Everything About Car Rust and 4 Stages of Rust Development

Car Rust
Car Rust

Rust is a serious problem for many car owners. It does not only worsen the appearance of the vehicle and also significantly reduces the safety during movement. From the point of view of the physics and the support of the car, rust is the oxidation of the metal. But from the point of view of the car owner, rust is real trouble that it is not so easy to get rid of.

Rust mostly affects the body and the bottom of the car. If the problem is not eliminated in time, the metal can be destroyed and it may be dangerous to use that car. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about car rust.

The main reasons for car rust

During car production, the auto-makers spray protective solutions (powder, enamel, paint, and lacquer) on the car body. All of them create excellent protection against damage. But over time, microcracks can appear even on this protective coating. They are almost unnoticeable, but air and moisture penetrate the metal through them and start the corrosion process.

Additionally, the car can start to rust after accidents, if you will not update the protection on time. Even the smallest damage can contribute to the development of a large area of rusted metal. You should also know that the rust appears more actively in cold weather. The water freezes in the microcracks and expands. This can lead to significant body paint damage. 

The more cracks appear in the car paint, the more water will get there. This results in more rust. That’s why it is essential to remove rust and paint the body of your car as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

The damage of the protective layers of the car paint tends to be one of the most common reasons for the decreased safety of a car. Air, moisture, and various chemical substances interact with metal and this results in rust. The body of the car mostly consists of iron and when the protective coating is removed, the metal starts to rust.

Stages of rust development

Rust doesn’t damage that whole body of the car at once. It starts with tiny spots and then can progress and cause full damage to the car. 

1. Surface oxidation 

After damaging the protective layer, the metal becomes covered by a thin film of oxides. It is unnoticeable for the naked eye, but oxidation is the first stage of more serious damage.

2. Spots of corrosion 

Visually, it manifests itself as small specks of yellow or red color that affects only the surface of the metal. However, the chemical structure of the metal still remains intact. This means that if the rust is removed in time, there will be no consequences for the body of the car.

3. Deep corrosion

In this case, the rust affects the deep layers of metal. Make sure to cut off damaged parts and cover them with special putty to prevent further damage.

4. Complete rotting of metal

When the metal is damaged by rust, it can lead to its full disintegration. Any part of the car in this condition can’t be restored and will require a replacement.

Types of car rust

There are up to 30 types of car rust, depending on the deterioration analyzer. However, the most common of them are only two:

1. Dry corrosion

Air is a powerful oxidizer. However, you should know that freon, carbon monoxide, and other gases can also contribute to the development of rust. Dry car rust usually develops slowly since the gas has a low penetrating ability. But the problem is that the surface of the car can’t be completely dry all the time. There is always a thin moist film, which also enhances oxidization.

2. Wet corrosion

As soon as the level of moisture on the body of the car reaches 50% and above, the oxidation enters into the electrochemical phase and goes more actively than dry corrosion. The moisture absorbs the active ions of oxygen, chlorine, carbohydrates, and sulfur compounds, which interact with metal.

How to remove rust from the car

Any signs of rust should be removed as soon as possible since the corrosion tends to spread and damage any part of your car. There are two the most common ways to remove rust and save the body of your car from severe damage:

  • mechanical cleaning
  • electrochemical reduction

Before mechanical cleaning, it is essential to wash the car thoroughly and remove car paint at the corroded places. Then you should remove the rust and cover the metal with a protective coating. When the coating becomes dry, you can paint the improved area. 

The electrochemical method differs significantly from the mechanical method. With the help of electricity, the specialist removes the “extra” ions and restores the structure of the metal. Then the body of the car should be covered with zinc, primer, and paint. You can also use additional anti-oxidizing treatment of the body.

How to protect a car from corrosion

If you want to save your car, it is essential to protect it from rust constantly. You can reduce the risk of car corrosion by following the next simple steps:

  • Wash a car regularly and thoroughly (use warm water in winter)
  • After washing, dry the body of the car
  • Monitor the condition of the body of the car to prevent severe damage
  • Use anti-oxidizing coating

It is essential to remove even the smallest signs of rust. Corrosion can develop fast and you will have to spend more time and money to remove significant damage.