Car Care: Be aware that rust never sleeps

Rusty car door. Photo / Supplied
Rusty car door. Photo / Supplied

Rust can ruin a car's appearance and even turn it into a deathtrap

Rust can be the start of the road to the scrapyard, but early checks can identify problems in places such as mudguards so they can be fixed.

Rust is the car's mortal enemy and, like Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction, it often crops up when you least expect it. Failing to keep rust in check can affect your car's resale value or even make it unsafe.

Automotive rust specialist Barry Smith told Driven frequent checks should be made for rust, and it should be fixed as soon as it appears.

"People need to make sure they check their car for signs of rust themselves or have it checked by a specialist. It's a matter of knowing to keep the car maintained."

Here are some ways to prevent rust getting the better of your car.

Check and re-check
Every car has areas where rust is likely to flourish.

It is essential to prevent this by keeping an eye on high-risk spots such as footwells, boot, windscreen, doors and bonnet.

Clean the body
Wash the body of your car frequently, getting into all the hard to reach areas. Dry it thoroughly too, as water left in small areas where metal is present could lead to surface rust if not checked.

Clean the undercarriage
It is a good idea to wash the underside of your car. All sorts of nasties lodged underneath can create a breeding ground for rust. Once again don't let water build up in hard to reach places.

Check the radiator
Having the right amount of coolant and water in your radiator is important. Too much water can lead to corrosion in your cooling system, which can result in rust.

Check drain holes
Make sure the water drain holes in your car are free of obstructions. Blocked drain holes be a major cause of car doors rusting from the bottom up.

Find and fix rust patches
If you find rust has begun to take hold in a number of areas in your car, it is possible to attempt the repairs by yourself. Start by using sandpaper to cut through the paint and corrosion until the clean metal underneath is visible, You should then apply a coat of primer paint.

But if your car bodywork skills are a bit rusty, it is best that you go to your nearest panel or rust specialist.

They will be able to tell you if the rust can be repaired or if you need a new panel.

If the rust gets to the point where it spreads to other areas and holes start to appear, you may want to put the car in the garage or online.

- NZ Herald

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