Is rustproofing the right move for you?

Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Is rustproofing the right move for you?

As soon as you drive that new car off the showroom floor, the devaluation process begins. While a car's value doesn't go away as quickly as a new car smell, perhaps nothing has harsher effect than rust.

What wrinkles are to people, rust is to cars. Though car parts and automotive technology have advanced, making vehicles more resistant to rusting, it's only a matter of time before cars show this textbook sign of age. And in Canada – where salt and sand kicking up from the roads can expedite the rusting process – it's more likely to take place sooner compared to places where snow and rain rarely make an appearance.

Fortunately, there is a solution. It's called rustproofing, and as its name implies, the process involves coating a vehicle with a special liquid-based solution that makes the car's exterior more resistant to corrosion.

To some, rustproofing may seem like a no-brainer, given the advantages that result, like improved resale value, fewer repairs and extending a vehicle's life expectancy. According to IHS Automotive, among vehicles on the road, the current average age of a car is approximately 11 years. However, rustproofing is not a "one and you're done" deal. The coating has to be reapplied, typically on a yearly basis, to ensure that the car remains resilient under harsh weather effects stemming from moisture, not to mention the dirt and debris that gets lodged in its various crevices.

In short, you may be wasting your hard-earned money by rustproofing. As is so often the case, though, whether rustproofing is the right solution for you depends on the situation. Here are a few examples of what factors to consider before you decide:

How long you plan on owning your car
Some people, figuratively speaking, drive their vehicles into the ground before they purchase a new one, eking out every last mile they can before they secure a replacement. If this sounds like you, rustproofing is a smart investment. By using a professional rustproofing service, you may be able to keep your car on the road a year or more longer than you would without it. Meanwhile, if you lease your vehicle, rustproofing may be unnecessary, seeing as how you'll likely be trading it in before corrosion becomes an issue.

How often you drive
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to understand that the more you use your car, the more likely it will suffer from the effects of wear and tear. Take into account just how regularly you get behind the wheel, especially during periods where the weather tends to be on the inclement side.

Terms of the rust warranty
Most all-new vehicles today come with a manufacturer's warranty, providing owners with some assurances their new set of wheels will hold up and not require repair work over a certain period. Premature rusting is often included in these warranties. Check your owner's manual to see if it says anything about corrosion protection. Also, if you visit Unhaggle, there's a list of several major auto manufacturers and how long the warranties last for.

How much you're willing to spend
Similar to cars, there's really no single price that rustproofing costs. Variables include what professionals charge in labor, how extensive the process is and the type of corrosion protection used. Tar-based, dripless and drip oil are the three most common. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses as detailed by Andrew Tai, CEO of Unhaggle and a contributor to The Globe and Mail. Consider talking with friends who have used one of these treatments to get their take. You may also want to speak with a reliable mechanic to get his or her opinion about one being better than another and which will get you the most bang for your buck.

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