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how can rust be preventedThere’s no worse feeling than discovering rust on your vehicle. It may appear as a brown spot on your fender or even a bubble in your car’s paint along one of the door panels. No matter how it appears, rust is an unwelcome sight. It signifies that the iron or steel in your vehicle has begun to corrode, weakening the structural integrity and safety of your vehicle. Furthermore, the presence of rust on your vehicle can also prohibit certain vehicle maintenance from occurring like windshield or window replacements. That’s why the Smiley’s Glass team has put together this guide to help you navigate the different kinds of rust that may appear on your vehicle so you can react appropriately before the problem gets out of hand.

Rust and Vehicle Glass

If you have a cracked windshield or window that needs replacement, it can be extremely tricky to repair if you also have rust occurring on your vehicle. One of the most problematic areas to find rust on your vehicle is in your windshield pinch weld. The pinch weld is the small groove that a vehicle’s windshield fits into. If this rusts, you’re at a much higher risk of injury in the event of a car accident. Without a secure windshield, the windshield glass is more likely to crack, shatter or fall out of place altogether. Rust around your windshield or window glass can also create holes which can allow moisture to enter your vehicle. Over time, you may notice the smell of mold and/or mildew in your car. This puts your health at risk as mold is known to be very harmful when inhaled.

If you do need a windshield or window replacement, it can end up being much more costly if there is rust present. Often times, the glass technician will not be able to install the new glass properly until the rusted areas have been fixed to support the structural integrity of the new glass panel. With the presence of rust near the glass, your quick windshield replacement can turn into a much larger, more expensive job.

Types of Rust on Cars

When discussing how rust affects the integrity of your vehicle, it’s important to outline the different types of rust that may appear on your vehicle. That way, you can have a better understanding of the severity of the problem at hand.

The first kind of rust you should know about is surface rust. This type of rust is fairly self-explanatory. Surface rust is rust that occurs on the exterior surfaces of your vehicle, typically in areas like paint chips, bubbles, nicks or scratches. To fix surface rust, an auto body specialist will sand off the rust and any surrounding paint before adding a new layer of primer and paint to your vehicle. This is a very low-cost solution that is a far better option than waiting and replacing the entire panel later on.

The second type of rust that you may notice on your vehicle is scale rust. Scale rust is the term used to describe rust that has began to corrupt the surface of the affected metal, reducing its structural integrity. Scale rust primarily affects exposed steel on your vehicle and can be rapidly accelerated by the accidental addition of salts or electrolytes, which speed up the chemical reaction that causes rust. Scale rust is typically more common on vehicles that primarily drive in colder climates where salt covers the roadways, or in coastal areas where the wind carries salt spray from the ocean onto land. Fixing scale rust is similar to fixing surface rust but the technician will need to cut deeper into your vehicle’s exterior panels in order to make sure all of the rust has been removed.

Penetrating rust is the worst kind of rust you can have on your vehicle. It occurs when scale rust or even surface rust is left untreated for long periods of time. Penetrating rust occurs when the rust has fully corroded through the steel of your vehicle, transforming it into brittle iron oxide and creating holes in the steel components of your vehicle. Once rust has decayed your vehicle to this point, the only options for repair are difficult and costly. You can either replace the affected part altogether or try to have it patched. Either option requires far more time, money, and effort than simply repairing initial surface rust when it is first noticed.

If you notice any of these types of rust forming anywhere on your vehicle, you should take action right away. Conduct regular inspections of your vehicle and cover spots that have worn bare. This will help keep rust from advancing further and causing additional damage. If you do notice any rust, contact a body shop and have it repaired immediately. It can save you a lot of time and money later on when you need other body work done on your vehicle.


The easiest way to prevent rust from forming on any surface of your vehicle is to wash it regularly and check for any rust damage. Take note of any scratches in your body paint and repair them immediately before rust can form. It’s also important to regularly clean out the drain holes on the bottom of doors and rocker panels. That way, you can ensure that no moisture is building up behind the metal panels of your vehicle. If possible, keep your vehicle parked in a clean, dry spot and remember to remove any excess road salt in the winter time.

Whether you suspect rust around your windshield or window glass or simply have a small leak or crack in the glass of your vehicle, contact the Smiley’s Glass team today. With each passing day the problem is sure to worsen, so act quickly! Our team of professionals at Smiley’s Glass can easily be reached by dialing (804) 320-7172.

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Richmond, VA 23225


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