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Autoport in Eastern Passage, N.S. (file photo). (Tim Krochak/Tim Krochak/CP PHOTO)
Autoport in Eastern Passage, N.S. (file photo). (Tim Krochak/Tim Krochak/CP PHOTO)

You & Your Car

In the Maritimes, rust never sleeps Add to ...

I recently moved from Edmonton to Halifax with my girlfriend. I brought my 2003 Dodge Durango and she brought her 2010 VW Rabbit. How can we protect and maintain our cars from the salt and rust? – Justin from Halifax

Move back to the west. Seriously, the Maritime provinces are known throughout the global auto industry as perhaps the worst spot in North America when it comes to rust.

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I’ve witnessed cars at Autoport in Dartmouth that have been off the boat from Europe for less than 24 hours and the brake rotors have a thin layer of rust. Many manufacturers have used the region for testing steel from various suppliers to see which holds up best.

The problem is the amount of salt in the air and the constant temperature variations just above and below the freezing point that create condensation. It doesn’t get cold and stay there.

A couple of decades ago manufacturers switched to galvanized steel. This is the theory you should keep in mind – a protective layer over bare steel. Most parts of a modern vehicle are painted or galvanized, in other words, protected.

If you see even a tiny scratch or area where the paint or other coating has been compromised – get at it right away, cleaning to the bare metal and applying a protective layer. There is no sense spending good money to apply any aftermarket coating to parts of the vehicle that are already protected.

Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions to Globe Drive experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com

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