When dealing with body damage to a car, one of the worst possible outcomes is the development of rust. Rust on vehicles can develop as a result of collision damage, minor scratches, poor water channel design, or long-term exposure to the elements. Once rust damage becomes severe, it can be challenging or even impossible to correct.
While rust may not seem like much of a concern if you drive a newer car, it can pose a threat to vehicles of any age. Keep reading to discover three essential facts about this automotive menace.
1. Surface Rust is Repairable
Most people panic when they notice a spot of rust on their car, but not all instances of rust spell certain doom and gloom. Surface or "cosmetic" rust is common on vehicles with minor scratches or areas with otherwise exposed bare metal. Even the galvanized steel used on modern automobiles will rust when exposed to air and moisture, but your car isn't a goner yet.
A skilled body shop can usually save a panel suffering from rust that has not penetrated the surface too deeply. By grinding the rust off and exposing bare metal, the shop can repaint the area so that the rust will not return. Once the rust begins to penetrate deeply into the metal, the only option will be to replace the affected panel.
2. Rust Can "Spread"
If you allow rust to remain on your vehicle, it can quickly spread and cause more damage. Although rust itself does not move from place to place, it can create the conditions necessary for it to appear elsewhere. As your car's bare metal oxidizes, nearby paint can bubble, loosen, and flake off, ultimately exposing more metal to the environment and creating the conditions necessary for more rust.
For this reason, you should never ignore even small areas of rust. Although cosmetic rust may not pose an immediate hazard, it can lead to much more severe problems in the future. Allowing a body shop to fix these problems early can save you a ton of money in the future.
3. Rust Can Appear Under Paint
Unfortunately, you may not even notice the bare metal that is allowing rust to appear on your car. If you see bubbles forming on your paint, it means that the area underneath has rusted. Rust can appear in this way when water finds its way behind a painted panel, or when a small chip allows water to infiltrate under a painted surface.
Rust bubbles are a severe problem, but if the underlying rust has not progressed too far, an auto body repair shop may still be able to correct the damage. The affected paint will require removal, and the shop will then need to repair the damage below.
If you want to maintain your vehicle's long-term appearance and value, then dealing with rust early is essential. To learn more about the repair process, contact an auto body shop in your area.