Owners Tips

Lesson Learned: Corrosion Protection Adds Years to the Life of Your Vehicle

A “tackifier” is a chemical compound that’s added to stuff to make it sticky. Tackifiers are used in dust control, agricultural applications, seeding, and even by municipalities when it’s time to lay down road salt ahead of a blast of winter weather.

Tackifiers make road salt sticky, allowing it to be spread hours before a weather event with little worry of being scattered or blown away by passing traffic. This allows municipalities more flexibility with road salting, which can save money.

The use of tackifiers also adds glue-like properties to the metal-munching sand and corrosive salt attacking your vehicle in the winter months. This means winter road spray may be sticking to the underside of your car or truck, helping it to chemically disintegrate your vehicle’s body more quickly than normal.

Many drivers fight back by regularly using corrosion protection services that intend to decontaminate your vehicle from stuck-on salt to treat and protect its metal parts from further rust. An annual oil spray or corrosion protection treatment can go a long way to prolonging the life of your vehicle, which is why so many snow-belters partake.

Here are a few examples where some drivers didn’t protect their vehicles from premature corrosion and ended up paying the price for it.

We’ll start in Michigan, with a video from Reddit user utrashlordcommander4. It shows the underside of a badly rusted 2007 Ford F-150 that was in the shop for a failed brake line. On the technician’s hoist, the underside of the vehicle is discovered to be heavily corroded, with splits and cracks in the frame rails, and entire pieces of the truck’s structure missing.

The shop declined to perform the work because of safety concerns. Thankfully, regular safety inspections mandated in some states and provinces will pull a vehicle like this from the road before it gets this rotten and turns into a rolling safety hazard. In other locales, a vehicle like this may be driven in this condition for years.

But why condemn a vehicle to an early death? This is the exact sort of corrosive carnage an annual protection treatment is intended to prevent. With oil spray treatments typically running under $200 per year, this truck’s life may have been extended considerably, saving its owner money in the long term, and keeping the vehicle out of a landfill or recycling centre.

Here is your first lesson: corrosion protection treatments can add years to your vehicle’s life.

Protecting your ride from corrosion helps put money back in your pocket in another way, too: resale value. Used cars are commonly rated on a scale system, which is used by dealers and shoppers to figure out how much a second-hand car is worth. The higher the score, the higher the vehicle’s value.

Earning the top “excellent” rating on that scale requires the vehicle to be rust-free. Achieving the lower “good” rating means a car needs to be almost rust-free. Vehicles in “fair” or “poor” condition are worth less for a variety of reasons, including the presence of rust.

Here’s your second lesson: in addition to helping your vehicle last longer, a regular corrosion protection treatment will also help you sell or trade it in for more money down the line.

Here’s another video that shows how unchecked corrosion can cause problems across various vehicle parts and systems. In this case, we see corrosion that has damaged the fuel line connectors on the sending unit, which could result in engine trouble, a no-start situation, a fuel leak, or a fire, not to mention a hefty repair bill to replace all the rotten parts.

In this example, we see another casualty of corrosion: the suspension system. In this car, a control arm has become detached from the underside of the vehicle because the mounting point was eaten by rust and no longer exists. This damage is likely unrepairable and the vehicle was likely scrapped. Could an annual corrosion treatment have prevented this failure and squeezed a few more years out of this car’s life? Probably.

Lesson learned? Corrosion can steal years from your vehicle’s life and thousands of dollars from its resale value, but protection can be as simple as a quick and affordable annual treatment, which could even put money back in your pocket.