There’s a reason they call rust “car cancer”: Like cancer, rust can spread quickly, and also like cancer, it can lead to serious problems with the overall function. Rustproofing, then, is an essential part of car care and maintenance. Unfortunately, it’s also an expensive part if you have it done commercially. Plus, many shops just cover large, exposed areas, leaving many nooks and crannies unprotected. As the saying goes, if you want the job done right, it’s best to do it yourself.
DIY Rust Proofing Kits or Supplies
Everything you need to rustproof your car can be purchased at local hardware stores, auto parts stores or car dealerships. Rustproofing kits are available for just about every make and model of vehicle and provide everything you need in one neat package. However, if you have more than one car, most of the products can be used on both, so buying them separately will reduce your car care costs and eliminate duplication.
Supplies needed for rustproofing are:
• Touch-up paint
• Paintbrush (one brush per color)
• Medium-grit sandpaper
• Car cleaning materials (chamois, warm water, cleanser)
• Rustproofing liquid
• Compressor & sprayer
• Face mask and safety goggles
DIY Rust Proofing Step by Step
While the particular steps may vary by vehicle type, the general process for rustproofing is:
1) Inspect car for scratches and nicks
2) Remove any rust with medium-grit sandpaper
3) Cover scratches and nicks with touch-up paint
4) Clean the car to remove any road grime, oil and grease (skip this step if car fairly clean)
5) Use compressor and sprayer to apply rustproofing liquid to interior panels (through factory openings like vents), topside (trunk, hood) and undercarriage of car; wear face mask and safety goggles for protection
6) Wipe away any excess or overspray with a clean, dry, soft rag
7) Clean the car (skip this step if performed step 4)
Maintaining Rust Proofing
Of course, even the best rust proofing job will be for naught if you don’t properly maintain it. Administering regular car washes after driving particularly salty streets is one method of maintaining your rustproofing job. Making a habit of checking regularly for scratches and nicks, especially on edges where paint may be scraped away more easily (such as along the bottom or side edges of doors) is another way to prolong your work. The sooner you can touch up breaks in the paint, the less likely rust will develop.