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you & your car

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

I own a 2007 Mazda RX8 with only 28,000 km on the odometer. I rarely drive it during the winter and it is always garaged. I am disgusted with the way the brake rotors rust so easily. I can park it for a few weeks and when I go to move it the brakes are so rusted it takes some effort and then a loud "crack" as they break free followed by that awful scraping sound as the wheels move. I have tried moving the car a few feet every week or so, pushing it by hand to prevent this but the rotors still rust. Do other cars do this? – Mark

Heck, yes. At the Autoport in Dartmouth, N.S., where virtually all European cars first touch Canadian soil, it is not uncommon to see rusted rotors on brand-new cars – whether they be Volkswagens or Porsches, BMWs or Audis, Mercedes or Jaguars.

Devil rust knows no boundaries. The degree of rust and speed at which it occurs is affected by the composition of the brake rotor and pads – but none are immune.

Where possible, try to eliminate as much moisture as possible. Use a dehumidifier in the area where the vehicle will be stored. Do not wash and immediately put the vehicle away. This ensures a goodly supply of the moisture necessary to encourage rust.

Try to drive the vehicle at least 10 kilometres before putting it away. This will get the fluids up to operating temperature and boil off moisture that may have collected there and also get the brakes up to temp, drying them off.

As you approach the garage, go for one last heavy brake application to generate heat and drive away as much moisture as possible.

Lastly, never apply the parking brake as it may become rusted in place.

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