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3 things to look for, 3 things to do to prevent car rust

Bubbling paint indicates rust is working its way into the body of your car. Chips in the paint let in the salty ocean air and should be immediately sealed.

Rust rots, causing deterioration of your car's metal parts and its resale value. And once a rust hole starts, it can't be stopped, only slowed down, warn the experts. When living near the ocean, the battle against rust must be fought by regularly checking for chipped paint where salt and water can creep in to combine and destroy. It's important to keep your car clean — especially the undercarriage and wheel wells — if you live by the ocean.

A common challenge for coastal mechanics, rust first attacks undercarriages, wheel wells, suspensions and brake systems. The best mechanics tackle the problem by doing full inspections of all vehicles that come into the shop, no matter why they are there.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

To keep your car safe from rust, you will need to supplement the inspections done by your mechanic. Rust must be treated immediately and aggressively.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

When examining your car for rust, look for:

1. Bubbles or blisters in the paint

2. Rusted areas in the engine or trunk

3. Rust form in the wheel wells and undercarriage

WHAT TO DO

1. Fix paint problems quickly. Clean chips and apply touch-up paint or clear nail polish.

2. Remove rust from the underside of your car with high-powered spray. Put a sprinkler under your car or use the hose from a manual car wash.

3. Shampoo your rugs often to remove salt from carpet fibers. Clean the upholstery, too.

DOES RUSTPROOFING WORK?

You also can rustproof your car with a lubricant such as Jig-A-Loo, or paint it with a rustproof coating — although, if your car is 5 years or older, it's too late. Rust usually sets in about the five-year mark.

The best prevention comes from a water hose. The experts recommend washing your car, including the undercarriage, at least once a week.

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