Does Rain Cause Rust On Cars: 8 Ways To Protect Your Car From Rust

You might have observed rust on the car and wondered how it got there. Does rain cause rust on cars? Or does the paint and coating prevent it from getting rusted? Let’s figure it out.

Starting off with some bad news: Yes, rain can cause rust on the car. If your car is continuously exposed to rainwater for several months and you are not washing it, then there is a high chance that you will see a development of rust on various metal components. Rust not only makes your car look bad, but it can also weaken the exhaust system. So, you need to take preventive measures and keep your car rust-free.

Does Rain Cause Rust On Cars

Does Rain Rust Your Car?

Unfortunately, most cars comprise steel, a mixture of iron and carbon. Steel is an alloy; it is iron mixed with carbon to make it stronger. However, steel has one drawback. It can rust easily when in contact with moisture. Steel is present in various areas of the car, like doors, frames, and chassis.

When iron comes in contact with moisture, an atomic reaction occurs that causes oxidation, which creates a thin layer of iron oxide on top. This iron oxide is nothing but rust. The most common way in which iron can get contact with water is rain. As most of the car components are made of steel, they are likely to rust on exposure to rainwater.

Occasionally leaving your car out in the rain will not cause rust. If you leave the car stationary and it is exposed to water continuously for three to four months, then there is a high chance of the car components getting rust. We recommend you not keep your car stationary for a long period to allow this rain exposure. You can park your car in a covered parking space or in a basement area if you are going out of the country or something similar.

Other Things That Can Rust Your Car?

No car owners want their cars to get rusted. Most people think rust can only affect the aesthetic value of the vehicle. But in reality, once rust starts forming on the car, it spreads and weakens the exhaust systems and can eat into the engine’s metal parts. It can even cause air leakage from tires and huge damage to electronic systems such as the car’s alternator and engine.

So rust is the worst nightmare of any driver. Unfortunately, it can happen to any vehicle. Now, frequent exposure of car components to rainwater can cause rust. However, there are other things that can also rust your car. Let’s discuss them below.

#1. Salt

If your car is regularly exposed to road salt, there is a high chance of it getting rusted. Salt is usually laid on the road to lower the freezing point of water. It melts the ice and prevents further ice from building on the road. Unfortunately, it can rust your car components.

The salt acts as an electrolyte and allows the car’s iron components to lose electrons fast and thus cause rusting process. So, salt is dangerous for the car. It can accumulate beneath the car and cause slow rusting.

#2. Negligence

Does your area have a lot of pollution? If you don’t wash the car after driving in rainwater, the chemicals in acid rain will stick to the exterior paint and cause rusting. Additionally, various components of the vehicle will also get rust on exposure to rain and slat.

Wash your car almost within a few days gap to avoid rust. Normal tap water is good enough for this wash; you do not need purified water for it.

Does Rain Cause Rust On Cars

How To Prevent Rust on Your Car During Rain?

The most frequent problem drivers face is that their vehicle components are continuously exposed to water during the rainy season. Fortunately, there are different ways to protect your car and prevent the components from getting rusted. We will discuss them one by one in detail.

#1. Park Your Car Indoor

Most people think rainwater can wash away the dust and dirt off their cars, so there is no harm in letting your car get a free car wash! But in reality, rainwater does not have enough pressure to wash your car.

Moreover, rainwater is made from water droplets that were created after water from all-natural sources first evaporated and then condensation into water droplets. But you need to understand that it has collected all pollutants from the air, some of which can cause severe damage to the car paint and its components. It can even rust essential components, ultimately making you buy new parts.

Parking indoors is one of the easiest ways to save vehicles from rain. When you park cars indoors, there is little chance of exposure to water. You can park in a garage for safety. If you don’t have a garage, then look for a covered spot and park your car to avoid the rain. Another way is to put a tent in your car. However, this only works if there is no accompanying wind in the area during the rain.

However, if the weather conditions are bad and you don’t have a parking space, then you can benefit from the law, which permits parking your car in any vacant lot, as long as you are paying the owner of the spot rent for parking the car.

Talk to your neighbors about their vacant lots and get permission to park your car during the rainy season. It will save important vehicle components from getting rust. The car paint will also be protected from rain.

#2.Apply Wax On The Exterior Of The Car

The best way to prevent rust is by applying wax on the car’s exterior. Wax will act as a barrier between the car’s external paint and rain, thus protecting a vehicle from rust. There are mainly two types of automobile car wax available in the market. They are carnauba wax and paint sealant.

Carnauba wax is made of Baziian palm tree leaves and helps in adding shine to your car. The second one is the paint sealant which comprises a polymer. It helps in adding shine to the car and protects it from various weather elements.

You must wash the car thoroughly and only then apply the wax. Otherwise, dirt and dust will get locked in on the surface, and your car will look quite dirty. Additionally, read the instructions properly and apply wax on the vehicle, and only then start applying wax on the car.

Always prefer to use the wax in a small section first, and use circular motions. Only apply a little wax on any area because it is unnecessary to put a lot, and you will find it challenging to remove it. Remove the wax once it is dry with a soft cloth. You can apply wax on areas that are exposed to the elements and have a higher chance of getting rust because of rain.

Does Rain Cause Rust On Cars

#3. Buy A Car Cover

If you don’t have a parking area or more money to rent a parking space, then you can purchase a car cover. Try to purchase car covers from reputed manufacturers because they will be durable and breathable.

These covers will prevent the rainwater from entering the car and thus prevents it from getting rust. A quality car cover will even allow humid air to escape, so the vehicle will have few chances to get rust.

#4. Avoid Driving When It’s Raining

You can avoid driving when its rains badly. But sometimes, the circumstances may be severe, and you will be compelled to drive. Ensure to wash the car after using it in the rain because acid rain components may deposit on the exterior and damage the paint. It can even make its way to the inside of the car.

If your car has already rusted, driving during the rainy season can worsen the car’s condition. So, we recommend you wash your car in tap water so that all the harmful chemicals in the rain get washed away.

#5. Ensure To Have Good Mudguards

People think mudguards are in the car to increase the aesthetic value and prevent the car from getting dirty due to the mud splashing while driving on the road. While that’s true, there are other benefits too.

Mudguards deflect water from the road and protect the wheels and brakes from unnecessary water contact. Remember, rainwater can take a heavy toll on brakes, especially drum brakes. Drum brakes are significantly impacted by water, and the brake efficiency will decline if they are in constant contact with it. If you notice that the car brakes are damp, remove the water instantly. Hold the brake and slowly accelerate so the brake pads will completely dry.

#6. Plan Your Route Wisely

Sometimes, you may be compelled to drive in the rainy season, but try to plan the route wisely. Don’t choose a route that is usually flooded with water. In this way, the risk of getting rust will go down. Flooded areas also increase the chance of accidents because of poorer visibility. So, by choosing a proper route, you can also avoid accidents.

Remember to wash the car with normal water after reaching the destination. But sometimes, you will not have time to wash your vehicle. You can do it after reaching home to remove the harmful chemicals that may have been latched on the car because of rain.

#7. Never Park In a Humid Area

Parking in enclosed humid areas can make the car rust worse. So, you need to always park in a well-ventilated space.

#8. Lubricate Various Components

Rainwater can rust various components like hinges and levers. So, you need to protect them in the rainy season. The best way to protect them is by lubricating the components frequently.

Does Rain Cause Rust On Cars

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Does rain make rust worse?

Yes, rain can make the rust worse. Most of the car components are comprised of steel, an alloy of iron and carbon. When the iron combines with rain water, oxygen ferric oxide is formed, otherwise known as rust.

#2. Does rainwater create rust?

Yes, rainwater creates rust. Unfortunately, most of the car components are comprised of iron. Rust happens when water comes in contact with iron.

However, occasionally driving in the rainwater will not cause rust. If the vehicle is exposed to rainwater for a prolonged period, there is a high chance that the components comprising iron will have rust.

#3. What makes a car rust fast?

Three things can cause rust in a car.

  • Rainwater: When iron components of the car come in contact with oxygen and rainwater, oxidation occurs, generally known as rust.
  • Salt: Road salt can stick to the car underparts, and a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in rust.
  • Lack of Maintenance: If you don’t properly maintain your car, then there are chances of rust on the vehicle.

#4. How long does it take rust to form on a car?

The exterior of your car is comprised of steel. It is an alloy of iron and carbon. If the steel components are regularly exposed to rainwater and salt, then rust can start within three to four days.

Does Rain Cause Rust On Cars

Wrap Up

Rainwater is not good for the car. When the car components are exposed to rainwater for a long time, it will cause rust, affecting the vehicle significantly. No car driver wants their car to have rust. So, you can take some preventive measures like parking your car in a covered area or investing in a good car cover that will make your car rust-free.

Thank you for reading this article!

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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