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Help prevent rust by knowing where the dirt hides

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Rust is the disease of metal and can spell disaster for any possession with components made from corrosion-prone metals, such as iron. The word is most commonly associated with iron oxidisation but is often used to describe the general metal corrosion process. Steel contains iron, among other things, making it an alloy of iron. Therefore, one of the most costly and precious investments you can make is at risk of a rust attack, as the weight of your car consists of approximately 65% steel and iron.

A Costly Inconvenience

Caused when metals are exposed to air or water - and therefore damp - for long periods of time, it sees common metals decompose and decay, turning a different colour such as brown or red. Once iron has been eaten by rust, it cannot be reused and can therefore prove to be a costly inconvenience.

The development of rust may not be easily cured, but it can be prevented. Unfortunately, constructing large parts of the car out of metals that are more resistant to the oxidation process, such as platinum or gold, isnít physically or financially possible. The best method of preventing rust is by knowing where on the car it can occur, as well as on which metal.

Modern manufacturers are relying more on metals such as aluminium, which is light and fairly resistant to corrosion, to attempt to beat rust where possible. Aluminium is used for the carís wheels and engine components and therefore rust is unlikely in these areas. Stainless steel, which is most commonly used in cutlery, is also corrosion resistant and is used for car exhaust parts and bolts. However, this leaves the large surface area of steel, which is favoured due to its incredible flexibility, which is the main place that should be checked for the problem.

Check The Edges

The edges of the carís body shell and between doors and joints should be checked. Running a finger along the edge is a good indicator of rust build up and being sure to keep this area clean and dry will help prevent corrosion. Rust spots may also develop on the body of the car, ruining the clean look of the paint. Therefore you should make the effort to wash your car every two weeks, ensuring it is properly dried as well as apply a coat of professional wax every four months. Salt speeds up the corrosion process, so if the car spends extended periods of time on salty roads or on the coast, it should be regularly cleaned. Rust preventing sprays can also be applied to the carís body. Keep the inside of your car clean too, as man-made dirt such as moisture from spilled drinks and food wrappers can contribute to the build up of rust. Rust may also develop in the boot of the car, where air and water can find its way in through cracks and holes, which can be easily sealed if found early.

Due to the dark and dank atmosphere and close proximity to wet and dirty roads, the underside of the vehicle is extremely prone to a rust picnic. This also goes for the engine area where there is no shortage of dirt, oil and water. It is important to ensure that the car has been safely raised and supported before any undercarriage check is made.

Aggressive and speedy action is best. Oxidisation of metals is, in some ways, inevitable and comes with the simple aging of your vehicle. However knowing where to look, what to apply and how to clean your car will ensure this metal-eating disease is prevented for a long as possible.

published: 28/10/2013 11:00:01

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