is susceptible to breakdown over time. One piece of flying gravel or a minor ding can compromise the integrity of the chemicals in the paint, which in turn lets oxidation occur. This is what leads to the brown, sludgy appearance of rust on the surface of the vehicle.

Keeping your car clean is the best way to prevent the formation of surface rust. You should also perform regular visual inspections to identify small spots and areas that may be prone to rust in the future. As you look over the car, run your hands along the body as well to identify dents, scratches, and other signs of damage to the clear coat. You may notice bubbling or flaking in spots where rust has begun to infiltrate. Pay close attention to areas where dirt and grime collect as well, as these are prime spots for both clear coat damage and rust. If you find any damage, contact Main Auto Body, Inc. right away. Our I-Car Gold Certified technicians can restore your vehicle’s finish and perform paintless dent repair to address dents where rust is likely to form.

Scale Rust

More serious than surface rust, the damage caused by scale rust generally runs deeper. Scale rust occurs when corrosion penetrates the vehicle’s paint and begins to erode the integrity of the body structure. It can be hard to predict how quickly scale rust will progress because no two vehicles rust at exactly the same rate. Two cars could experience scale rust at dramatically different speeds depending on many factors, including the type of steel used, specific components, the metal’s thickness, whether the car is stored inside during the winter, and your geographical location. Cars driven on salted roads in the winter are especially prone to scale rust, however, due to the highly corrosive nature of salt.

The signs of this type of rust are easy to identify, as paint deterioration revels pitting and etching on the steel itself. Look for large, exposed areas of steel where paint has mostly or fully worn away. Scale rust is often identified when drivers clean their wheel wells. This area is regularly exposed to road salt and sand, as well as rocks and other on-road debris that wear away the car’s clear coat and paint over time. In addition to frequent washing and visual inspections, repairing surface rust immediately is the best way to prevent scale rust. When you keep the vehicle’s finish intact, there are fewer opportunities for water and corrosives to damage the body’s structure.

Protect Your Vehicle

Dents and other damage make it easy for surface rust to form and turn into scale rust. To protect your car, contact Main Auto Body, Inc. and learn more about our paintless dent repair and collision repair services that stop rust before it starts. To learn more, visit one of our nine locations today.