Last year’s Christmas lights strung up but refusing to work – you can handle. Another piece of fruit cake at the insistence of your once-a-year-seen Aunt – check. When it comes to Holiday time hassles, though, the one you really want to avoid is driving through a deep puddle of icy slush and then arriving home to find your interior carpet soaked through.
That’s right, Holiday time means winter; winter means road salts; road salts (can) mean rust; and rust may – in extreme cases – put a hole in the bottom of your car. But let’s back up a minute at Golden Triangle Auto Care, and give you some tips on stopping the rust process way, way, Way before your car gets to that extreme point.
First of all, before you even drive a new car off the lot, the manufacturer has done much of the hard work in keeping your car rust free. Continual advances in steel composition have resulted in impressively rust-proof auto bodies that put you ahead of the game to start.
Okay, now it’s your turn to carry the rust-proof baton:
- Pre-Game Instructions: Don’t wait until the first snowflake falls, or rather, until the first granule of road salt hits the highway. Jump into action in late fall by giving your car, including the undercarriage, a thorough washing. Next, apply a coat of wax, followed by wax sealant (this keeps the wax fixed to your vehicle’s paint).
Finally, treat the undercarriage with a special sealant – this can be quickly done by a professional, or you can do it yourself. When doing it yourself, take special care to treat the brake and fuel lines, as these are particularly prone to corrosion and also mark a safety issue.
- Make the Car Wash Your Friend. The great – and not so great – thing about road salt is that you can’t see it where it cakes up most – on the undercarriage. While that means no eyesores for you and your passengers, it also means that corrosion takes place out of your direct awareness. The solution? Roll up those windows, enter that car wash code (but first make sure an undercarriage wash is included), and wash the salt right out of your life. Do this at least once per week.
- Handle any signs of Rust Promptly. Contrary to popular auto mythology, one speck of rust does not doom your car to a future of certain junk status. However, you need to aggressively treat even small spots of rust in a timely fashion to prevent more expensive repairs.For minor rust nicks and the like, a simple trip to a car paint shop can get you back whole. By sanding off the rust, priming and then repainting the affected area, there should be no residual complications.Once rust has progressed (certainly if a through and through hole is visible in a panel, but even without one – have one our techs at Golden Triangle Auto Care, or auto body shop inspect your vehicle), it’s time for a bit more involved repair, which will be either:
- Replacing the entire affected section/panel of vehicle.
- Cutting out the rusted area and welding a new piece of metal onto the car (this option not usually recommended).
- When in doubt, do Something! Untreated rust is more than an eyesore. It can put safety at risk: Rusted bumpers and panels may not absorb energy as well in the event of an accident; and rusted wiring or brake lines can affect electrical function and stopping power; not to mention the unsavory outcome of a soaked carpet due to rusted-through flooring.
As you enjoy your Holiday Season with family and friends, we just wanted to give you a little heads up at Golden Triangle Auto Care, regarding the potentially corrosive ‘side effects’ of Denver’s snowy, salty winter months.