How To Prevent And Repair Rust On Your RV's Undercarriage

Posted on: 20 February 2015

Rust is a major enemy to your RV. It eats through metal and can weaken the entire frame of the vehicle. Your best offense is prompt defense – know what leads to rust and how you can prevent it from attacking. If you already have a rust issue, prompt repair can keep your RV like new.

Causes of Rust

Several things can result in rust on your RV. These include:

  • Collision damage. Any exposed metal on your RV, whether it's metal siding, the bumper, or the hitch, can develop rust once the paint and clear coat are scraped off. Even a minor dent can eventually develop rust if it's not promptly repaired.

  • Road salt in snowy areas can lead to rust on the frame and undercarriage of the RV.

  • RVs that frequently spend time in ocean areas are exposed to salt in the air moisture, which can cause undercarriage and frame rust.

Prevention

The best prevention is to keep metal protected under a coat of paint. This means touching up small exterior scratches with a touch-up automotive paint and having big dents professionally repaired.

For the undercarriage, climb beneath the RV periodically when it's safely parked. Perform a full visual inspection and locate any new rust as soon as it begins to form. Rinsing off the undercarriage with clear water after driving on salted roads or once a month in areas near salt water will also prevent rust from forming. Baking soda can also help neutralize salt, so mix a box with your wash water before spraying the undercarriage.

Repair

If you find small patches of rust, you can fix them yourself if the area is small. Simply scrub off the rust with a stiff wire brush, and then paint the exposed metal with a rust-inhibiting paint.

For severe rust, which covers a large percentage of the frame or has begun to cause pitting or scaling on the metal, a body shop like Central Body Co Inc is your best repair option. They will fully sand the frame to remove rust and smooth out any damage. Once this is complete, the entire frame is painted with a rust-resistant primer. A final coat of paint is then applied.

A new paint job protects the undercarriage for many years, unless fresh damage occurs that scrapes off the protective coatings. Once the rust is repaired, check the RV once a year for damage if you don't live in a salty area or once monthly if you do have salt concerns.

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