Alternatives to Undercoating a Vehicle

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    • Rust continuously eats away at the metal on your vehiclerust image by sasha from Fotolia.com

      Rust poses a threat to the value of your vehicle. If you live near the coast, the salt water mist condenses on your vehicle, and slowly allows rust to eat away at the metal. Road salt also builds up on the undercarriage of your vehicle, and erodes the metal little by little. The rust attacks the body, floorboards, frame, and fuel and brake lines, and can cause major damage over time. Traditionally installers have applied undercoating, which is a heavy, thick, rubber-like coating to protect metal by keeping the salt and water from coming in contact with it. There are other alternatives to undercoating as well.

    Electronic Rust Protection

    • Electronic rust-proofing systems use a sacrificial anode rod to attract electrons that help form iron oxide or rust. The anode rod becomes self-sacrificing. It allows the free electrons to bond with it, and destroy it, instead of the steel in your car. It is relatively easy to apply when compared to rubberized undercoatings. There is less mess. Electronic rust-proofing is also aesthetically pleasing compared to the rubberized coating that clings to the underside of your vehicle. The United States Navy uses similar methods with good success on fixtures exposed to salt water.

    Thorough Washing

    • If you wash the salt off your vehicle, you should not have a problem with rust. You can wash your car at an automatic car wash that blasts the bottom of your vehicle with high water pressure. Some of these systems even use a rust inhibitor chemical as they wash. Take your vehicle in for a wash after a major snowstorm completely melts and clean up after a trip to the beach. If you don't want to use the drive-through car wash, you can use a self-serve wash or a hose at home. Jack up the vehicle and spray all the areas under the vehicle. Pay particular attention to the brake lines and fuel lines. These can rust quickly, and are expensive to repair.

    Wax the Exterior

    • In the fall, apply a generous coat of wax to the exterior finish of your vehicle. You might even want to apply it on a warm day during the winter for extra protection, or inside if you have access to a heated garage. This will protect the paint, and help keep it looking like new.

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