You may be happy that you live in a country that is known for its clement weather, which makes it easier to look after the general condition of your car on a monthly basis. You may never have thought twice about rust and especially damage to the underside of your vehicle, as surely this is something that only happens in frigid "northern" countries where snow and salt are an issue. However, even in Australia, damage to the underbody of your vehicle can be a real problem. Why is this, and what can you do about it?
Why Rust Is an Issue
Certainly, snowstorms and consequent driving problems are a rare occurrence in Australia, but that does not mean that the road surface is always perfectly kind to the underside of your vehicle. It also doesn't mean that salt is never present, as it tends to be thick in the air in coastal communities.
Are You Vulnerable?
You would be surprised how damage can build up out of sight beneath your vehicle and how rust can set in as a consequence. If you do a lot of off-roading, or if you live in a rural location where the average road is not sealed, then you should be paying attention to your vehicle's underframe. As previously mentioned, if you live in a coastal community, you should be aware of the potential for rust, even if all of the roads in your area are sealed.
Having a Look
Put your car up on jacks and have a look underneath, and you may be surprised at what you find. If you do see the presence of rust, then you have several steps ahead of you in order to fix the situation.
What You Can Do
Depending on the severity of the problem, you may decide to physically remove what you can see using a lot of elbow grease, wire brushes or sandpaper. If the problem is particularly significant, you may be able to use abrasive blasting as an option, although this can be particularly messy.
If you'd rather have it a little easier, then you can buy one of several chemically-based products available on the market, using phosphoric acid. You can apply this liquid to all of the various nooks and crannies on the underside of the vehicle, but you should take some care, as the solution can irritate your skin.
You could decide to leave the rust in place and seal it off so that more of it does not form. To do this, you have to encapsulate what is there so that the rust is deprived of the oxygen that it needs in order to form. The existing rust will be converted chemically into a durable layer, and some products allow you to top coat with paint, as well.
Rolling up Your Sleeves
Have a word with your parts supplier, for additional advice on how to handle underbody repairs.