10 Tactics to Prevent Rust and Maintain Your Cars

Categories: Tips & Tricks

Owning a car is regarded as a very significant investment. It is considered a lifetime investment for most people, and keeping them as new and long lasting is always a top priority and concern. One of the biggest challenges car owners are facing is rust formation on their vehicles. Rust can cause irreversible damage to the car body, impairing its functionality and decreasing its value.

Preventing rust formation and maintaining your car is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort. This blog post outlines the top ten tactics you can employ to prevent rust formation and maintain your car's appearance and functionality.

1. Regular Washing

Importance of Regular Washing

Whether cars are used or parked in a fixed location, it is certain that they will get dirty. Dirt, leaves, bird droppings or other environmental contaminants will make your car dirty and old. Not only that, if these substances are not removed, over time they will corrode and cause paint fading and damage to vehicle equipment. So, regular washing is instrumental in maintaining your car's appearance and preventing rust formation. The accumulation of dirt, dust, and debris can trap moisture against the car's surface, leading to corrosion and rust formation over time.

Winter Months and High Humidity

In winter, the road is often covered with thick ice. This is when people use salt to melt ice. This is a substance that can be strongly corrosive to vehicles. Salt deposits can accumulate on the vehicle's exterior, including the undercarriage, leading to the formation of rust. Besides, Winter months and high humidity can accelerate rust formation due to increased moisture levels in the environment. Therefore, it is recommended to wash your car more frequently during these times.

Washing Techniques

Washing your car sounds very easy, not very demanding. However, washing a car requires a lot of technique, it is essential to use the right techniques to ensure effective cleaning and minimize any possible damage.

The following are some tips on how to wash your car effectively to prevent rust formation:

  • Use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the paint.
  • Rinse the car thoroughly before washing to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Use a high-quality car soap to avoid stripping off the wax layer.
  • Wash one section at a time and rinse with clean water before moving on to the next section.
  • Dry the car entirely using microfiber towel to prevent water spots.

Additional Considerations

  • It would be best to avoid using household detergents or dish soap to wash your car as they may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the paint.
  • Don't ignore hidden places under the car where dirt and moisture can accumulate, such as wheel wells, undercarriage and door frames. This is the place that easily rusts and spreads the fastest.
  • Consider using a pressure washer to remove plaque caused by dirt faster. However, you should use them at the right pressure level to avoid peeling off the paint layer on the car body.
  • You should not wash your car under the sun shine, or in a location that is too hot, causing water to evaporate onto the car, this will affect the quality after washing. This can leave soap streaks or accumulate moisture in the vehicle or engine system. You should choose a cool location to wash your car.

By incorporating regular car washing into your vehicle maintenance routine, you can remove harmful contaminants, prevent rust formation, and keep your vehicle looking its best for years to come.

See also Step-By-Step Guide Washing a Car

Regular car wash is very important

2. Waxing

Purpose of Waxing

When the car is used for a long time, it will lead to conditions such as the paint layer on the car looking older, the original paint layer only resists scratches and fading for a certain period of time. Factors such as sun, rain, dirt, chemicals, tree sap, and water can cause the car to become tarnished. That's why it's important to wax your car and give it a new, more luxurious coat.

The reflection of sunlight on the car's surface through concave scratches will be uneven, making the scratches visible and losing the beauty of the car. If you continue to clean your car with towels not specifically designed for cars, or solutions with high bleaching power, the car's color will fade quickly, leading to an older car.

That's all the reason why we should wax our car periodically.

Types of Wax

There are two types of wax: natural and synthetic. Natural wax is derived from plants and provides superior shine and protection but requires more frequent applications. Synthetic waxes, such as polymer or acrylic-based waxes, are known for their durability and longevity. Synthetic wax lasts longer than natural wax and provides better protection against UV rays.

Applying Wax

The following are some tips on how to apply wax effectively:

Before polishing, you need to determine the material in the part that needs to be polished (Metal, plastic) to choose the appropriate waxing method.

  • Preparation: Before applying wax, ensure that the vehicle is clean and dry. Remove any dirt, grime, or residues from the surface by washing and drying it thoroughly.
  • Selection of Wax: Choose a high-quality wax or sealant that suits your preferences and needs. Read the product instructions for specific application guidelines.
  • Application: Use a foam or microfiber applicator pad to apply the wax in thin, even layers. Work on one section at a time, such as the hood, roof, or side panels. Follow the product instructions regarding drying time and removal techniques.
  • Removal: After the wax has dried, typically to a hazy or cloudy appearance, use a clean microfiber cloth to gently wipe off the wax residue. Use light, circular motions to achieve a smooth and polished finish.
  • Additional Protection: Some waxes may recommend applying multiple coats for enhanced protection. Follow the product instructions for best results.

Frequency of Waxing

Even if your car is an expensive model and uses high-quality paint, waxing is still a necessary requirement if you want to maintain its shiny beauty. Because under the influence of the environment such as humidity, sunlight, dust, chemicals,... all of them affect the car's paint layer.

However, car waxing is the process of removing paint defects by abrading the glossy layer. Therefore, you should only wax your car when absolutely necessary, avoid causing too much abrasion of the varnish layer, which will affect the color layer. After waxing the car, add a ceramic layer to enhance protection and keep the shine longer.

Some waxes are very suitable for car rust prevention

3. Rustproofing/Undercoating

Purpose of Rustproofing/Undercoating

Rustproofing or undercoating involves applying a protective layer to the car's undercarriage to prevent rust formation caused by road salt, moisture, and debris.

Advantages of rustproofing

Rustproofing provides competitive advantages for material appearance and structure:

  • Maintain longevity: Rustproofing protects iron and steel against environmental influences such as rainwater, oxidation... The paint layer has good adhesion and high coverage, protecting iron and steel structures right from the start. Furthermore, it is guaranteed a long service life for the iron and steel material.
  • Aesthetics: Rustproofing plays a role in ensuring the safety of the tone and structure of the iron and steel, helping the metal's appearance to always remain in a safe and attractive condition.
  • Save money: Using Rustproofing right during the construction process helps maximize the amount of money you have to pay for long-term safety and renovation. If you wait for the steel to rust before painting, it will be extremely costly in both money and time.

Rustproofing Methods

  • Electronic Rustproofing: Electronic rustproofing systems use a small electronic module that emits a weak electric current to create a protective barrier on the vehicle's metal surfaces. The electric current helps prevent rust formation by disrupting the electrochemical reaction that causes corrosion.
  • Chemical Rustproofing: Chemical rustproofing involves the application of a specialized rust-inhibiting product to the vehicle's metal surfaces. This product typically contains corrosion-resistant compounds that adhere to the metal, forming a protective coating.

Undercoating Methods

  • Rubberized Undercoating: Rubberized undercoating is a thick, rubber-based coating that is applied to the undercarriage and wheel wells of the vehicle. It provides a durable and flexible protective layer that helps shield against moisture, road debris, and salt.
  • Wax-Based Undercoating: Wax-based undercoatings are designed to penetrate the metal surfaces, providing a protective barrier against moisture and corrosive substances. They are typically self-healing, meaning that if the coating gets scratched or damaged, it can reseal itself to prevent further corrosion.

Benefits of Rustproofing/Undercoating

Rustproofing and undercoating provide several benefits, including:

  • Prevention of rust formation on the car's undercarriage.
  • Increased resale value due to better maintenance.
  • Improved sound insulation due to the added layer of protection.

Although anti-rust and primer methods are very useful for the engine system, no method is 100% effective, so it is important that you have a method to protect your vehicle from rust, corrosive to limit the use of primer method. Regular maintenance and care must still be followed, along with the other tactics mentioned previously to ensure optimal protection against rust and corrosion.

Undercoating is one of the effective methods

4. Avoid Accumulation of Moisture

Importance of Keeping the Vehicle Dry

Humidity is always the environment that forms plaque, causing rust in metal equipment systems. Almost all products on the market have instructions for storing in a dry place, avoiding moldy places and sunlight. Therefore, your car also needs to be stored in a dry place, avoiding water accumulation or high humidity. This will cause metal equipment to quickly corrode and form rust.

Methods to avoid moisture buildup

  • Covered Parking or Garage: Parking in a covered or indoor parking lot is always the best option to protect your car from the effects of environmental factors such as rain, sun, snow, and hail. Whenever possible, park in a covered area or garage. Minimizing exposure to rain and snowstorms is a way to protect your car from corrosion and rust that formed over time.
  • Waterproof Car Cover: Although a covered parking lot is the optimal method of protecting your car, not everyone has a parking lot or in some emergencies, a car cover is always the choice to replace its position. Car covers act as a protective barrier between the car and the outside environment. Look for a high-quality, waterproof cover that fits your vehicle. Make sure the lid is securely fastened to prevent moisture from seeping in and creating a humid environment.
  • Regularly Check and Remove Moisture: Whether you park your car in a garage or use a waterproof cover, you should regularly inspect and remove any wet areas in your car immediately. Because we don't know if rainwater or moisture can condense at any time or in some way that we don't see. Use a soft towel or dryer to remove damp areas, and you can also open the windows or air conditioner to make the car more ventilated.
Avoid accumulating of moisture for the car

5. Promptly Repair Scratches and Chips

When you discover areas with moisture accumulation, the first thing to do is clean and dry them. Then the next step is to find the reason and cause of moisture in that area. This is important to prevent rust and maintain the integrity of your vehicle. If not investigated and repaired promptly, after drying the damp areas, they will continue to become damp again soon after, which is an ideal environment for mold and rust to grow.

Usually, water and moisture accumulate in the car because there is some cracking or peeling or scratches at that position. By promptly addressing scratches, chips and dents, you will eliminate entry points for moisture and contaminants, reducing the risk of rust forming.

After discovering the causing location, depending on the condition of the problem, you can fix it at home if the location is not too bad, on the contrary, if the condition is very bad, take your car to a service center to be checked and processed.

While it's important to repair scratches and chips, it's equally important to prevent them in the first place. Avoiding situations that could cause damage, such as parking too close to other vehicles or objects, using protective films or shields, car covers and practicing safe driving habits, can help reduce the risk paint damage.

Quickly repair car scratches

6. Maintain a Clean Interior

Keeping the interior of the car clean helps the car stay in new condition and free of pollution. Even just a piece of cake or a drop of coffee can have unpredictable consequences. A crumb that falls if we don't clean it up will form mold and an unpleasant smell. Coffee or milk drops can cause moisture and this is an opportunity for mold and rust to form without any cracking. Therefore, cleaning the interior of the car is extremely necessary. This not only helps your car look neat and clean, but also gives you the opportunity to check for damages that need to be repaired.

In case the car owner also has a pet, the pet's urine, vomit, or saliva are also a big danger to the car's interior. Therefore, paying attention to your car and carefully observing every corner of the car are also a way to keep your car in good condition.

Always keep the car interior clean

7. Check and Clean Drainage Points

Checking and cleaning drain points is an important maintenance task that prevents water buildup and subsequent rust formation in hidden areas of your vehicle.

Drain points, also known as drain holes or drainage channels, are designed to allow water to flow away from specific areas of your vehicle. Common drainage points include sunroof drains, door drains, and the area under the windshield wipers. These drainage systems are important to prevent water buildup and ensure water is directed away from sensitive parts.

Over time, debris such as leaves, dirt, twigs and other particles can accumulate in the drain points, causing them to become clogged. When this happens, water cannot flow freely and can accumulate in areas not designed to handle excessive moisture. Trapped water can lead to rust forming and potentially damage the affected areas.

Inspection and cleaning procedures

  • Sunroof drain: Check your vehicle's owner's manual to determine the sunroof drain location. Typically, these drains are found in the corners of the sunroof opening. Gently inspect and remove any visible debris with a soft brush or compressed air. If the drain is completely clogged, you may need to use a thin, flexible wire or a specialized drain unclogging tool to unclog it.
  • Door drainage pipe: Door drainage pipe is usually located below the door frame. Open each door and visually inspect the drainage area. Use a small brush or compressed air to remove dirt or debris that could clog the drain holes. Be careful not to push debris deeper into the drain.
  • Windshield wiper area: Lift the windshield wiper blade and inspect the area underneath. Clear away any debris that may have accumulated as it could clog the drainage channels. You can use a soft brush or compressed air to effectively remove residue.

Related 3 Steps To Fix Water In Cars

Checking and cleaning drainage points is a good solution

8. Rust Inspection

Rust is a sign that your car has been affected by external environmental conditions. It is a fact that rust can corrode and spread. Therefore, detecting rust early is also a way to overcome the consequences and limit damage to your car.

Rust often forms in hidden or hard-to-reach areas of the vehicle, such as the undercarriage, wheel wells, joints and seams. These areas are more susceptible to rust due to exposure to moisture, road salt, and other corrosive substances. Regular inspection helps detect any rust that may have developed in these hidden areas.

Taking Action

If you notice any signs of rust during the inspection, it's important to take appropriate action to address the issue promptly. Depending on the severity of the rust, you may consider:

  • Surface rust: Light surface rust can often be addressed by using rust converters or inhibitors to stop the rusting process and protect the affected area.
  • Deep rust: If the rust has penetrated deeply or caused significant damage, professional assistance may be required. A professional automotive body shop can provide the necessary repairs, such as sanding, patching, and repainting the affected areas.
Check and detect rust hazards early

9. Fluid and Lubrication Maintenance

Fluid maintenance and lubrication is an essential aspect of vehicle care, contributing to rust prevention and overall vehicle health. Therefore, the manufacturer always recommends that car buyers go to a warranty center periodically according to regulations to be checked for lubricants, fluids, oils and locations showing signs of rust.

There are many cases where vehicle users cannot understand and recognize signs of impending failure, but instead, only from many years of experience, engineers at the center be able to recognize and fix them.

Oil Changes

Regular oil changes are vital for maintaining the health of your engine. Engine oil not only lubricates moving parts but Regular oil changes are vital for maintaining the health of your engine. Engine oil not only lubricates moving parts but also acts as a protective barrier against rust and corrosion. Over time, engine oil breaks down, loses its effectiveness, and can become contaminated with debris and moisture. Changing the oil and oil filter at the recommended intervals ensures that fresh, clean oil is circulating in the engine, reducing the risk of rust formation and maintaining optimal engine performance, also acts as a protective barrier against rust and corrosion. Over time, engine oil breaks down, loses its effectiveness, and can become contaminated with debris and moisture. Changing the oil and oil filter at the recommended intervals ensures that fresh, clean oil is circulating in the engine, reducing the risk of rust formation and maintaining optimal engine performance.

Fluid Flushes

In addition to oil changes, other fluids in your vehicle, such as coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid, should be regularly checked and flushed as recommended by the manufacturer. Over time, these fluids can become contaminated, lose their effectiveness, and potentially contribute to rust or corrosion if not properly maintained. Flushing and replacing these fluids at the recommended intervals help maintain their protective properties and prevent rust-related issues.

Lubrication of Moving Parts

Various components of your vehicle require lubrication to function smoothly and prevent rust. These components include door hinges, locks, suspension components, and other moving parts. Applying lubricants, such as silicone or graphite-based lubricants, as recommended by the manufacturer, helps reduce friction, prevent corrosion, and extend the lifespan of these parts.

Your machine need regular lubrication

10. Avoid Driving in Harsh Conditions

This may sound unreasonable because cars are there to protect from the sun and rain when traveling on the road, but in fact it makes a lot of sense. You can absolutely use your car under any weather conditions, but in cases where it is not necessary to go out in the rain, storm, or snow, you can delay to limit the effects. negative environmental effects on your car.

Avoiding driving in harsh conditions and taking proper care after driving in such conditions is an effective tactic to prevent rust formation on your vehicle.

Harsh conditions like heavy rain, snowstorms, and heavily salted roads expose your vehicle to corrosive elements. Water, especially when mixed with road salt or other chemicals, can accelerate the rusting process on your vehicle's metal surfaces. Driving in these conditions increases the likelihood of moisture and corrosive substances coming into contact with your vehicle, leading to rust formation.

Restrict driving in extreme weather when it is not necessary


In general, protecting a vehicle from harmful agents depends on many different factors. Preventing rust formation on your car and maintaining its appearance and functionality requires consistent effort. Employing the top ten tactics outlined in this blog post, including regular washing, waxing, rustproofing, and prompt repair of scratches and chips, avoid harsh conditions, and maintaining a clean interior further reduce the risk of rust formation. Checking drainage points, conducting rust inspections, and following recommended fluid changes and lubrication help detect and address rust early on. These tactics, when combined, ensure that your vehicle remains rust-free and in optimal shape for years to come, saving you from costly repairs and preserving its value.



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Lucas Gream