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Resisting rust: How to protect your vehicle from rust damage

Canadian winters are known for being harsh, especially when it comes to vehicles. The snowy, wet climate and exposure to road salt are all significant contributors to rust damage. While road salt helps drivers get safely from one place to the next by keeping streets clear of ice and snow, repeated exposure can leave your vehicle vulnerable to rust. If not correctly taken care of, rust can cause significant damage to your vehicle and pose serious safety risks.

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent rust from building up on your vehicle. A proactive approach can help you avoid costly maintenance and repairs, prolong your vehicle’s lifespan and ensure your vehicle stays safe to drive year-round.

Here are 5 things you can do to protect your vehicle from rust damage this winter:

  1. Invest in rustproofing

Rustproofing creates an additional barrier between your vehicle and the elements, protecting it against rust and corrosion. The process typically involves spraying a protective wax-based compound over the vehicle’s exterior and undercarriage (also known as “undercoating”).

Most mechanics and auto service technicians offer the treatment. When done correctly, it should last 1-2 years before it needs to be done again. Speak to a trusted professional to determine which rustproofing treatment is right for your vehicle and how often you’ll need to have it done.

  1. Park indoors whenever possible

Avoid prolonged exposure to the wet winter climate by parking your vehicle in a garage or other indoor covered parking space. If you don’t have access to indoor parking, park your vehicle away from trees and areas prone to puddles and flooding. Consider purchasing a waterproof, breathable cover to put on your vehicle when it’s raining or snowing.

  1. Maintain your vehicle’s paint job

Your vehicle’s clear coat and paint act as protective layers against moisture, dirt and rust. When your vehicle’s paint is damaged, it is exposed to the elements, increasing the risk of rust build-up. Regularly examine your vehicle’s paint job, looking for bubbles and chips. If you find any defects, have them touched up as soon as possible.

  1. Wash and wax your vehicle

Washing your vehicle regularly helps to keep its protective layers of clear coat and paint in good shape. Waxing your vehicle adds an extra layer of protection to better shield it from moisture and salt. Aim to wash your vehicle (including the undercarriage) at least once every 2-3 months and wax your vehicle at least twice a year.

  1. Rinse your vehicle after every winter drive

Road salt, while necessary for road safety, can damage the metal of your vehicle and leave it vulnerable to forming rust. Rinsing your vehicle after driving it in the winter removes salt buildup and prevents further damage.

Rust is considered part of a vehicle’s general wear and tear and is not typically covered under a standard insurance policy. If you’re a current OTIP policyholder and have questions about your car insurance or want to inquire about recommended coverage, connect with your OTIP insurance broker at 1-800-267-6847. If you’re shopping for car insurance and want a quote, contact us today at 1-866-561-5559.

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