car with rust

Should I Buy a Car that Has Rust?

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Are you thinking about buying a car that has rust on its body? Perhaps it’s a great deal and you’re not looking to spend a lot, but you’re worried that the rust could indicate a bigger problem. So should you buy a vehicle that has rust or should you make a hard pass? 

Rust happens when the metal in your car mixes with oxygen or water. Even if it doesn’t look that bad, rust can spread quickly and become a big problem. Not to mention, it’s a pretty bad eyesore. So the short answer to whether or not you should purchase a vehicle that has rust is ‘no.’

That said, there are different types of rust, and sometimes, there are spots that can be repaired. Let’s look closer at the variations in rust and which ones to steer clear of. 

Stages of Rust Explained 

Rust formation happens in four stages. The stage of the rust matters because there are different corrective actions to take.

  • Stage 0. This stage is ideal because it means there are no signs of rust such as paint bubbling or cracking. You can keep your car in this stage by keeping it clean and removing contaminate agents. 
  • Stage 1. This stage is called ‘surface rust’ and it happens when rust forms on the top layer of the car’s surface. You may notice signs like brown, black or white patches. Thankfully, this type of rust is easy to fix. However, if you ignore the rust, it will grow into a bigger problem.
  • Stage 2. At this stage, degradation has begun. This ‘scale rust’ phase is characterized by visible bubbling on the painted area of the car. This is caused from a reaction between the iron and oxygen.
  • Stage 3. The most advanced stage is the ‘penetrating rust’ stage where the rust has penetrated through the metallic components. In order to fix this problem, the whole entire body panel will need to be replaced. This isn’t an easy or cost-effective repair. 

Your Best Bet…Look for Cars with Rust-Free Body Panels

If you’re looking for a used or repossessed car and one pops up in your price range but has some rust, proceed with caution. It’s possible that the rust is only in Stage 1 and can be fixed. Ask a mechanic to look over the vehicle and provide you with their professional opinion. 

If the rust is any further than a Stage 1, it’s best to look into a different car. Once rust gets beneath the car’s surface, it’s going to spread like wildfire. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to shop for cars! For a great selection of used and repossessed vehicles at affordable prices, shop with RepoFinder