How to Stop Rust

don't let your pride and joy be ruined by rust

How to Stop Rust

We all hate rust - and with good reason. Even the smallest area can not only ruin the appearance of an otherwise perfect car, it can also spread! Once there, rust can be very difficult to get rid of completely and so prevention is always better than cure.

There are many rust converters and neutralizers available on the market, but their effectiveness depends on having access to the entire area of rust - a difficult task if your car starting to rust in a hard to get at place.

So, again rust prevention is the best approach. The only problem of course is that you need to start with a rust free (or at the very least almost rust free!) car.

If you a restoring a car, take the opportunity to put a good coat of paint (such as hammerite) in those normally inaccessible areas, providing extra protection against future rusting. Correctly sealing the seams of welds will help prevent rust at the edges of your new metal and when painting your restoration project start with a good zinc primer to coat any bare metal. This covers the new metal in a rust proof 'jacket' and will keep your car alive and well for many years to come.

Products

Neutralizers and converters

Designed to treat rust, these products work by converting the top surface of the rust into a protective layer of 'organic' iron compound. Great in theory since they effectively seal the rust area from the elements, preventing oxygen and water from reacting with the metal underneath. However, the problem with this is that it traps the existing rust between this new top layer and the 'healthy' metal underneath. If the rusty area was not completely dry on application then the existing rust will spread from underneath the neutralizer.

Also it is often difficult to successfully treat the entire surface of the rust, as it is easy to miss the pits and other awkward surface features commonly found on rusted metal. Unfortunately, missing just the smallest area when treating rust with one of these products renders the whole operation pointless.

Prevention

Fortunately, there are a multitude of products that can offer preventative protection against rust, from oils and waxes to fluids and coatings. Your choice of product really comes down to personal preference.

Whichever method of prevention you choose, the main areas that will need your attention are the underbody, wheel arches, sills, inside of doors, leading edge of the bonnet and any other cavities you can find.

Keep a Look Out

Remember to keep checking for the first signs of rust, it's always easier to treat if caught early.

« Back to Articles