If you’ve ever wondered why your vehicle today doesn’t rust as Belmont, Brougham, Kingswood, Falcons, Toranas, or Geminis did, or why it doesn’t develop those rusty blisters, it’s because they are thermally treated with anti-corrosion coating technology. Galvanization, the application of a protective zinc coating to iron or steel to prevent corrosion, is one of the numerous rust prevention techniques available.
For the Past Three Decades or So, Cars Have Been Galvanized
Remember how severely vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s got eaten away by rust? This problem went away swiftly. Have you ever been mystified as to why? This is due to the fact that the steel used in modern cars is hot-dip galvanized at the end of the manufacturing process.
Rust is the ultimate outcome of corrosion, which happens when iron interacts with air and water. It eats through your car’s metal. When the time comes to sell, merely mentioning the term “rust” may reduce its value in the eyes of prospective purchasers. Rust may corrode the metal in your engine compartment, weaken the mounts for your exhaust system, and compromise the trunk region, resulting in air leaks and leaving your trunk susceptible to water leaks. Otherwise stated, rust reduces the amount of time your vehicle may be used. Modern cars are already rustproofed from the factory. Rust-proofing works by coating the steel with a compound that inhibits oxidation.
Nowadays, the majority of cars are made of rust-resistant materials such as aluminum, polycarbonate, carbon fiber, and magnesium. This not only improves overall fuel efficiency and makes them far more lightweight, but less vulnerable to corrosive pollutants as well. So, if you purchased your vehicle brand new, rustproofing was a major upsell.
Sacrificial Anode: When Zinc Meets Iron
If you reside in areas where the roads are salted and the snow comes down in droves, the disadvantage is that salt is an excellent electrolyte and accelerates the corrosion process. For as long as zinc is present, it will preserve the steel.
Coating the entire surface of the steel with a thin layer of zinc, not only prevent the steel surface from contacting atmospheric oxygen, but also results in an electrolytic reaction between the zinc and iron in the steel. Known as a sacrificial anode, this process is used to protect metal surfaces that suffer long-term exposure to different environmental loads. It is credited with significantly reducing automotive rust. Zinc is more electrochemically active than steel, therefore it sacrifices itself so the steel may live longer without succumbing to rust.
The most common method for adding an anticorrosive primer to mass-produced, new car bodywork is electroplating baths. This technique is much less expensive to apply, which is why many manufacturers employ it to cover their vehicles’ bodywork. The vehicle body is put in a galvanic bath containing a zinc solution, which is the core of the technique. Then, with voltage supplied, two conductors are connected to the body and the bathroom. As a consequence, the zinc particles in the solution melt and form a thin coating on the metal.
Mercedes and BMW produced some of the most effective electroplating solutions. These producers add a zinc coating to the body’s surface with a thickness of 9-15 microns. In terms of effectiveness and endurance, such a thick anti-corrosion coating may even compete with the thermally applied layer. However, the above-mentioned brands are not the only ones having galvanized bodywork. Honda, Lexus, and Toyota are also equipped with this technology. Some Toyota vehicle models need particular consideration since the business historically paid little attention to anti-corrosion treatment.
Owners of Certain Toyota Cars Manufactured between 2003 and 2009 Should Inspect the Undercarriage
Back in 2016, Toyota agreed to set up a $3.4 billion fund to pay a settlement for 2005-2001 Toyota Tacomas, 2005-2008 Sequoias, and 2007-2008 Tundras, totaling possibly 1.5 million Toyota vehicles. Despite the fact that they denied liability, they did issue a recall. The fourth-generation 4Runner manufactured between 2003 and 2009 hazardous now joined the litigation, headed by plaintiff Gary Weinreich, who purchased a new Toyota 4Runner in 2005 and discovered significant rust in 2011. In 2018, his 4Runner’s front steering control arm broke, forcing him to go off the road. According to the lawsuit, when Weinreich complained about excessive corrosion, Toyota allegedly disregarded his concerns.
The issue with the 4Runner is that its sprung weight is being supported by corroded components. As a result, it will eventually give way and decay. Anyone inside a vehicle with a corroded frame faces a serious safety risk. Additionally, a corroded or broken frame is often sufficient to justify a salvage title, which reduces the vehicle’s resale value. Even after repairs, the vehicle will not be as strong as it was before the corrosion damage occurred.
The rusting issues were caused by auto parts maker Dana Holding Corp. manufacturing the frames incorrectly. Although Toyota prevailed in a multimillion-dollar case against Dana Corp as a result, they end up in the red due to the high number of frames that need replacement.
About the Author:
With a few decades of experience as a Director of Claims, Jonathan Sharp is responsible for the logging, maintenance, and processing of claims at the Environmental Litigation Group, P.C., a law firm located on Birmingham’s Southside that has substantial experience in assisting their clients in seeking compensation for the harm that resulted from the use of defective products and long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals such as asbestos, paraquat, and PFAS, among many others.
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