We use rust-preventing sprays

April 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I am responding to Ed Gonfindini’s concern regarding rust on his vehicles (December). We in the “Great White North” have a solution. Many of my car friends and I have our cars sprayed either at Rust Check or at Krown Rust Control. We have this done for an annual cost of about $120. These companies coat the entire underbody and all body cavities with a material that adheres to metal and repels salt and water.

At a car club meeting I witnessed a demonstration by a Rust Check franchise owner. He put a bare piece of automotive metal in a beaker of water and then added their rust proofing material. It sank through the water and coated the metal. When the metal was removed, the water was beaded on the surfaces.

I am a believer because our 1986 Plymouth Reliant K car is virtually rust free after serving nearly 25 years on the salty Toronto streets.


I like your use of the word “virtually,” as in your 1986 Plymouth Reliant is “virtually rust free” after nearly 25 years on the salty streets of Toronto.

You have to say that because all K cars left the assembly plant with a bit of rust already dialed in.

While properly applied, high-quality rust proofing/rust barriers can very effectively prevent or minimize rust; they do have certain clear drawbacks.

For one thing, they do, in the opinion of many people, detract from the appearance and original configuration of a collector car, and can be absolutely miserable to remove if you so desire in the future. And second, if they are not properly applied they can actually accelerate corrosion by creating pockets where water can accumulate and by clogging drain holes and thus preventing water from exiting boxed chassis members and other places it accumulates.

Regarding a previous reader’s question about rusty metal and wax-based rust preventatives, I have past memories of my dad’s brand-new 1967 Comet 202. A friend of his was working at Buckler’s Auto Body Shop in Hyannis, Massachusetts. He applied a black waxy product called Ziebart to the entire underbody, floors, internal structure and engine compartment. Holes were drilled into the rocker panels and doors and anywhere the applicator wand would fit. Then yellow plastic caps with the Ziebart logo were placed in the holes.

A number of years later I saw the car in town and it was kind of beat up but it had no rust.

Rusty Jones was another brand of rust preventative advertised on TV. I bought a new 1982 Toyota pickup with it already applied. After several years it started to rust from our salty winter roads. I removed the upholstered door panels and the tailgate’s inner metal panel and saw that a stripe of the rust preventative was on the metal from the spray wand process—a real slapdash job. I guess it all depends on who is doing the work.

More on rust...

Ziebart International Corp. was founded in 1959 to market what was then an innovative rust prevention system for cars and trucks. Numerous other companies, including Rusty Jones, also offered their own version of automotive rust “proofing.”

Many, including Ziebart, franchised their materials and application tools and techniques and it sounds as though Buckler’s Auto Body Shop, where your father brought his Comet, was a Ziebart franchisee.

In general, I believe that the rust inhibiting material that Ziebart and some of the others use does work as advertised, but it’s ultimately only as good as the job done by the person applying it.

As you say, it does, in fact, depend on who is doing the work. It also depends on the condition of the metal it’s supposed to protect. If the metal is not reasonably clean the rust preventative will not adhere well or won’t adhere at all and as such it won’t provide any protection. And, unfortunately, the person applying the material has an incentive to get the work done in the shortest time possible using as little material as possible. The fact that you can’t see all the hidden places where the material is supposed to be doesn’t help matters. Furthermore, if the application fails to prevent rust it’ll normally be years down the road before you know it, and that doesn’t help either.

Ed Gonfindini had a valid question about using wax-based rust proofing compounds. In New England, where I grew up, thrifty Yankee farmers used to wipe their tractors down with kerosene. When the kerosene evaporated, it left a thin coating of paraffin wax that protected their equipment from rust. Waxoyl (http://www.waxoyl.com/en/) is a compound of waxy particulates suspended in mineral oil, and it has been used for decades in Europe for rust proofing. It reportedly penetrates rust and bonds to the metal underneath, significantly slowing the progress of the rust. It never hardens, and creeps into seams to exclude water. It can be applied under a car or sprayed into cavities and blind box sections. I found shops in New York and Massachusetts that apply Waxoyl or it can be applied by the hobbyist at home.

http://randallsautobodyny.com/ran- dallsautobodyny_rust-waxoyl.htm (New York), http://www.robisonservice.com/ servicedep/waxoyl.asp (Massachusetts).

Another old but effective rust-proofing treatment is Texaco Rustproof Compound L, invented in 1939 and still an effective method of metal protection. Compound L, like Waxoyl, never hardens and creeps into joints and crevices. Overspray can be removed with kerosene. As you said, drain holes must be cleared if the rust proofer plugs them.

More on rust...

As always, even the best rust inhibitor is only as good as the thoroughness of the application. If you don’t know an experienced professional applicator who you trust and has the facilities and ambition to apply Waxoyl or any other rust preventer then I recommend that you do it yourself to guarantee that the job is done right.

In the December issue a reader was looking for a wax-based product to prevent corrosion. The answer may be found in the aviation industry as corrosion preventative compounds have been used on aircraft for decades.

Two of the many products available in the aviation industry may be purchased in

aerosol cans from your local Grainger or an Aviation industrial supply business. They are LPS-3 and Cor-ban 35. Cor-ban 35 is a ZIP CHEM product.

Another excellent product is Dinatrol. This uses a pneumatic wand with a multidirectional spray head to apply the product. This would be the best unit to use because the wand can get into all the nasty little areas that an aerosol cannot get into such as unibody frame rails. However, the application tool would be cost prohibitive for most hobbyists. Any aircraft overhaul shop could perform a Dinatrol application on your car but some butt-kissing may be required.

All of these products require a clean, contaminant-free surface prior to application. These products work best when applied over a good top coat, such as Rust Encapsulator or a good epoxy primer, but may be applied over bare metal provided frequent reapplications occur. A coat of 1.5 to 2.0 mills is recommended for most of these products. Remember to tape off all the surfaces where you don’t want the compound. Also, wear a respirator and Tyvek suit. This stuff is sticky until it cures.

Reapplication of corrosion preventative compounds in the aviation industry occurs every 18 months to two years. However, commercial aircraft will see many more “air miles” in corrosive environments than any collector car will ever see in a lifetime so reapplication may not need to be done as frequently and should be done at your discretion. I hope this information helps the readers of this fine publication.

More on rust...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with your fellow readers. I suspect that application of corrosion inhibitors by an aircraft overhaul shop would normally be cost prohibitive because everything to do with aircraft maintenance and repair costs quite a bit more than comparable parts and procedures in land vehicles. Even so, some readers may want to investigate this further so the information you’ve provided could prove useful.