Chemical reactions part two: Rusty nuts, bolts, and vehicles in the Midwest

Paul Comstock from Flickr \ CC BY 2.0

We wrote about rusty cookware not too long ago. What about rusty cars, trucks, or motorcycles that live in the Midwest.

The Midwest, especially in Illinois, is called the rust belt.

It is not uncommon for vehicles under 10 years old to show signs of rust. Why?

During an Illinois winter, icy roads usually have salt put on them. The salt melts away the ice and all is good.

Except your vehicle tires kick up the salt and it hangs around on your vehicle. Under your chassis, under your body work.

Unless are very diligent to wash your car everyday, which is downright impossible when it is below freezing during a portion of the winter, that salt eats away at the metal on your car. You won’t notice it at first. The rust begins on the inside and works its way out.

By the time you see the rust, it is too late. The metal is soft when you push on it and it will be a hole if you push too hard.

The same holds true about bolts and nuts on your vehicle. Those nuts and bolts rust.

Sometimes a long breaker bar, some penetrating oil, and brute force can loosen them. Other times, you have to cut the bolt or nut. This can mean you need to use a tap and die set like this one to redo the nut and / or bolt.

Example: Changing a muffler can be tough on a car that spent its lifetime in Illinois. The pipes are rusted together. It is often best to cut them out and redo the entire exhaust.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *