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Got Rust?


Rusty Car Fender

Summer storms in Georgetown can bring buckets of rain filling up the San Gabriel River and causing flash floods through town. Flash floods can be dangerous, rushing water has great power, enough to pick up your car and carry you off. Even roads where water is just one foot deep is enough to cause your vehicle to float. Flood waters and the damaging aftermath of heavy rainfall can leave your car with some permanent damages. Standing water for a period of time can cause metallic elements of your vehicle to rust and make the car’s carpet smell like mildew. While your car may not have been victim to a flood, perhaps you mistakenly left your windows, doors, or convertible top down. All may not be lost, there are ways you can stop rust on your car from spreading and salvage the interior areas of your car.

Humidity and moisture are the main culprits when it comes to rust on a vehicle. Metal components in your vehicle that come in contact with water have a high probability of causing rust. Water is one element that contributes to oxidation or rusting. You can stop rust on your car’s undercarriage, trunk, and body by preparing ahead of time and addressing minor areas of rust such as scratches and chips before it spreads to the rest of the vehicle.

How to Repair Rust on A Car

Extensive damage from rust will require the expertise of an auto body specialist. However, minor areas of rust are easily treatable by the DIYer. Areas with rust will first need to be sanded then primed, and finally touched-up with paint. If the area is bad enough that the rust has devoured a hole through the area, the surrounding metal will need to be ground away and filled to repair the hole. Screen wire can be placed over the hole, and then you can proceed with the steps of sanding, priming, and painting. Another option is to use rust converters which react with the iron oxide to transform it into iron tannate. Iron tannate is unchanging and will not allow the metal to corrode, thus, halting the rust from spreading. It is imperative that all areas are treated with the converter, however, or the metal will continue to oxidize. If caught early enough, repairing rust on your vehicle is fairly simple. Inspect your vehicle regularly for signs of rust such as bubbling under the paint.

Prevent Rust from Developing

Removing rust can be time-consuming and expensive if bad enough. There are ways to prevent rust from ever occurring. Here’s what you can do:

  • Wash & Wax – Your vehicle’s paint and sealant over time lose their strength to protect from elements and any exposed metal areas are susceptible to rust. Washing and waxing your vehicle frequently helps protect your car’s exterior from rust as well as the paint from fading.
  • Park in the Shade – Parking in the garage not only keeps your vehicle shaded from exposure to the sun, it also protects from the elements such as rain and snow.
  • Limit Contact with Salt – Coastal areas with salty sea air and salted roads to prevent ice from forming will wreak havoc on the underside of your car. Wash your car frequently, including the undercarriage.

Flood Damage or Saturation

While your vehicle may not have developed rust just yet, you may be left with a soggy car from flood waters or heavy rain. Water damage doesn’t mean your car is a total loss. While you cannot pick up your car and wring it out like a washrag, there are things you can do to dry out your car and prevent permanent damage. The key is to work quickly.

  1. Remove water – Try to get as much water out of your vehicle as quickly as possible. Using towels and fresh air for a small amount of water will suffice. For more than an inch of standing water, you’ll need to bring out a wet/dry vacuum or contact a professional auto detailer for removal.
  2. Get Some Airflow – No matter how much water you think you’ve removed, there’s likely more. Fabrics, carpeting, and other areas may continue to be damp. Using a fan, or multiple fans, direct airflow towards the floorboards and seats. Keep the doors open and allow the fans to run for 24 hours while in your garage to remove moisture. For added help, use a dehumidifier in the garage to remove the moisture in the air while the vehicle dries.
  3. Avoid Mold – Where there’s warm, moist areas mold will inevitably develop. Be prepared for this to occur, in spite of your efforts. Dry areas that feel damp with a blow dryer. Sprinkle moist areas of the vehicle including the floor and behind seats with baking soda, leave overnight, and vacuum in the morning. The baking soda will absorb the remaining moisture and help reduce the possibility of musty, mildew smells from developing.

For vehicles that have suffered water damage, the easy part may be removing the moisture. Other areas of the vehicle including the transmission, engine, fuel and electrical systems are in danger of permanent and expensive damages. A trained technician will need to inspect the vehicle to determine whether it is repairable and certify it is safe to drive once repairs are complete. Qualified technicians, like the employees at Sun Auto Service, are trained on all aspects of vehicle care. When it rains, it pours. We understand that experiencing any sort of car trouble from rust, to flood damage, and unexpected repairs can cause anxiety. That’s why we work hard to get your repairs and services done as quickly as possible to get you back on the road sooner. We offer free towing with major repairs, a free scan of the check engine light, and more. Don’t let the weather ruin your day or your car. Give Sun Auto Service a call whether you’re in Georgetown or Lakeway, we have many locations to serve you!