Many motorists are so fixated on keeping their car clean that they overlook the risk of undercarriage rust. The irony is that most people wash their vehicle not just to make it look nice but to clear it of corrosive elements like dirt and salt. But wash the undercarriage the wrong way – with indiscriminate high pressure and harsh chemicals – and your vehicle could be more prone to undercarriage rust.
Rust is a chemical process that occur when metal meets oxygen meets water. Rust is specific to ferrous metals (iron and its alloys) but corrosion can happen with all different types of metals, precipitated or accelerated by certain compounds. Salt and chemicals used to deice roads are a good example. (In fact, Phillips Industries, an electrical products manufacturer for the commercial vehicle industry, reports an uptick of corrosion from deicing compounds magnesium chloride and calcium, which are effective in clearing road ice but are 50 percent smaller than road salt rocks, so it’s easier for them to wedge their way into tighter spots.)
For this reason, it’s important to make sure your car – particularly if you’ve got an antique, classic or valuable sports car – is cleaned and dried properly before parking or storing it. When your vehicle is in storage, a Zerust car cover provides the ultimate protection against undercarriage rust.
Wash This Way
Even professional washes and detailing can put the metal frame at risk. Routine washing does lower the potential for buildup of chemicals, mud and grime. However, our rust prevention experts understand that it’s imperative for vehicles and undercarriages to be washed the right way – and with the right cleaning agents.
In particular, pressure washing can be especially hazardous. Undercarriages appear to be strong and sturdy, but they are not impervious to damage by pressurized water. If the pressure stream is too high – and especially if it’s directed toward sealed components – it can push out or past protective material or gaskets meant to prevent rust and corrosion.
If you must have your car pressure washed, take special care to avoid any electrical connections. If you accidentally force water into open connections on the electrical system where it can’t escape, you’re risking immediate damage but also long-term undercarriage corrosion. Don’t point the spray directly at any pinion, breather, wheel seal or input/output. To do so is to risk pushing contaminants into and past the seal lips.
Also, don’t use harsh chemicals, detergents, degreasers or anything that has acids in it. Mild cleaners can get the job done and won’t wreak havoc on the metal. And don’t leave any soap behind on electrical connections.
Choosing the Risk Car Cover to Prevent Undercarriage Rust
Even the most affordable sports car is likely to be an investment of at least $30,000 or so. If you’re going to take the care to wash it meticulously, storing it with care is the next logical step.
You can find all kinds of cheap car covers that will generally do fine to block out the sun and keep out major dust build-up. The problem is these can do more harm than good when it comes to rust because they trap tiny droplets of moisture inside, causing corrosion while your car is covered up. Zerust covers are different because they are made with a special vapor corrosion inhibiting lining that is not only water resistant and mold-proof, it’s also rust-inhibiting. They’re also made to be driven onto (rather than just be tossed over the top) so they provide direct, constant protection to the undercarriage.
Keep in mind that even if you have a newer vehicle that is built to better withstand corrosive elements, nothing made with metal is corrosion-proof.
Zerust car covers protect your vehicle for a full five years after the date of purchase, keeping your whole vehicle in the best shape possible for your next spin – and many more to come!
How washing a truck can lead to corrosion, March 12, 2021, Truck Parts Service
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Car Rust Prevention: Car Care During Coronavirus, April 14, 2021, Zerust Car Covers Blog