Whether you’re looking to keep your brand new car in shape for years to come or you’re hoping to make an old or used car last a bit longer, it’s important to protect your car from rust. Even though it’s impossible to keep a car that is being actively used completely rust-free, there are still some things you can do to slow down the natural deterioration that comes with time. Here, we’ll go over five basic tips to help keep your car in good shape.

1. Watch Where You Park

Did you know that where you park can affect how rusty your car gets? For example, do you find yourself ever parking on these types of surfaces?
  • Grass
  • Dirt
  • Snow
  • Puddled Areas
If you park on these surface types, your car will be more vulnerable to rust. Instead of parking on the grass or dirt, park on the street if you need to or invest in driveway improvements. Here in Utah, our winters bring snow, so making sure your vehicle is properly covered or isn’t just sitting in the snow is important. We understand that not everyone has a garage or enough garage space and if this is the case for you, consider getting a carport. While some carports may cost a few thousand dollars, there are some more affordable options that cost only a few hundred dollars.

As for puddled areas, do you find yourself always parking in a puddle? Perhaps this can be due to a favorite parking spot at work that happens to attract puddles. In this case, changing where you park would be a good idea. If the puddles are consistently happening at home, look into options to help redirect water away from your vehicle. If you live in an apartment, talk to your management about seeing what can be done to help with that. We see your mind spinning with dollar signs, and you’re right.

Preventative investments to improve your parking conditions may cost money, but is it worth avoiding the cost of repairs you may need to make later down the road? Here are just some of the parts you just might find yourself having to replace due to bad parking conditions:
  • Brake Rotors
  • Exhaust Systems
  • Suspension Control Arms
  • Fuel Tank
See, it’s worth it. Your car and your future bank account will thank you for it!

2. Clean Your Vehicle Thoroughly

Did you know that mud and gunk can collect underneath your vehicle? This creates a moisture trap which can therefore breed rust. When performing routine car washing, you may want to jack your vehicle up to help give you more clearance when cleaning the underbelly. While washing, you can use a hose or pressure washer along with a stiff brush. When using a jack, be sure to have a spotter on standby as well as make sure that all necessary jack supports are in their proper position.

Do you use a car wash? Many car wash services offer undercarriage cleaning, so be sure to either choose a plan that includes this feature or invest in it as an add-on service every now and then. This is especially important during rainy seasons but especially snowy seasons as your vehicle may pick up ice melt from the roads.

3. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full

Did you know that your fuel tank and its parts can attract damaging moisture? This is because of the condensation that occurs both internally and externally. Internal condensation occurs when there is a major difference between the liquid fuel and outside air temperatures. This is especially concerning during humid months.

While you may think of humidity existing more so in hotter months, our winter months are typically our most humid months in Utah. For example, December is usually our most humid month and July is our least humid month. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure your car’s fuel tank is full as often as possible during the winter and wet seasons. This way, you’ll be able to reduce the condensation effect as well as the opportunity for rust to occur. Should rust come about, you may find yourself needing to replace certain interior pieces that could cost between $300 and $1,500 (parts alone, not including labor).

4. Blow Your Tank Clean

Now, this is something you’ve probably never thought of doing. However, it’s important to either do it yourself or make sure that it gets done at some point during your regular car maintenance. If your vehicle has a large fuel tank (such as with a truck or SUV), dirt and grime may be collecting on the top of the tank—forming a breeding ground for moisture and eventual rust. This can then damage the fuel pump module. Getting your tank blown out professionally can be pricey, but there are safe DIY methods. For example, one method involves going to the top of the tank as it’s mounted and spraying compressed air to help dislodge debris. While doing this, be sure to use safety goggles!

5. Use Rust Inhibitor Sprays

Although you could have a professional auto shop rustproof your vehicle for you, there are various different rust inhibitors you can purchase from most auto parts stores if you choose to go about it DIY style. Some come in aerosol spray cans and others might come in paint can-like containers. Here are some of the top inhibitors for you to consider:
  • POR-15 45404 Rust Preventive Coating
  • Fluid Film
  • Boeshield T-9 Rust & Corrosion Protection/Inhibitor and Waterproof Lubrication
  • Rust-Oleum, Black, 248658 Rust Reformer Spray
If you choose to apply a rust inhibitor yourself, make sure that it doesn’t get on these areas:
  • Brake Rotors
  • Drums
  • Linings
  • Calipers
  • Hot Surfaces
  • Electrical Wiring and Connectors
Plan on doing annual touchups, and it might be wise to do this during the fall so that your car is fully armored to take on all of the hits that come with the rain and snow of the upcoming wet season.

Get a Rust-Free Used Vehicle Today!

Looking to buy a new car? We know how important it is for you to buy something that will last you and has minimal wear and tear. While we have many options available on our lot, you’ll be sure to find something that is right for you that is clean and has yet to show signs of rust. Come, check out our inventory today or give us a call at 801-904-2809 to ask any questions you may have.