Rust proofing is completely bogus!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I plan to buy a new 1991 Plymouth Voyager or Dodge Caravan within the next few months. What is your opinion regarding rust proofing these days, and on this model in particular?

TOM: Well, Kim, our friends over at Consumer Reports believe that rust proofing is completely unnecessary.

RAY: And we agree with them in part. New cars today, including the Caravan and Voyager, come off the assembly line with much better rust protection than they used to have. There's much more galvanized steel used, and more double zinc coating.

TOM: The Chrysler minivans also come with a seven year/100,000 mile outer body rust-through warranty. That actually sounds better than it is, since the vehicle has to literally rust all the way through before they'll fix it. So you may find yourself in the driveway with the electric drill, helping those holes along after six and a half years. Of course, they may question why your car rusted in perfect circles, so be ready with a creative response.

RAY: But the truth is, most cars don't really rust through in six or seven years anymore (and it's been our observation that American cars tend to hold up better than foreign cars in this regard). So for most people, rust proofing really is unnecessary.

TOM: The people who should consider rust proofing are either those who plan to keep their cars longer than that, or those who live in areas where rust is a particular problem (like where it snows a lot and they use salt on the roads).

RAY: If that's you, Kim, make sure you find a shop that specializes in rust proofing. It's an easy job to screw up, and a bad application of rust proofing can block up your drain holes, and may be worse than no rust proofing at all. But in our opinion, a well done rust proofing job can never hurt.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One