Know the Difference Between Rust-Proofing and Undercoating in Your Auto Detailing Career

Aftermarket treatments can help protect cars from damaging road salt and other elements
Aftermarket treatments can help protect cars from damaging road salt and other elements

Aftermarket treatments can take a while to grasp, especially for car owners who might not know the differences between all the options out there. The range of options available to help prolong the life of a vehicle’s body are diverse, and customers might not know which treatments they would be better off choosing.

Fortunately, trained auto detailers are well versed in the differences between aftermarket treatments. What are some of those differences? Here’s a look at what sets rust-proofing and undercoating apart.

Undercoating: Dealing With the Salty Enemy Below the Vehicle

Undercoating is the sprayed application of a wax or rubber-based composite onto the entire underside of the vehicle. It’s designed to create a rust-proof layer between the underside of the vehicle and the water, ice, and salt of the road.

Here in Canada, the roads we drive on can be tough on the underside of our vehicles. The spreading of de-icing salt every winter means that this section of the vehicle is often in direct contact with a corrosive agent. The fact that the underside of a vehicle isn’t easily visible, and can’t be easily washed, ensures any patches of rust can easily worsen over time without being detected.

Applying an undercoat to a vehicle usually only takes a single day, so long as sufficient time is given for the applied coating to fully dry and adhere to the vehicle. Over time, this layer will be worn down, meaning that a vehicle operating in a climate with substantial amounts of rain, slush, and salt hitting the underside of the vehicle should be undercoated at least once every few years to ensure full protection.

Rust-Proofing: Professional Automotive Detailing to Protect a Car’s Vulnerable Spots

During your auto detailing career, you will find that with rust-proofing, the emphasis is truly on the “proofing” aspect. Distinct from the location-specific process of undercoating, which is solely focused on the underside and chassis of the vehicle, rust-proofing is the treatment of specific areas all around the vehicle where rust can claim an initial foothold. The process involves spraying protective wax on many different areas of the vehicle, with special focus placed on areas where chipping can occur or where moisture can accumulate.

This includes the vehicle’s fenders, rocker panels, upper body panels, pinch weld points, and tailgates, as well as the interior surfaces of the vehicle’s hood or doors. Like undercoating, the process can be rapidly carried out using modern techniques, but can vary in terms of exact time needed depending on the vehicle being treated. By targeting the spots where rust can initially develop, a vehicle owner can sleep soundly knowing that protective treatment has been applied even to the most out-of-the-way spots where rust can begin to take hold.

Over Your Auto Detailing Career, You’ll Find Applicability Depends on Owner Priorities

Once you have completed auto detailing training, customers might often ask you which treatment they should choose.

When it comes to comparing both methods, the needs of each customer will often determine which option is best for them. For example, owners who are more concerned with keeping a spotless exterior may gravitate more towards rust-proofing instead of undercoating.

However, owners who are more concerned with the long-term functionality of their vehicle may be more inclined to opt for undercoating—especially if they have a driving commute that involves substantial distances over salt-soaked highways. The two treatments are far from mutually exclusive, however, and in fact often go hand in hand. Throughout your career, combining both into one comprehensive package could provide the best of both worlds to customers.

Do you want to help keep vehicles looking fantastic?

Contact Automotive Training Centres today to learn how professional automotive detailing could be the perfect career move.

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