Getting to know corrosion   

The Motor Ombudsman’s Information Line deals with many enquiries from consumers relating to vehicle corrosion. This week’s “Getting to Know” guide focuses on what it is, what the cause is and what can be done by motorists to help prevent it.


What is corrosion and what is it caused by?


When the iron contained within the steel panels of a car and oxygen mix with air or water, rust begins to develop. In time, rust will overwhelm the iron and cause it to disintegrate.


Corrosion can be costly from a financial point of view and will inevitably shorten the overall lifespan and value of a car.


What are the different types of corrosion?


Through corrosion or perforation, is corrosion forming from inside a metal panel which is rusting from the inside of the panel and works its way through the panel from inside to out.


Surface corrosion can be caused by factors such as stone chips or scratches.


How can you help to prevent corrosion?


There are several things that motorists can do to help prevent corrosion:


  • Wash the car every couple of weeks to help ensure that the paint stays clean and free of chips.
  • Wash the vehicle every week to help prevent exterior damage if the roads are wet of have been gritted because of snow and ice.
  • Pay attention to spills on the inside of the vehicle or spots on the exterior that stay wet.


At the end of the day, regular care and maintenance will enhance the appearance of the vehicle and extend the life of the bodywork. This is all essential for ensuring the continued effectiveness of the level of protection against corrosion.


What about the anti-corrosion or perforation warranty?


Many vehicle manufacturers offer an anti-corrosion warranty with a new car, and the length of this varies according to the brand (i.e. it could be six or 12 years). To keep the warranty valid, a vehicle manufacturer’s authorised repairer will carry out a corrosion inspection during a car’s annual service, and should stamp the anti-corrosion warranty section of the service book as well as the servicing schedule.


To find your local Motor Ombudsman-accredited franchised car dealership or independent garage to treat corrosion, visit The Motor Ombudsman’s online Garage Finder.


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