The underside of a vehicle is a hotbed of rust and other damage. Water, salt, oil, and other vehicular fluids wreak havoc on a vehicle’s metal frame, and rust and corrosion is not only unsightly; it can also cause the breakdown of parts and entire systems. Car undercoatings can protect your vehicle, a significant investment.
Is Undercoating Your Vehicle a Good Idea?
American vehicle owners shell out approximately $3 billion collectively every year for repairs made necessary by rust damage and corrosion caused by de-icing elements. This minimizes the integrity of a vehicle’s frame, cutting its lifetime short and reducing its value.
Car undercoatings serve as a physical protective barrier between the vehicle and the elements. They block out corrosive elements and keep the underside of a vehicle fresh and free of cracks or leaks. Undercoatings and other methods for rustproofing can extend a vehicle’s life, especially if you live in an environment with a lot of dust or rock salt laid out for icy weather. Moreover, a good undercoating can cut down on exterior road noise, giving you a better driving experience.
How Long Do Car Undercoatings Last?
The lifespan of your car undercoating depends on the kind of material used, how much exposure to the elements it receives, and whether it was applied professionally or as a DIY project. Applying a new layer each year is a sound way to protect your vehicle without compromising the underbelly.
When Should You Undercoat Your Vehicle?
If you want to protect your vehicle to the best effect, the best time to apply a car undercoating is when the vehicle is new. At that point, no corrosion, debris, residue, or leakage has affected the frame’s structural integrity. Even if the vehicle is not new, these things must be completely cleared away before the undercoating is applied.
Rust must be completely removed before the coatings are applied because it can spread like wildfire once the process begins. If you neglect to repair rust damage before applying a car undercoating (or paint for that matter), you will only trap moisture below the surface and allow the oxidation process to continue.
What Are Undercoatings Made of?
When it comes to materials for vehicular undercoatings, you have your pick. From traditional rubberized hard undercoatings to softer oil-based undercoatings, each material has its pros and cons. When choosing the right one for your vehicle, you must take into account the application process and the kind of use your vehicle experiences.
Car undercoatings traditionally come in hard rubber. They are relatively easy to apply, and the tough material makes them the best choice for reducing sounds from the road. The material dries to a soft rubbery finish that offers protection from moisture, dust, rust, and dings or dents. Rubber is safe to use on both quarter panels and wheel wells, and because it is so sturdy it can be easily painted over.
Polyurethane-based sealant is another material you can use to seal your vehicle’s undercarriage. It is quicker and easier to apply than traditional rubber undercoatings. It is also more effective for complete coverage, seeping into seams and cracks. Polyurethane-based sealant is easy to sand away when you want to have body work performed on your vehicle, allowing for easy painting.
Perhaps the biggest downside to polyurethane-based sealant is the amount of prep work required before applying it. The metal of the vehicle’s frame should be sanded and treated with etching primer.
Undercarriage sealants also come in wax or paraffin. These car undercoatings are the cheapest and quickest option available. Unfortunately, this also makes them the least durable option, requiring them to be reapplied at least once every year.
Asphalt undercoatings are not typically available for class D vehicles but are effective for heavy machinery and large trucks. These coatings, usually laced with rubberized material to soften road noise, are extra durable and extra tough. This is necessary for trucks which travel thousands of miles every year or other vehicles that traverse rough terrain. Asphalt undercoatings need significant time to cure and are not paintable.
Undercoating Your Vehicle with Layton Car Care
It is possible to apply car undercoatings to your own vehicle, but for best results, we recommend letting the professionals handle it. At Layton Car Care, we offer only the best detailing services to keep your vehicle in the best condition possible. Come see us today to take care of your car for the long haul.