Rust - one of those four-letter words that every off-roader despises for the problems it can cause to an aging off-road truck. The more fun we have with our trucks and the more abuse they take, the more rust we see on them as they get older. It is a natural process, after all: rusting nuts and bolts, frame and suspension, even bumpers and brakes. Of course more than mere aesthetics, rust should be avoided as much as possible to keep a truck off-road safe.
Break Free and Lubricate
Nuts, bolts, and screws are particularly susceptible to rust over time, especially on an off-road truck that gets dirty a lot. While some parts are better off when they can’t come loose, others aren't, like wheel nuts and any other parts that need to be accessible or replaced often. Break those bolts loose if they’re already rusted using a rust removal product, then clean them up with some light sandpaper or an abrasive pad.
Before replacing, spread some anti-seize on the threads to ensure easy turning the next time you need to get those bolts off. Just make sure to frequently check the tightness of these bolts so they don’t accidentally come loose.
Undercoat That Undercarriage
The underside of the truck is one of the main areas where rust can take over if not detected for a while. A great way to slow down this process is to use an undercoating to prevent or reduce rust. Start off by doing a thorough cleaning of the undercarriage, then coat it with something that will protect against future rusting. Use a rust protectant paint or any product made specifically for preventing rust on vehicles.
Some may opt for a professional undercarriage coating for an off-road truck; however, that can make working on the truck a little more challenging afterward. The bottom line is, anything that sits between the bare steel and the elements and mud can help prevent rust. Cheaper options may need more frequent applications, but every little bit will help.
Keep A Clean Machine
Getting dirty is half the fun of off-roading, isn’t it? But at the end of the day or at least the next day, it’s really important to give that truck a good cleaning from the headlights mounted on the front bumper to its rear aftermarket truck bumpers. Letting a truck stay dirty after a day of mudding or off-roading is an open invitation to rust taking over.
To prevent continual rust damage, every off-road truck needs a thorough cleaning and inspection after a day in the dirt. Not only does this slow the corrosion process that comes naturally with all vehicles, it also gives you an opportunity to check you off-roading Jeep for damage - rust or otherwise - that needs to be repaired before you head out again. Once the truck is squeaky clean, if the undercarriage needs another spray of rust coat, it’ll be easy to touch it up right then and there.
When it comes to off-road trucks, rust is most definitely a four-letter word that nobody likes to hear. It’s an issue that, when let go, will eventually claim the frame or other essential parts on that truck. Rather than allowing rust to take over, make rust prevention a part of routine cleaning and off-road truck maintenance. By keeping your truck clean, from front truck bumpers to rear truck bumpers, between outings and keeping susceptible parts well-coated and lubricated, you can win the battle against rust or at least prolong the life of your prized off-road truck. That nasty four-letter word is one that’ll never be said again!