Should you rust-proof your car? This age-old question has no black and white answer. If you have ever been to a car dealership, rust-proofing is available as an addon. But is rust-proofing worth it? And how much should you spend on protecting your car against rust? Read on to find out the answers to these deceptively simple questions.
Does Your Car Need Rust-Proofing?
Rust is every car enthusiast’s worst nightmare. The mere mention of the word can cause the value of your vehicle to plummet in the eyes of a potential buyer. This is why when a salesperson offers rust protection as a service, unsuspecting buyers take the bait and end up spending a lot for rust-proofing. Yes, rust-proofing actually works.
However, while some methods are effective, other methods are straight-up scams. The key to avoiding being scammed is knowing if your vehicle needs rust treatment at all and whether you’re getting a fair price or not. If you plan on keeping your car for a long time, you should look into rust-proofing your vehicle, especially if it’s old.
The need for rust protection also depends on your location. If you usually travel around California, your car probably does not require rust protection. On the other hand, the changing weather, gravelly roads, salt, and snow of Canada can quickly tear through your car’s protected chassis.
Is Rust-Proofing Your Car Worth It?
If you buy a new vehicle and plan on only keeping it for a couple of years, you don’t need to worry about rust. Modern vehicles are often built using galvanized metal which is very resistant to corrosion. Keep in mind that many car manufacturers offer anti-rust solutions as after-market services. However, if you don’t switch vehicles often, you may need to spend additional money on rust protection coatings.
Types of Rust Protection
Electronic modules are a very controversial method of keeping your car safe from rust. Supposedly, these modules send a weak charge through your car’s metal frame, disrupting the chemical process that causes rust to build up.
However, an overwhelming majority of car owners claim that these electronic systems do not work at all. There is no conclusive evidence backing up the effectiveness of these addons.
We recommend you play it safe and avoid these at all costs because the effectiveness of these modules is iffy at best and because of the hefty price tag. Would you pay $200 or above for something that barely works?
Tar-based sprays are pretty straightforward: They cover your car’s exposed areas with a layer that hardens, protecting it against the elements. These sprays are cost around $150 per vehicle. Dealerships often provide tar-based sprays as an upgrade option.
The procedure involves coating exposed parts of a car, such as the underbody, wheels, fuel lines etc., with a layer of the spray. This forms rigid protection over these parts, preventing rust.
However, this is not a perfect solution. Over time, this layer can crack and break, risking corrosion. This is why many dealerships recommend reapplying the spray every year after inspection.
Dripless Oil Spray
The dripless oil spray works just like the tar-based spray. You spray it over exposed parts, and it hardens, creating a waxy shield for your car. However, additional steps are involved if you opt for this rust protection, such as drilling holes in the car frame for maximum coverage. Make sure you get this done by a professional, so the holes are not easily visible.
Best Rust-Proofing Service Providers in the US
Rust protection can cost anywhere between $500 to $1000. The cost varies depending on the type of rust-proofing you go for and where you get it from. Choosing the right service provider is very important. Ideally, you should go for reputable car workshops. Here are our top picks for the best rust protection service providers in the US.
Ziebart is an industry leader in the vehicle care industry with over 60 years of presence. They offer both tar-based and dripless oil sprays. Ziebart recommends bringing your car in for yearly inspections to check for cracks in the spray coating.
Krown is a Canadian auto-care provider and has a product called drip spray. Just like the name suggests, it’s the messier version of the dripless oil spray and may stain your garage floor if you apply it yourself. However, drip oil seeps into every nook and cranny due to its liquid-like consistency.
With 55 years of reliability under its belt, Waxoyl USA protects your vehicle from corrosion using Hardwax for the underbody and cavity wax for those hard-to-reach areas inside your car’s body. Waxoyl claims its products stop corrosion in its tracks.
Common Car Rust Misconceptions
Let’s go over a few things a lot of people get wrong about rust in cars.
- New cars do not rust at all.
It all depends on the environment in which you use your vehicle. New cars are very resistant to corrosion. However, moisture is a bane for any car if it seeps inside the protective layers.
- Your car is beyond saving once rust appears.
There are ways to slow down or even halt rust from spreading if you get your car treated for rust on time. You can grind away small patches of rust, but if a large part of your car’s chassis is covered is rusted, it may be very difficult to undo the damage.
- Rust-proofing is required annually.
Many dealerships recommend getting your car rust-proofed every year. However, properly applied protection lasts for years, depending on where you drive your car. You are better off getting your car inspected every year and, if needed, get your car protected against rust again.
Rust-proofing methods such as the electronic modules are borderline scams, but oil spray coatings are very effective. Unchecked rust can put holes in your car’s body as well as your wallet. So, If you have an older car and want to keep it for many years, make sure to rust-proof it. However, only do that at a reasonable price!