Protecting and Preserving Your Auto Parts: Tips for DIY Mechanics

How to Ensure That Your Off-Road Vehicle Is Protected from Rust

If you like the great outdoors and plan on doing some exploration this year, you may have recently bought a used Jeep (or similar vehicle) that you plan on taking into the wilderness. You may not have spent a lot of money on this vehicle and understand that it's not in perfect condition, but you do want to prepare it as much as possible for the rigours that you're likely to encounter. In particular, you need to protect the underbody from any additional corrosion, which can be particularly problematic after a few muddy trips. What do you need to do?


Firstly, you need to determine the condition of the vehicle as it is and then get ready for a long weekend of work. This is something that anybody can do, although it is relatively messy and quite labour-intensive.

Make sure that you can lift the vehicle up as high as possible, and always ensure that it is resting on axle stands and never simply the jack itself. Wear protective clothing, especially some tightfitting goggles to cover your eyes.

Step-By-Step Process

Firstly, attach some wire wheel brushes to a cordless drill and remember to charge some spare batteries. You need to access as much of the underbody as you possibly can at this stage and remove existing rust, but before you start, you may have to take some protective skid plates away so that you can get into those difficult-to-reach places.

Once you've completed this stage, use some standard soap and a power washer to clean the entire area as carefully as you can. You don't want any caked mud to remain, prior to the next phase.

You will then need to cover the entire area with rust reforming spray. This is commercially available in large cans and is relatively inexpensive. You may, however, have to give this two coatings and will probably have to wait for up to a day before the first coat dries sufficiently.

Once you are happy that the rust reforming spray is dry, you can apply under coating, which is typically made from rubberised asphalt. You can apply this liberally and should refer to the instructions to see if you need to give the underbody more than one coat.

Make sure that you let everything dry properly before you even think about driving the vehicle around, especially on off-road terrain, as otherwise mud or stones could stick permanently to the underside of the vehicle.

Where to Stock Up

You should be able to get all of the solutions necessary to renovate the underneath of your new vehicle from your auto-parts store. A long weekend of work should set you up nicely for many years of pleasure ahead. Contact a mechanic to learn more about underbody repairs.