Auto123.com - Helping you drive happy

Rustproofing: Education

Summer is over. If the cooling of the temperature wasn't enough of a sign that fall is in the air, ads for rustproofing treatments are always a telltale sign that cold weather is just around the bend.

For the last month or so, rustproofing companies have been assailing radio-, TV- and web-waves with advertising campaigns pushing and touting their products as being better than all the others. Corner garages have put up signs on the curb displaying their available rust treatments and coupons keep landing in all of our mail boxes.

Rust and rustproofing may be seasonal topics, but they are in reality year-round issues. It's the same thing every year: People are confronted, even conflicted, by something they should do to protect their car but often are not certain as to what they should do, when they should do it and where it should be done.


As an FYI, it's usually at the F&I (Finance & Insurance) stage when you're buying your new car that the dealer will suggest their own rustproofing for many hundreds of dollars and note that the car will be guaranteed for life. Simply put, we say don't bother with this getup as others are available for less. Make sure you don't fall victim to fear-mongering. An independent treatment by a specialized outfit is usually the best way to go.

Truth is that new cars and trucks typically undergo factory-applied rustproofing treatments, however, they can begin to show pertinent signs of rust after only 5 years. The fact is that not everyone should get their vehicle treated.

For those who intend to keep their vehicles for an extended period of time, rustproofing will do many things including maintain a good resale value. Not only that, but over a 7- or 8-year span, it could prevent the replacement of parts such as brake lines, electrical connectors and even certain body panels such as lower-door seams or rocker panels. On the other hand, those who are leasing for 2 to 4 years and have no intention to buy the car at the end of the contract do not need to bother with the investment.

The second most common enquiry – after what treatment should be had – is when should the car be done? Ideally, rustproofing should be done when it's warmer outside so it's not necessary to wait until the fall. The reason is simple: The mild-to-warm temperatures will allow the products to better penetrate the treated areas. The metals will basically soak up the product as it is porous.

Now, once the consumer has decided to get the job done, they are faced with another decision: Which type of rustproofing treatment is best for me? There are in fact two real types of treatments: oil and grease-based treatments. There are other choices, but they are not actually options. More on this in the coming days.