Rust is a cancer that eats away at a vehicle if it’s not stopped. Gerrie van Eeden visited Robby Cohen, the owner of Rustguard Panelbeaters in Paarden Island, Cape Town, to see what can be done.

What causes metal to rust?

You might not remember, but this is something they teach in primary school science. When an iron-based metal comes in contact with oxygen and water, oxidation occurs. Oxidation is the liberation of electrons from the metal. Iron thus becomes iron oxide… also called rust.
In a perfect world the paint on the metal is supposed to prevent rust. Another option is to have the metal galvanised, but this can raise the cost of the vehicle significantly. “Even aluminium is not safe,” Robby says.

“I have seen Land Rover Discos with rust.” The Cape’s climate is certainly not metal-friendly. You get different degrees of rust, ranging from small rust spots to extensive corrosion. Your course of action will obviously depend on how badly the vehicle is rusted.

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