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Rust can be a nightmare for car owners. The most common cause of rust is too much moisture resulting from continued exposure to rain or snow. Cars can also get rusty due to old age or not being properly covered. If you don’t own a garage, your car can be exposed to many harmful pollutants in the air as well as bad weather conditions.

Rust is easy to avoid if you’re prepared to deal with it. Cars can accumulate rust all year, especially in the winter. Here are a few ways to prevent your car from rusting.

Use ceramic coating

Waxing your car used to be the best way to reduce exterior damage, but now most auto shops recommend ceramic coating as a more powerful, cost-effective alternative. This liquid polymer can be applied to the vehicle’s paint. Ceramic coating bonds with the paint and will not break down even under severe conditions.

Cars must be waxed every few months, but with ceramic coating, you won’t need to apply it again for up to three years. In milder climates, it could last even longer.

Wash your car

Too much dirt on your car can make rust accumulate faster. You should wash your car at least once every other week, no matter what season it is. You can do this by hand or take your vehicle through a car wash.

Watch for salt

Salt is one of the biggest contributors to rust. When combined with water, the metal on your car will corrode faster. This is why rusting is more common in winter, since the roads are covered in rock salt. You may want to wash your car once a week during the colder months. (This doesn’t mean your car is safe from rust if you live next to a beach. Salt from the sand can still make its way to roads.)

Use anti-rust spray

If you see a little rust accumulating on your car, the best thing do to is to treat it right away before it spreads. If caught in time, you won’t have to take your car to the shop or replace the rusted part. Any area where the paint is bubbling is usually a sign of rust.

First, clean the area and let it air dry. Once the area is free of any moisture, you can apply anti-rust spray. This is a good alternative if you can’t afford regular waxing or ceramic coating. Once applied, the spray can protect your car for up to one year.

Keep drain plugs clear

Drain plugs are often overlooked when caring for your car, but checking them can help prevent rust. These plugs can become clogged with debris, which will allow water to accumulate. When you wash your car, remember to check drain plugs and clean them out if needed. You can find these under your car doors and along the edges of the trunk and hood.

Keep your car interior dry

When your car interior gets wet, there’s a good possibility the moisture will spread to the exterior. To prevent this, thoroughly wipe down any wet surfaces inside your car with a towel. If you have any spills inside of your vehicle, soak them up as soon as possible; the spill will be more difficult to clean if left unattended. You should use a towel to get the majority of the moisture out, then allow the car to air dry.