Aaron Widmar
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How to Spot Signs of Underlying Rust on a Car

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signs of underlying rust in car body damage metal

Body damage could results in exposed metal underneath becoming rusted
Photo: The News Wheel

Just because a car isn’t covered in orange spots doesn’t mean it isn’t rusting. The oxidation can be happening in hidden places that aren’t obvious to notice. To recognize the presence of the oxidation and deterioration, follow our guide to spotting underlying rust on a car.

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How to spot underlying rust on a car

Bubbles: A major indication of underlying rust on a car is if you see the exterior paint bubbling. A scattering of bumps along a segment of paint—usually on or near the rocker panel—isn’t an innocuous occurrence. That’s the pain losing adherence to the metal underneath because water and air have gathered in that bubble to oxidize the metal. If you see

Puddles: If you see water damage on the carpet (either the cabin or trunk), there’s a good chance the metal underneath has festered and rusted. Pull back the fabric and see if rust has formed on the metal underneath.

Body damage: Because the wax and paint has been scraped away from spots on the car bearing scratches or dents, it’s probable that rust is starting to develop there. Inspect how severe the damage to the paint is and investigate how long it’s been exposed to predict the likelihood of the metal rusting.

Non-matching paint: If there are round spots or strips of paint along the wheel wells, door frames, and rocker panels of the car that doesn’t match the quality and color of original paint, you might be looking at rust. If you’re inspecting a vehicle formerly in another owner’s possession, that person may have painted over rust to hide it. Look at it in the sunlight and feel the texture to identify the rough, flaking presence of rust.

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