3 Smart Ways To Keep Your Truck From Rusting Out
Whether you drive your truck on the road, across watery areas or through thick mud, you need to watch the underbody for rust accumulation to keep the vehicle in good shape. Once rust takes hold, it will quickly weaken the metals holding your truck together. You could end up with ruined suspension, exhaust and body components if you ignore the rust. Here are three ways to protect your vehicle from this constant threat.
Your vehicle comes straight from the factory with a thick layer of rubberized undercoating along the bottom. Unfortunately, this undercoating chips, flakes and rubs off over the years.
Eventually, you will see rusted metal peeking out while inspecting the bottom of your vehicle. Exposed metal starts to rust immediately after coming into contact with the open air. Salt and water from the roadways accelerate the development of rust.
You can clean up the underbody of your vehicle and reapply rubberized undercoating spray to stop the rust in its tracks. Rubberized undercoating spray is available from most auto part stores in your are. Remove the accumulated rust by hitting the affected metal areas with a sanding pad attached to an angle grinder. After reaching bare metal, spray several coats of undercoating to create a layer that is at least a centimeter thick.
You can skip the thick undercoating and simply coat the underbody with paint instead. You have two options in the rust-inhibiting paint department:
Rattle can: This paint type keeps the air out to stop rust’s damaging actions.
Two-part enamel: This material contains ingredients that reverse the rusting process.
Obtain either of these options from auto paint supply stores or auto body shops. The two options are popular because you do not have to remove existing rust before spraying down your truck. The rust will stop eating through the metal upon contact with either type of paint.
The two-part enamel takes a bit longer to apply than rattle can does. You will need to have access to a pancake air compressor, spray gun and mixing equipment to properly apply the two-part enamel. When using rattle can, you can simply shake up the paint and spray it on in just a few minutes.
The extra effort in using two-part enamel does buy you extra time between application periods. Rattle can should be reapplied once every few years, while two-part enamel may last more than five years.
You can use lanolin lubricant spray from a place like 99 Parts to separate rust from the metal parts and prevent its growth in the future. Cans of lanolin lubricant can be easily found at local auto parts stores. The lubricant never dries, so it creates a protective layer between road salts, water and even thick mud. Repeated exposure to wind and dirt will eventually wear away the lubricant layer on the underbody of your truck. You can keep your vehicle protected by reapplying this spray once a year.
If your truck already has a thick layer of rust, spray the lubricant on top and let it sit for an hour before scraping the rust away. Afterward, wipe the rusted areas down with a damp rag and allow the parts to dry. Spray the lubricant all over the underbody to create a thin layer of protection against the elements that cause rust to develop.
Replace Rusty Parts
Sometimes, you cannot save your components after rust eats through the metal. If you can poke holes in the part through the rusty areas, you will need to replace those components outright. Since heat speeds upthe rusting process, this usually occurs on your burning hot exhaust components first. The thin metal used for those truck parts quickly succumb to the corrosive nature of rust. Thankfully, you can easily swap out the destroyed components with new ones from the auto parts store or your favorite online retailer. Make sure to coat the new parts with a protective material to keep rust at bay.