Did you know that rust is the number one killer of cars in Canada? Snow, ice, and salt work together to create rust, slowly eating away at your car, causing vital parts to fail and damaging the vehicle’s structural integrity.
Applying a rust-proofing solution to your vehicle’s frame is one of the best ways to save money on repairs and help your vehicle last longer.
With the high cost of new cars, rust-proofing is more important than ever.
Below, I’ll compare the best rust-proofing options in Canada, give you some helpful tips on rust prevention, and outline some of the pros and cons of various rust-prevention solutions.
Rust: The #1 Destroyer Of Cars In Canada
Let’s start with a bit of chemistry…
- Iron oxide, or rust, happens when ferrous metal (iron-based) begins to oxidize. This process occurs as metals are exposed to oxygen and electrolytes, such as salt and moisture.
- In the presence of an electrolyte, the electrons in metal surfaces move into the oxygen molecules, creating negatively-charged oxygen molecules and resulting in a corrosive layer of surface rust, which gradually grows deeper.
We can’t escape oxygen, as it’s around us all the time. Plus, oxygen, by itself, isn’t the issue. For rust to form, the metal must also be exposed to salt and water.
Many parts of Canada see up to six months of snow (and copious amounts of road salt) per year. Unfortunately, this is the perfect cocktail of ingredients for rust to flourish.
Rust inhibitors help to prevent corrosion by preventing oxygen, water (snow/ice), and salt from coming into direct contact with the metal. Rust-proofing solutions are applied to the underside of the vehicle’s body and frame, the floor pan, the gas tank, and other key components.
- Related Reading: What To Do After You Total Your Car
3 Best Rust-Proofing Options In Canada: Compared
There are a number of rust-proofing products on the market competing as the “best rust-proofing service.” While they all serve similar purposes, they each come with their own prospective benefits and drawbacks.
Below, I’ll break down three of the most noteworthy rust-proofing solutions in Canada:
- Rust Check
- Corrosion Free
I’ll go over treatment periods, explain each company’s warranty, and outline some of their pros and cons, so you can get your car protected.
1. Rust Check Rust Treatment
- Treatment Required: Must be applied once a year
With over 50 years of experience in the automotive rust protection industry, Rust Check has built a strong reputation for delivering effective and long-lasting results.
Rust Check treatment typically costs $120 to $150 per application, depending on the size and type of your vehicle.
The Rust Check rust-proofing process involves a two-step annual treatment, which consists of:
- Applying a liquid penetrant to the vehicle’s body. The liquid penetrant is designed to seep into tight seams and crevices, displacing moisture and providing protection in hard-to-reach areas.
- Next, a thicker protective coating is applied. This coat is formulated to adhere to metal surfaces, creating a barrier against moisture and corrosive elements. This thick, oily layer penetrates tight seams, allowing it to coat the entire underside.
This dual-layer protection ensures that your vehicle stays free from rust and corrosion for longer periods. While the annual treatment schedule may seem inconvenient, it ensures continuous protection and allows you to check for rust damage once a year.
Rust Check’s ability to displace moisture and penetrate even the tightest spaces helps ensure your vehicle remains protected from rust, increasing its lifespan and maintaining its resale value.
The main downside to Rust Check is that the liquid can drip from the vehicle for a few days after application, which can be messy.
The oil drippage won’t damage your driveway or garage floor, but it will definitely leave some unsightly stains. If you use Rust Check, just be aware of where you park.
Rust Check offers a one-year warranty on each application that can be renewed annually. This warranty covers you against any rust-related repairs due to rust making its way through the protective coating. The warranty can be applied to all cars less than one year old, and some models that are up to three years old.
- Applied annually, which makes it easy to schedule applications
- One-year warranty available for newer vehicles
- Can penetrate tight spaces
- Rust Check has been in business for over 50 years
- May drip and make a mess for two to three days after application
- Some competitors have longer application intervals
2. Krown Car Rust Protection
- Treatment Required: Must be applied once a year
Established in 1986, Krown is one of the leading rust-proofing solutions on the market, and you’ll find a number of auto repair and body shops offering Krown rust-proofing services.
Krown utilizes a petroleum-based rust inhibitor, which is applied to the vehicle using a high-pressure spray technique.
This ensures that the rust inhibitor penetrates deep into the tightest seams and crevices, displacing moisture and forming a protective barrier against corrosive elements.
Like Rust Check, Krown rust-proofing treatment typically ranges between $120 and $150 per application and must be re-applied annually.
Krown’s formula is also environmentally friendly and contains no solvents or toxic chemicals that could run off into the soil or waterways. This makes it a great solution for anybody trying to reduce their environmental impact.
The solution is also non-flammable and non-reactive, meaning that you don’t have to worry about overspray into the engine bay, exhaust, and other high-temperature areas.
Unfortunately, like Rust Check, you should expect heavy drippage for a few days after application. Since it’s a petroleum-based product, the drippage will stain any lighter-coloured concrete that you park over. You can mitigate this by parking over some cardboard sheets or a tarp.
Krown’s warranty is similar to Rust Check. The company offers a one-year warranty on brand-new cars that were manufactured within the past 12 months and have had Krown solutions applied within six months of their manufacturing date.
If you keep up with regular Krown treatments (once a year) and don’t go over 30 days past your scheduled re-coat, the warranty will transfer to another year.
- Environmentally-safe and non-toxic
- Non-flammable and non-reactive
- Transferrable warranty if you keep up with annual service
- Gets into tight spaces
- Expect heavy drippage for two to three days after coating
3. Corrosion Free Rust Proofing Solution
- Treatment Required: Once every 18 months
Corrosion Free is a newer player on the market and was launched in 1995.
While Krown and Rust Check are very close competitors, Corrosion Free is in a league of its own. Corrosion Free’s advanced formula lasts longer than both of its competitors, allowing vehicle owners to go up to 18 months between recoats. Some of the company’s products can even last 24 months between recoats.
The disadvantage of Corrosion Free is that it’s generally more costly to apply, with recoats ranging between $150 and $200.
The Corrosion Free rust-proofing process uses a clear, drip-free, and odourless formula, which sets it apart from other rust-proofing services. It’s also eco-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about runoff in your driveway or in city drains.
Aside from inhibiting rust, Corrosion Free’s unique formula also protects your car’s plastic and vinyl panels from UV damage, helping them maintain a clean, dark finish and preventing fading.
One of the standout features of Corrosion Free’s formula is that it can help to eliminate existing rust. Corrosion Free centres also offer a subscription program that allows you to return and receive free treatment of any paint or rust chips that may occur throughout the year.
The main drawback of Corrosion Free is that it can be challenging to find service providers since it is not as widely available as Rust Check and Krown.
Corrosion Free arguably has the best warranty in the industry. Unlike its competitors which only warranty brand-new cars (less than a year old), Corrosion Free warranties cars up to three years old.
In addition to undercarriage damage, the company’s warranty also covers damage to:
- Fuel tanks
- Hydraulic brake lines
- Emergency brake lines
- Fuel lines
- Provides 18 to 24 months of protection
- Protects plastic and vinyl panels from UV damage
- Doesn’t leave an oily residue
- Warranties vehicles up to three years old
- Solution can eliminate existing surface rust
- More expensive than Krown and Rust Check
- Harder to find certified application centres
Types Of Rust Proofing Options In Canada
Now that you’ve had a chance to compare three of Canada’s top rust-proofing options, let’s look at the various types of rust-proofing solutions you may come across.
Electronic Rust Protection
Electronic rust protection is a relatively new technology in the automotive field, but it has been used by the oil industry since the 1930s. It’s based on the principle of cathodic protection, which is commonly used to protect submerged metal structures like ships and pipelines from corrosion.
A small device attached to the car’s frame generates a weak electric current, creating a protective electrostatic field on the vehicle’s metal surfaces.
When the electronic rust prevention device is installed and activated, it emits a low-voltage electric charge, interrupting the reaction that causes rust formation.
While electronic rust prevention is considered more environmentally friendly than chemical-based treatments, its overall effectiveness is still debatable.
- Doesn’t need to be reapplied like traditional coatings
- Uses low-voltage electricity to prevent rust from forming
- Requires constant electrical connection
- Isn’t 100% effective in auto applications
Tar-Based Rust Protection
Tar-based sprays were some of the first rust-proofing solutions on the market. Essentially, shops would spray the undercoating of a vehicle in a thick tar that would harden over time, providing long-lasting protection to the car’s frame.
Very few shops use this method now, as it’s outdated. Also, the thick tar can interfere with some of the more delicate components of today’s modern cars.
- Provides long-lasting protection
- It is very thick and messy
- Can interfere with modern car sensors
Drip Oil Spray
Oil-based drip sprays like Krown and Rust Check are the most popular solutions on the market. Since they’re petroleum-based, they’re all-natural and relatively eco-friendly. Due to their low viscosity, these solutions provide excellent penetrating benefits and get into all of the nooks and crannies, providing superior protection.
The only disadvantage is that these solutions drip heavily for several days after application.
- Superior protection and penetration
- Very messy
Dripless sprays like Corrosion Free are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they’re largely odourless and far cleaner. These dripless sprays also last longer and don’t leave any oily residue.
That being said, they must be applied correctly. Improper application may leave some parts of the car unprotected, as the solution is more viscous and won’t naturally “drip” into all of the seams and crevices.
- Longer-lasting protection
- No odours
- No drips
- More expensive than other treatments
- Must be applied correctly
Other Tips To Prevent Rust On Your Car
Here are a few helpful tips for preventing rust that you should do in addition to a rust-proofing coat:
- Wash Your Car Often: Washing your car’s body panels (and undercarriage) will free it from salt and other corrosives.
- Take Care Of Paint Chips Immediately: Rust often enters through paint chips, creating bubbles that lead to deeper rust.
- Apply Paint Protection Film (PPF): Clear vinyl strips can be applied to the front of your vehicle, where paint chips are more likely to occur.
- Purchase A Portable Garage: If you don’t have a garage, consider setting up a tent-style garage or building an aluminum garage overhang to keep your car from getting covered in ice and snow.
Rust Protection: FAQs
Still have some questions? Here are a few quick answers.
Can You Rust Proof A Car Yourself?
Although some self-applicable rust-proofing products are on the market, these may not give you the best results. I recommend going to a shop that’s certified in applying a specific type of solution.
How Much Does Rust Proofing Cost?
Depending on the solution you want and the size of your vehicle, annual rust-proofing can cost between $150 and $250.
Is Rust Proofing Worth It?
Rust-proofing can help your car’s undercarriage and vital components last for years longer, saving you thousands of dollars in repairs. So, I’d say it’s definitely worth it.
The Verdict – What’s The Best Rust Proofing Solution In Canada?
Compared to Krown and Rust Check, I’d have to say that Corrosion Free is vastly superior. Although it can cost a bit more, the coating lasts 50% longer, doesn’t drip, protects vinyl/plastic, and can eliminate existing rust. Plus, they have a far better warranty program.
Rust-proofing can help you save big on repairs and maintenance related to corrosion. Looking for even more great ways to save? Check out my ultimate guide to living frugal and saving money next!