What’s the Best Method to Prevent Rust in the Wheel Wells of a Snow-Driven Subaru Outback?

As Subaru enthusiasts, it is a well-known fact that rust has the potential to be the nemesis of any car. It’s especially true when you own a Subaru Outback that frequently treads on salt-laden winter roads. The wheel wells, being the first line of defense in blocking the high-velocity salt and water mixture from the road, are most vulnerable to rusting. But before you fret, let’s guide you through some effective methods to prevent rust from wrecking your beloved Subaru.

Understanding Why Wheel Wells Rust

Rust, or iron oxide, is a result of an electrochemical reaction known as corrosion. When iron, water, and oxygen combine, you get this notorious reddish-brown flaky substance that can eat away at your Subaru’s body metal. The wheel wells of your Subaru are particularly prone to this due to their close proximity to the road.

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Driving on winter roads accelerates this process. The salt used to de-ice roads during winter lowers the freezing point of water and makes it possible for water to stay in its liquid form. This salty water can stick to the undercarriage of your vehicle, including the wheel wells, promoting rust formation.

Choosing the Right Subaru for Winter Roads

When planning to drive on winter roads, it’s essential to choose a Subaru model that is well-equipped for snowy conditions. If you look into the Subaru forum discussions, you will often find the Crosstrek and Forester being praised for their performance in winter conditions. Their impressive ground clearance and symmetrical all-wheel drive make them good choices for winter driving.

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However, being good winter performers doesn’t make these cars immune to rusting. The rear wheel wells, in particular, tend to collect a lot of road salt. So, irrespective of the make and model, consistent rust prevention measures are crucial for all Subaru cars.

Adopting Preventive Measures

Preventing rust before it starts is easier than getting rid of it once it’s set in. Here are some methods you can adopt to keep your Subaru rust-free.

Regular Cleaning: It may seem simple, but this is the most effective way to prevent rust. Cleaning your Subaru, especially the wheel wells, every week during winter can significantly reduce rust formation. Pay attention to the rear wheel wells as they tend to collect more road salt.

Application of Rust-proofing Agents: Several rust-proofing agents are available in the market that can create a protective shield on your car’s body. These sprays and coatings seal the metal, preventing water and air from reaching it. Apply these agents liberally to the wheel wells for maximum protection.

Physical Barriers: Mud flaps and wheel well liners can provide an additional layer of protection. They prevent road salt and water from getting sprayed directly onto the metal.

Seeking Professional Help

While the above steps can be carried out by any Subaru owner, there are some procedures best left to professionals. One such method is rust proofing.

Rust proofing involves spraying a rust-inhibiting solution into all the hidden nooks and crannies of your vehicle’s undercarriage. Professionals use a specialized tool to ensure the solution reaches every corner of the wheel wells. This method is quite effective and lasts for years, offering comprehensive protection against rust.

If you notice any signs of rust on your Subaru, it’s recommended to seek professional help immediately. They can assess the extent of the damage and suggest appropriate steps for repair and prevention.

Remember that prevention is always better than cure. So, take these measures in time to ensure that your Subaru stays in good shape for years.

The Role of Service Parts and Fluid Film in Rust Prevention

Service parts play a critical role when it comes to maintaining the structural integrity of your Subaru. These parts often include mud flaps, wheel well liners, and heat shields. These components serve as a physical barrier, protecting the more susceptible areas of your vehicle, such as the wheel wells, from direct contact with road salt and water.

One of the products that forum members highly recommend is Fluid Film. It is a non-toxic, long-lasting rust and corrosion inhibitor. Application of Fluid Film to your wheel wells can create a barrier that prevents moisture and oxygen from reaching the metal. It is especially useful for Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester owners who drive frequently in winter conditions.

It is a good idea to use heavy-duty brushes for the application of Fluid Film to ensure every inch of the wheel wells is covered. Remember to apply it liberally for maximum protection. Still, Fluid Film is not a one-time application. Regular reapplication, as advised by technical forums, is crucial to keep the protection intact.

If you’re not confident about doing it yourself, it’s always a safe bet to visit a service center. Professional technicians have the right tools and expertise to carry out this task effectively.

In Conclusion: Keeping Your Subaru Rust-Free

Owning a Subaru Outback or a Subaru Forester doesn’t have to mean a constant battle with rust, even if you frequently travel on salt-laden winter roads. The key to keeping your vehicle rust-free lies in taking preventive measures and periodic maintenance.

Remember to regularly clean your Subaru, especially the wheel wells. Usage of rust-proofing agents like Fluid Film and physical barriers such as mud flaps and wheel well liners will provide an added layer of protection.

In case of any signs of surface rust, it’s vital to get it checked out by a professional at a service center immediately. They can assess the degree of damage and suggest the best course of action.

It’s evident from various forums general discussion that prevention is paramount. So, make sure to act promptly and decisively to keep your Subaru looking as good as new for many years to come.

In the words of many Subaru enthusiasts, once rust sets in, it’s a constant battle. The idea is not to let it begin in the first place. So, don’t wait for the rust to click expand, take preventive action today. Remember, a rust-free Subaru is not just about appearance and body; it’s about ensuring a safe and comfortable driving experience.