How Often Should You Wash Your Car to Prevent Rust

If you live in a dust-free area, washing your car once every two weeks is enough. This is especially if you do not encounter mud, dirt, or drive through icy roads often. Making an effort to wash your car regularly helps to prevent rust.

This is because dirt, sand, salt, and other contaminants accelerate the rate at which the metal parts of your car deteriorate. If you drive your car daily and live in an area with dirt roads and muddy sections, washing your car every day may be necessary.

The good news is that washing your car has plenty of benefits. This is especially if you do it right. Hand washing is the best form of car wash as it’s the least abrasive. Avoid automatic tunnel car washes. Those tend to have dirty and abrasive brushes that scratch your car leaving it susceptible to rust.

Does washing your car too much cause rust?

It’s almost impossible to wash your car too much, unless if you’re doing it several times a day. Most people wash their car daily, weekly, a few days a week, or a few times a month. Washing your car every day is not going to do any harm.

In fact, washing it regularly keeps it free from dust, dirt, debris, and mud. These contaminants tend to ruin a car’s paint. While water can contribute to rust, it does not do any damage to your vehicle’s exterior finish. It helps to protect it from deterioration by keeping it clean.

People that sell pressure washers and car washing equipment tend to have their cars cleaned regularly, especially when testing the equipment. Some of them do it several times a week and still, nothing bad happens. They do not rust.

How do I keep my car rust free?

Apart from washing your car regularly, another way to keep it rust-free is to maintain the exterior finish. Ideally, the factory paint is designed to withstand changing weather conditions and other harsh external elements.

It keeps the car rust free on its own for a very long time. Unfortunately, it can start to fade if subjected to strong washing detergents and abrasive scrubbers. This can reduce its ability to protect the car. As a common practice, wax your car once every six months.

The oils and petroleum distillates found in the wax help to protect it against scratches and keep it shining. It’s also a good idea to clear out any salt that gets stuck during winter. This, combined with a good car wash, should help prevent rust.

Why do modern cars not rust?

Modern cars do not rust because they have pretty much done away with heavy materials and metal parts. Manufacturers today use plastics and carbon fiber to make most of the components. These two materials do not rust.

They also provide high tensile strength, high chemical resistance, low thermal expansion, high temperature tolerance, and high stiffness. All these characteristics make them ideal for cars since they are able to withstand road elements.

For example, carbon fiber is corrosion-resistant and chemically stable. This means that it won’t rust. The only things that can affect it are strong oxidizing agents such as sulfuric acid and hydrogen gas which are rare to come by.

Do dirty cars rust faster?

Yes. Dirt contributes to rust. When it builds up on top of cars, it absorbs water and keeps it in contact with the body. It, therefore, increases the chance of a chemical reaction that can lead to rusting. The nature of soil also makes it corrosive.

Factors such as moisture content, aeration, pH, resistivity, and temperature contribute to its corrosive potential. Scientists have discovered that soil can be a geological hazard to buried metals and concrete. This means that it has the ability to accelerate rust on metals.

How fast do cars rust?

The exterior of most cars is made out of steel. Steel can take as little as five to six days to start rusting. This, however, is rare in vehicles. The paint does a good job of keeping corrosion away.

A car that is left untouched in the driveway can last up to six months without ever seeing any signs of corrosion. This is unless, of course, the paint is heavily chipped to a point where the bare metal has been exposed.

Also, it’s good to note that cars stored or used near the ocean rust faster. The salt in the air and water reacts with the metal and accelerates the rusting process. To prevent this, spray an anti-rust on rusted areas and cover the car with a good cover when not in use.

What cars rust the most?

There are very few cars that are completely immune to car rust. This is because there are very many parts that are made of metal that are essential to the car’s performance. Here are cars that are most susceptible to corrosion due to the materials used to make them.

  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Toyota Rav-4
  • Ford Streetka
  • Jeep Wrangler TJ
  • MINI Hatchback
  • Volkswagen Polo Hatch
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Vauxhall Corsa
  • Ford Bronco
  • Dodge Dakota
  • Ford Ranger
  • Plymouth Horizon
  • Chevrolet Corsica
  • 1990 – 2005 Audi
  • 1995 – 2010 Mercedes Benz
  • 2000s Toyota Tundra
  • Mazda 3, 5, Tribute, MPV
  • Saturn Relay
  • Nissan Sentra, Maxima, Altima
  • GMC Terrain
  • Suzuki Swift

Which cars are least likely to rust?

In collaboration with Protegez-Vous magazine, the Automobile Protection Association published a list of cars that prevent rust the best. They include:

  • Mercedes-Benz B and C class.
  • Kia Optima, Sportage, Rondo, Sedona, Magentis, Forte, Spectra
  • Toyota Corolla, Camry, Highlander, Prius, FJ Cruiser, Matrix, Venza, 4Runner
  • Volvo S40, V70, S60, CX70, S40
  • Volkswagen GTI, Jetta, Passat, Beetle
  • Audi A3, A4, S4
  • Hyundai Accent, Entourage, Tucson, Santa Fe, Sonata, Elantra
  • Honda Fit, CR-V, Acura CSX, Odyssey, Civic

Can a car rust overnight?

Given the right conditions, rust can spread further overnight. This is especially if there’s enough oxygen, water, and salt in the environment that the car is in. A car is also likely to rust quickly overnight when in a humid area when compared to a dry and warm area.

Do all cars rust underneath?

It’s not uncommon to find cars rusting underneath. This is usually caused by the accumulation of salt, dirt, mud, water, and other road impurities when driving. Rust in the undercarriage is almost inevitable.

That’s why it’s important to clean your undercarriage often. There are automatic car was that clean your undercarriage for you. They use a sprinkler system to splash water at high pressure on your vehicle’s underbelly to dislodge any stuck debris and salts.

This prevents reactions with the metal and keeps crucial parts safe. You can opt for an undercarriage cleaner that you can use at home to clean your vehicle’s underside. It makes it easier to wash underneath the car to prevent rust.

What state do cars not rust?

If you live far from the beach or the mountains where there’s a lot of snow, you can be assured that your car will rust much slower than someone who lives near there. For example, California has lower humidity and gets less rain than other states in the Northeastern parts. As long as you do not live close to the coastal area, your car will have little to no rust.

Does WD-40 prevent rust on cars?

WD-40 is a good rustproofing spray for your car. It removes moisture from the metal surface and keeps it from rusting. To get better results, spray it on bare metal that is dry. You typically do not need it if your car is still new. All vehicles today come factory-treated to prevent rust.

On That Note

The best way to prevent rust is to wash your car regularly. As mentioned earlier, this will keep dirt, debris, and salts away. It will prevent contaminants from causing chemical reactions that eat away at the metal parts of your vehicle. Hand-wash the vehicle whenever you can. A touchless car wash is also a great alternative.