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Preventing Corrosion: What Your Vehicle Can't Tell You

Dec 24, 2007
If you live in a state where snow and ice covers the ground each winter, you're probably well aware of just how necessary it is to de-ice the roads. Since the 1930s, when salt was originally realized to work for this purpose, agencies have been using this tried and true method to keep roads safe for driving. Salt works because of its natural ability to melt ice without adding too many harsh chemicals to the environment. But salt is, as we've all seen evidence of, quite corrosive and over time, it can cause vehicles to rust, shortening their life spans.

Beginning in 1976, NACE International (formerly the National Association of Corrosion Engineers), based in Houston, Texas, routinely started to study corrosion rates on older vehicles. At that time, 90% of vehicles six years old or older had rust damage. Most of that rust could be attributed to de-icing (although living near bodies of salt water where the air has a higher salt content was also a key factor).

Manufacturers of automobiles saw a need to improve cars being sold in coastal areas and the snowbelt region of the United States. They started to make improvements which included stainless steel exhaust systems; anodic electrodeposition primer; galvanized steel wheelhouses; crystal-size phosphate for better corrosion resistance; anti-chip body coatings; weatherpac electrical connectors; and two-sided pre-coated steel products.

The combination of these improvements aided in reducing rust perforation from 90% in the mid 70s to only 20 percent in 1980. Further work on rust prevention reduced the amount of rusty 6-year-old cars to only six percent ten years later. The significant developments in rust-prevention that were responsible for this drop, also led to improved corrosion warranties.

The key to making sure you're not one of the six percent is to buy a car with a better-than-average anti-corrosion warranty. Warranties tell you something about the confidence a manufacturer has in the car it produces, because if they started losing money on warranties, they'd change the warranty to average out their costs. For example, Isuzu offers a 6-year/100,000 mile warranty against perforation from corrosion. That's 20% better than the typical 5-year warranty. If you aren't certain that you'll trade your vehicle in or sell it after five years, it's better to purchase one with a better warranty to keep you protected.

Improvements to vehicles in the area of perforation-prevention have had other positive effects. Not only does it help the consumer by extending the life of the vehicle, it also allows scarce dollars for highway maintenance to be used for something other than the development of alternative de-icers. Those dollars can now be spent on road maintenance (which reduces accidents and fatalities), more snowplows to clear roads more quickly after intense periods of snowfall, and on additional laborers which reduces unemployment and improves the economy.

Arming your car with a good anti-corrosion warranty means you needn't worry about driving on salted streets. You can rest assured that your vehicle is protected. And with de-iced streets, your vehicle can more effectively protect you and your passengers.
About the Author
Most truck buyers opt for a crew cab . But newer model Isuzu extended cab models are catching peoples eye. Stop by a dealer today and test drive your next truck.
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