Rust never sleeps:
“Rust never sleeps” is the saying. Equally as important as repairing rust, is protecting against rust returning in the future. So what are the best rust prevention products?
First, it’s important to understand how rust works. Rust is a form of oxidation which happens only in ferrous metals – that is to say, metals that contain iron, such as the mild steel that most vehicles are made of. Stainless steel doesn’t contain iron, and neither does aluminum, which is why those metals don’t rust.
When water and oxygen contact iron, a chemical reaction occurs, which converts the iron to an oxide. This chemical reaction begins as “surface rust,” which is a discoloration of the surface of the steel, then turns to “pitting”, then “flakes” and “bubbles”. Finally, holes appear, commonly called “cancer.” Although rust is not a living organism, it could be thought of as feeding on water and oxygen. So this presents the key to preventing rust: isolating the metal from water and oxygen. This isolation is called “hermetically sealing” metal – just like corks and wax have been used for centuries to hermetically seal wine bottles.
In order to hermetically seal metal, a coating needs to be applied which is waterproof. One of the most common coatings used in high quality restorations is POR-15. This is a product that has been around for many years, and has proven itself effective in preventing rust. It can be sprayed or brushed on, and takes many hours to dry – all the while bubbling off gases as it bonds with the metal. At Evolve, we use POR-15 frequently, such as when we drill holes to install emblems and we want to seal the edges of the holes against moisture.
Another product we use at Evolve is cavity wax. This product is crucial to sealing off the insides of panels, where paint can’t reach. 3M makes a superior cavity wax that is sprayed at high pressure through a 3-foot wand. This wand can penetrate deep into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible, and deliver a thick coating of wax. We allow the wax to drip out of drain holes, and clean up the residue. Many new cars are treated with cavity wax from the factory, although classic cars were not, since they were not expected to be preserved and admired decades later.
At Evolve, we warranty all our workmanship for life. So we use the best products and methods to prevent rust. For example, we use a variety of primers, in layers, to protect car bodies. These layers include epoxy, polyester, and urethane-based coatings. The variety of these coatings provides superior protection compared with using only one type of coating. Water and other contaminants cannot penetrate all the way through these various layers. This and many other proprietary methods developed over the years are an integral part of what we do, in service of keeping these beautiful cars on the road for decades.