Once it's already occurred, rust damage is incredibly hard to control and correct. That's why preventing rust is the best solution. Vehicles are naturally protected against rust by their exterior paint and protective coatings, but any time these coatings are damaged, there can be issues. Rust will slowly spread in a car, weakening it and potentially requiring the replacement of parts.
Auto Body Repair Following an Accident
Timely accident repair is critical to protecting against rust damage. It's very easy for a vehicle's exterior paint job to become scratched, scuffed, or entirely removed during an accident. Once this happens, rust can easily get into the metal of the car, causing significant issues. An auto body and collision shop can repair the exterior of your vehicle so that the rust cannot get in. Sometimes temporary measures can be used if you aren't yet prepared to complete all necessary accident repair -- a protective primer, for instance, can be applied to temporarily create a water-safe barrier.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance
Apart from car accident repair, car owners can protect their car from rust damage by washing and maintaining it. Grit, bird droppings, and even dust can eventually damage a vehicle's paint job over time. If you live in an area near saltwater, the salt can also create corrosion and potentially damage your vehicle. A thorough cleaning will also give you the opportunity to inspect your car for any damage that you might not have noticed, such as scratches from rocks kicked up on the highway. Even pulling up a small dent in your vehicle could lead to rust, if the paint job was damaged.
Insurance Repair for Rust
Even though rust may originate from a vehicle accident or other covered issue, it's very rare (if not impossible) for a claimant to get an insurance repair for rust. Car accident repair, on the other hand, is covered -- which is another reason why it's so important to prevent rust and to consult with an auto body and paint or auto body repair shop as soon as possible. Rust that appears over time, rather than due to a collision, is considered to be ordinary wear-and-tear of the vehicle.
If you live in an area that is more prone to rusting -- such as a coastline, or an area with particularly rough terrain -- you may want to consult with your local auto body and paint shop to find out more about prevention. There are ways that you can protect your vehicle further, such as protective coatings.