How to Prevent Rust on Your Car




Keeping your car rust-free prevents serious damage and maintains the look and value of your car. If you choose to try us, Jig-a-loo, as part of your car maintenance routine, you can find out where to pick up a can here: Here are 6 detailed steps and a few extra tricks for preventing rust on your car.

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Step 1: General Maintenance

a. Wash your car every two weeks; once a week if it is wet with salt on the roads.
b. Wax your car once every four months.
c. Keep the inside clean as well, being sure to clean up after any spills which can start rust from the inside.

Step 2: Take Extra Care Around Salt

a. Salt speeds rust, so be careful to keep your car clean if you live by the ocean or in the winter when there's salt on the road.
b. Clean the underside of your car and your wheel wells when filthy or at least once a week during the winter when salt is out.
c. If your car is seriously at risk for rust because of regularly exposure to salt, etc. you can clean it and then spray it with a lubricant appropriate for cars (we recommend Jig-a-loo, of course!) or even paint it with a proper coating for the surface (this should be done by a professional).

Step 3: Rust Coating!

a. If you are in a very salty climate or are already fending off rust problems, you may want to consider coating your car with a rust-preventing spray (like Jig-a-loo)
b. Key is to keep metal surfaces dry- whether you wipe them off after use, or protect them with paint, lacquer, lubricant or wax.
c. If you are going to spray your car with anything flammable. make sure the engine is cold and give it some time for the vapors to clear up before you fire it up again. Try to avoid spraying on your exhaust or mufflers so they don't get to smelly when hot.

Step 4: The Extra Steps

a. Before any long periods on inactivity, wash and spray down a rust-preventing spray.
b. Drive further behind other vehicles to prevent knicks from pebbles they kick up.
c. Cover your car with a car cover whenever possible.

Step 5: Inspect Regularly!

a. Examine your car for rust often. External painted parts will show rust when the paint bubbles or blisters up. On other metal parts, just look for the beginnings of rust.
b. There are 3 areas to look for rust: the engine and trunk, the undercarriage of the car and the external painted parts.

Step 6: The Worst Case Scenario- If You Do Get Rust Anyhow

a. Fix small problems in the paintwork quickly.
b. If you have existing rust on the underside of your car, you will need to remove it. There are sprays that do this.
c. Treat any rust that pops up immediately and aggressively.

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    24 Discussions


    3 years ago

    If my car had this many rust spots I'd just get rid of it. However, my car only has one small but noticeable rust mark. I would like to prevent anymore from happening. It's good to know that general maintenance usually does a good job at preventing it, thanks.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wouldn't use any solvent based silicone on anything I wanted to keep. The silicone itself, once the solvents or carriers are dissolved, remains pretty much forever. Your paint is water proof. The e-coat and primer under the paint and the galvanizing usually used on modern steel bodies also prevents rust. Once all of these are chipped or scratched through, there's nothing protecting the bare steel, then you get rust. Hydrocarbon solvent carriers for silicone will accelerate dry rot and won't prevent rust from forming on bare steel.
    If you put Jigaloo or Armor-All or Rain-Ex on a car, don't expect to repair the car's paint if it gets damaged. Silicone pretty much repels everything, and silicone can't be removed by solvents since the bonds require very high temperatures to break. So if you get in an accident and need to repaint a panel of your car's body, it will be very difficult to get the paint to stick. Cheap magic car treatments are usually not very well researched and do more harm than good.
    Natural wax is the only thing that should go on your car's paint.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    POR-15 works better, its rust preventative PAINT...


    8 years ago on Step 3

    These steps will not prevent rust, they will only slow down the process. This instructable seems like a shameless plug for the jig a loo product which is not a "rust-preventing spray" regardless of whether they market it that way.

    You would have to spray it on displacing all water immediately, every time the car got wet, and that would be very costly and exposure to the ingredients bad for health. Any bare metal areas where rust would be a problem should be painted, and silicone sprays like jig a loo should NOT be used because they are difficult to completely clean off so the paint will adhere well.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    WD won't hurt, but it washes off/dries out after awhile. Boeing makes Boeshield T9, a spray that comes out liquid, penetrates, then turns into a waxy solid. Works real well, not cheap. Sprayon makes PDRP Waxy Film Protectant that seems identical but much cheaper. I've used both with success. You can even spray them into electrical connectors to keep them from corroding/oxidizing.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    if you have rust on the out side check the in side the door and you will fine that there rust there too .check the drain holes in the bottom

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Too true. rust tends to start from the inside or the bottom. It's important to wash the underbody more than the outside, and do it ABOVE FREEZING; salt won't do much below freezing or when it's dry. The worst effects are when it's wet and above 32F/0C. Besides, if you do it below freezing, your doors and locks will freeze.

    it doesn't matter what country your car is made in, metal rusts. New cars don't rust because they are hybrid alloys. If your car is made before 1998, chances are it will eventually rust.

    I drive an '86 pontiac bonneville (62K original miles) and it has rust, it adds character to the car.

    3 replies

    That isn't entirely true. While all oxidizable metals will eventually rust, every steel-producing country produces a different quality of steel than others. German steel is very high quality, for instance, while Pakistani steel is of very poor quality and therefore tends to corrode much quicker.

    ac-dcProject D

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Steel has iron in it, thus regardless of the quality it will rust unless it's stainless steel which nobody (?) uses for major body panels due to the lower strength to weight ratio.

    What makes steel rust is exposure to the elements. High or low quality tends to effect purity and functional parameters, not rust resistance much. The *best* automotive steel will still rust if it is bare and left outside.

    Water, salt, other chemicals and acceleration from heat. The far greatest factors for rust are whether the paint holds up, and whether the panel traps water/debris whether it be design or a clogged drain hole, weatherstripping no longer sealing well, etc.

    Project Dac-dc

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Again, that isn't entirely true. German iron/steel is of an exceptional purity, so it resists oxidization much more than Chinese steel. Pakistani steel is probably the worst, I've had examples of their stainless steel rust in a matter of a couple of weeks. I learned the hard way to avoid knives made from Pakistani stainless. But yes, even the best automotive steel will rust if left bare to the elements. But that doesn't change the fact that steel from one country will rust much faster than steel from another.

    Also, you forget the Delorean, every body panel was crafted from stainless. Too bad the car was a piece of crap.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    80's Japanese cars are especially problematic with rust. Due to japan not having their own steel mills at the time and buying recycled sheet metal from the USA.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    I have heard that there are problems with certain years and models. Someone told me that the sheet metal bodies used in the early 90s were particularly problematic because of the amount of chromium in the alloy.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    My damn handmade 1986 jaguar xj daimler rusted too :( And now they want 5000$ for paint :/ my city's climate is very salty and i dont wash and wax my car for a long time, if your car is in a good condition you gues that your car will never rusted, but they will be rusted :( thease are very useful tips. Thanks anyway. I am going to use thease tips for my other cars.