* Photo by Tony Lanciabeta/CReative Commons
Eyesore: Don’t let your vehicle become a rust-bucket.
* Photo by Tony Lanciabeta/CReative Commons Eyesore: Don’t let your vehicle become a rust-bucket.

With property being as expensive as it is in Bermuda, many young Bermudians can’t afford to buy a home. In fact, for most young Bermudians, a vehicle is their biggest investment so it’s important that they keep the condition of the vehicle in top shape for as long as possible. One huge problem we have in the marine environment of Bermuda is rust, especially because it can be so hard to detect.

It starts with the chips and nicks in your vehicle’s paint from the pebbles and stones that pepper your car through daily driving. Even the tiniest nick or scratch exposes bare metal to oxygen and moisture, which combined make rust. When you add salt to that, whether through rain, ocean spray or the high humidity of our ocean air, rust develops much faster. Once a rust hole starts, it cannot be stopped. Worse yet, these small blemishes on your vehicle’s body may be in a location where you won’t find it. Left unchecked long enough, this rust can cause serious problems.

The most likely areas to check for rust are in and around the wheel wells and on the fenders where your tyres kick up stones and chip the paint. The front of your car can also catch flying stones from other cars, making this a problem area as well. In addition, make sure to get under your vehicle and use a flashlight to inspect for rust.

If the paint on your car gets chipped or scratched, take action right away. Buy a small bottle of auto body paint to match your car and apply it with a small brush or toothpick. In a pinch, you can also use clear nail polish or keep the area waxed until paint can be applied. Always clean the area first, and if rust has developed, remove it first with sandpaper.

While inspecting for rust is important, preventing it is vital not only for the cosmetic benefits, but also for the longevity of your car. In addition, the prevention and repair of rust is an important factor in passing your TCD motor vehicle safety inspection. Corrosion from rust can weaken structural components such as suspension mounts and the automobile’s frame. Safety components like brake lines can also be compromised because hydraulic lines underneath the vehicle are constantly exposed to the elements and therefore are given special attention during the rust-proofing process.

Despite manufacturing and corrosion protection advancements, salt and water will continue to come in contact with your car’s metal surfaces, particularly the under body. This is why nearly all new vehicles in Bermuda have rust-proofing sealants professionally applied to prevent rust from even starting.

These wax or petroleum-based sealants are sprayed onto the entire underbody of the vehicle as well as inside the doors, on the door jambs and tailgate, under the bonnet, inside the engine compartment and in the boot where the spare tyre sits. By encapsulating the metal, rust-proofing sealants prevent metal, air and water from combining to create rust.

Your vehicle is a significant investment. In a humid and salty environment like Bermuda, it’s important to have the car rust-proofed when it’s new, but it’s also vital to have the rust-proofing visually inspected and touched up on an annual basis.

Rust-proofing exams are quick and affordable. Having this done annually is well worth the money to protect your vehicle and may also be required to maintain your new car’s rust-proofing warranty. 

Krishna King is the after sales parts manager at Bermuda Motors Limited. For more info on automotive maintenance, contact him at 292-0893 or KKing@bermudamotors.bm.