Why Those in Auto Detailing Careers Should Pay Attention to Rust

Often disregarded as a cosmetic problem, many drivers don’t understand the full impact that rust can have on their vehicle. When left untreated for too long, rust can even leave a vehicle unsafe to operate. However, rust is both preventable and treatable, a fact that may come as a surprise to some. If you’re seeking a career in automotive detailing, you’ll be working to make cars look as good as new. Treating and preventing rust will likely be part of your job. 

Read on to explore what rust is, why it’s important to get rid of it, and how it can be removed from the vehicle’s body surface.

Rust Explained for those with Auto Detailing Training

Rust is actually just another name for a chemical compound – iron oxide. Iron oxide is composed of both iron and oxygen, created by an electrochemical reaction called corrosion. As a vehicle’s exterior is made of metal that contains iron, corrosion occurs if this metal is exposed to both oxygen and moisture for a lengthy period of time. Exposure to saltwater puts a vehicle at an even greater risk for rusting, as salt contains more electrons than normal water and intensifies the reactive process. 

Rust, created by corrosion, is composed of iron and oxygen

If you’re entering a career in professional automotive detailing, it’s important to note that a vehicle’s risk for rusting can worsen depending on the environment in which it’s driven. For those who live in humid climates or near the ocean, rust can occur more frequently due to the moisture and saltwater in the air. Additionally, rusting can happen at a higher rate in the winter due to the use of road salts, which can react with moisture to create iron oxide.

How Rust Can Damage a Vehicle

Over time, rust can do more to a vehicle than reduce its appearance. Rust can lead to structural damage as it breaks down a vehicle’s chassis and body. Even a vehicle’s engine is at risk of exposure to rust if condensation is present under the hood. If the engine starts to rust, this can lead the engine’s pistons to wear down and eventually break. 

Vehicles today are also equipped with plenty of vulnerable electronic components within the engine control unit (ECU). If this technology is exposed to rust, it can cause shorting and other issues. After auto detailing training, be sure to check both the exterior of a vehicle and under the hood when examining for rust. Once rust begins to eat away at a vehicle, it spreads fast—so catching it early on and taking preventative measures will be important in saving a vehicle from extensive damage. 

If left untreated, rust can corrode the components of a vehicle’s engine

How to Combat Rust During Your Professional Automotive Detailing Career

The best way to prevent rust as an auto detailer is by rust proofing a vehicle. Rust proofing is the process of applying an anti-rust coating on a vehicle’s exterior surface. While today’s cars are manufactured with some protective coating already, adding another layer of coating can ensure that a vehicle is completely protected from rust. If rust is already present on the vehicle, rust proofing can also prevent the rust from spreading. Drivers may want to take their car in for rust proofing regularly if they live in a humid environment, or encounter road salt frequently. 

Taking preventative measures can protect vehicles from corrosion and prevent the occurrence of rust—so be sure to offer this service to those that need it throughout your auto detailing career!

Looking into auto detailing careers?

Check out the program details at ATC Montreal!

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