How to protect your freshly-imported rust-free car from corrosion in the U.K.
Updated: Jun 1, 2019
Over the last 20 years, we've seen a lot of Japanese Imports meet their untimely demise, from owners not having properly protected their cars once they started using them in the U.K.
(See our other recent article, which describes typical areas where corrosion sets in).
Some assume that undersealing cars is the best way to protect them, but in our experience, this is not necessarily the case. Tar-based underseal can seal in dirt, moisture and initial corrosion and allow it to continue to develop whilst hidden beneath, until finally, large chunks of underseal begin to flake off, revealing alarming amounts of corrosion behind.
Much better, in our experience – is to protect fresh imports with Dinitrol rust protection wax or Nitromors Waxoyl, or other. There are many similar products, which offer a solvent-based wax treatment that penetrates, lubricates and protects, whilst repelling moisture. Although initially smelly, the solvent dries off to leave a protective wax layer that has a similar effect to coating bare steel with grease.
This treatment should be completed at least once, but very thoroughly to ensure all cavities are sprayed and coated.
For customers' & our own cars where this work is carried out - we ensure all door cavities, pillars, chassis box sections and side sills are treated and any other components we know are likely to corrode, if not protected. Provided this work is carried out thoroughly and to a professional standard using high-pressure injection/spraying equipment, then your car will be a lot better protected for years ahead. Whilst it won't hurt to re-apply this treatment every autumn (before winter weather and salt, grit, etc. are commonly spread on U.K. roads), it's not essential.
As they're the most exposed, it's best to re-apply treatment to all exposed chassis components annually.
This would maximise protection and also helps stop nuts and bolts seizing into place from corrosion, thus making maintenance a lot easier.
Remember also, that the wet, salty grimy spray you see coating your windscreen when driving behind other cars in winter is exactly the same as what your car's intercooler (if applicable), radiator and engine bay are also exposed to, but often not cleaned – which explains why engine bay contents often corrode! Therefore, after cleaning your engine bay thoroughly with professional products, it's a good idea to protect the front panel, radiators, battery trays, inner wings, etc. with a suitable anti-corrosive spray.
IMPORTANT. Be extra careful of spraying flammable substances on areas that are prone to getting very hot, such as turbo exhaust housings and other exhaust components, as this may lead to fire and loss of your car.
Occasionally spraying the engine and surrounding areas with light machine oil from a can, is worth doing from time to time, for the added protection this offers.
Remember also, that a jet wash can be used to spray off layers of moisture-trapping dirt from wheel arches, exhausts, etc. This should be done almost as often as you wash the bodywork. You might be surprised to see just how much dirt can get trapped on the underside of your car!
If you look after your car to preserve and keep it running well, it'll repay you by retaining its value and avoid costly repairs & restorative work that can otherwise develop!