Rust proofing your vehicle is one of the easiest ways to invest in its longevity and value.
Corrosion can compromise the integrity of your vehicle, from the paint to its safety, and rust proofing will help you reduce repair costs, keep your vehicle looking great, and increase its resale or trade in value down the road.
Before you can choose the best rust proofing solution, it’s important to understand the options available and how they stack up against each other. This guide outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the most common popular options as well as what to watch out for when choosing a service.
Most popular rust proofing options
|Rust Check||$120||1 hour||Annually renewable warranties to all cars less than one model year and to qualified cars up to five model years old. Pays for repairs.||Occasional dripage|
|Krown||$120||45 min to an hour||Repair/replace body panels below window line, seams and crevices and floor/rocker panels, up to the current cash value of the vehicle||24-48 hours of dripping|
|Corrosion Free||$150||1 hour||Covers vehicle body structure including the roof and floor pan, up to the current cash value of the vehicle.||Drip-free|
Krown is a petroleum based rust inhibitor designed to slow down or inhibit corrosion on your vehicle. One of the major benefits of Krown is that it contains no solvents, making it environmentally safe. The solution is non-corrosive, non-flammable, and non-reactive, allowing it to be applied in any weather and actually works as a lubricant on many moving parts.
One of the downsides to Krown is you may experience dripping of the excess product. In order to properly reach into the tight seams of your vehicle, the solution needs to be thin enough. This causes minimal dripping within the first 24-48 hours of application.
Rust Check treats vehicles with a corrosion inhibitor that forms a bonded layer on the surface of the metal. The product then acts as a barrier, preventing water and oxygen molecules to be absorbed by the metal, therefore disabling its ability to rust.
The thin layer is undetectable by the naked eye, and is thin enough to penetrate, lubricate, and protect moving parts, seams, and support braces. Because the layer is non-drying, it will never crack or peel.
Corrosion Free is another eco-friendly rust proofing solution that uses their Formula 3000 with CSC 850 to not only inhibit rust, but also to terminate existing rust and corrosion. The formula is designed to eliminate moisture, and is thin enough to penetrate into all of the seams and crevices of your vehicle.
Corrosion Free also protects your vehicle’s vinyl and plastic surfaces, preventing damage from harmful UV rays, so it protects more areas of your car than only the metal parts. Due to the properties in Corrosion Free’s formula, their solution chases down and pushes away moisture, allowing it to creep into wet places you didn’t even know were there.
Tar based undercoating
This type of rust proofing is typically offered by the dealership when purchasing a car. This solution covers over the areas that are susceptible to rust with a tar based product, and can offer a visually appealing look to the underside of your new car.
In terms of functionality, this type of coating is known for some major problems. While great for a short term solution, tar based undercoating can chip or deteriorate. When this happens, moisture creeps underneath the tar layer, becoming trapped and accelerating the corrosion of your vehicle.
Electronic rust inhibitors
Recently, engineers have been developing a technology that uses weak electrical currents sent through the metal of the car. These currents are meant to prevent the electrochemical reaction of rusting, preventing corrosion on your vehicle.
Electronic rust inhibitors vary in price depending on who does the installation. Companies such as Canadian Tire charge as low as $300, while a dealership may charge from $500 to $1000. It’s easy to get caught up in the interesting world of new tech features for vehicles, however the technology is still very new, and its effectiveness is met with mixed reviews from consumers.
What offers the best protection?
There are many things to consider when deciding which option is best for your vehicle, such as type, cost, dripping or non-dripping solutions, as well as the overall effectiveness of the product you choose. Each rust proofing solution is functional in its own way, but some options stand out among the rest.
When deciding which option was the best for us, we looked to a 2006 study done by the Department of Defence Research and Development. This study was done to review corrosion control and prevention on army vehicles, and was prompted due to the rising costs of repair the government was incurring, along with choosing the best solution to increase service life and functionality of the vehicles.
Best overall – Corrosion Free
After an extensive study testing their vehicles in the harshest conditions, Corrosion Free was the clear winner with a 90% effective rating for inhibiting rust. We tend to agree, adding that its clean and transparent application helps it preserve the “factory new” look to your vehicle.
Krown came in second with a 70% effective rating, and Rust Check came in a distant third with a 40% rating. Both Krown and Rust Check are both still considerably viable options when choosing how to rust proof your vehicle, but in terms of overall value and effectiveness, neither stacked up to Corrosion Free.
What about warranties?
When considering the best option for protecting your vehicle, choosing a solution with a great warranty will provide you with the peace of mind knowing you made the right decisions. When reviewing warranties, keep a close eye on how it is affected on both aluminum and steel, the coverage limits, and if the warranty is transferrable to new owners.
We recommend carefully reading through all warranties, but here’s a snapshot of what’s included for the top three rust proofing solutions:
Corrosion Free offers a warranty that will repair or replace body panels or structural frame members weakened by corrosion or rust. It also covers roof and floor pan of the vehicle.
Offers a lifetime, annually renewable warranty to vehicles less than one model year and to qualified vehicles up to three model years old. Their warranty pays for the repairs on rust-thru only, is transferrable, and has no mileage restrictions.
Krown’s warranty will cover all seams and crevices, all floor/rocker panels, and all body panels below the window line. Krown will repair or replace any rust-thru up to the current cash value of the vehicle. Their warranty is transferable at no charge.
Best – Corrosion Free
Once again, Corrosion Free comes out on top with the best warranty. Corrosion Free is the only warranty that doesn’t require a rust-thru or hole in a panel to cover repairs. Krown and Rust Check also require rust to originate inside the metal, where Corrosion Free’s warranty is valid regardless of where the rust originates.
Things to avoid
Non-oil based products
Options such as undercoating provided by the dealer, or other non-oil based undercoating are old technologies that provide inferior results. These products don’t have the ability to penetrate into the hard to reach seams and crevices where rust is more likely to form. Plus, coatings have been known to crack and chip, causing moisture to trap itself against metal surfaces, accelerating the corrosion process.
Choosing a great product means nothing if it isn’t applied properly and by a professional. Even the effectiveness top rated solutions like Corrosion Free can be negated by poor service technicians. Do your research and find highly recommended dealers in your area.
If you can’t find a great dealer for the product you want, it could be worth considering your second or third choice to guarantee it is applied properly and done right the first time.
What to read next
Over to you
Now that you have the information, which solution is best for you? Have you had good or bad experiences with any products or dealers in the past? Let us know by leaving a comment below!