Undercoating is something a lot of people like to do with their vehicle to protect the underneath.
Whether you live somewhere ice-melting chemicals are used or the roads are salted, or not, it’s still important to protect your car from rust and corrosion on the underside.
Basically, undercoating refers to the vehicle exterior while rust-proofing refers to the inside.
For the sake of this guide, we will use the word undercoating but if you’re having this work done, ask whether they will apply the treatment on the inside or outside.
Everything underneath the car needs to work properly in order for you to be driving safely. You don’t see the underside of the car every day so it’s easy to forget to ensure it’s protected.
There are pros and cons to vehicle undercoating so let’s take a look at these.
That way, you will be able to determine whether vehicle undercoating is worthwhile for you or not.
Vehicle Undercoating Pros
Let’s look at some of the vehicle undercoating pros.
1) Protection Against Corrosion and Rust
Undercoating offers a layer of protection against corrosion and rust. Any debris will be repelled by the undercoating.
You can expect years of protection from undercoating although it wears out in the end. This is the reason why the process is popular.
A car is a large investment so it pays to take the best care of it you can.
2) Extend the Life Of Your Vehicle
It will extend the life of your car. Undercoating stops rust.
Corrosion isn’t just about causing an issue with the metal under your car but it can also get into cables and wires – in fact anything made of aluminum or steel can be affected including the engine and transmission.
3) Cover Small Damages
You can undercoat damaged parts of the car such as scratches, chips and nicks caused by debris flying up as you drive.
Modern undercoating can cover small areas of damage.
4) You Can Do It Yourself
You have the choice of undercoating your own vehicle or getting it done professionally.
It is perhaps best to get the professionals to do it if you have the budget. It can cost more than $1500 at the shop depending on the type of car you have.
Doing it yourself can reduce this cost by some 90% although it can be messy to do.
5) Many Options
There are different methods to choose from. One is electronic which is used to stop the corrosion of rust already present.
Then you have standard undercoating which applies a thick, tar-like substance.
Another option is dripless oil spray with fills the body of the vehicle with something wax-like and then sets hard.
Finally there is the drip-oil way which can drip for up to 2 days after application and this is the most common method used by car dealerships.
6) Reduce Noise Inside Your Car
Undercoating your vehicle can reduce noise inside the car while you’re driving.
The coating creates a sound barrier meaning the interior of the car will be quieter.
Vehicle Undercoating Cons
And here are some cons of vehicle undercoating:
1) It’s Not Effective on Cars With Corrosion
If your vehicle already has some corrosion it isn’t as effective.
Applying undercoat over rust means that although you’re stopping more moisture and airflow to the rusted area, the rusting process will still keep happening.
An undercoat will slow down the corrosion rather than reverse or stop it. You should attempt to remove the rust before applying an undercoat.
This isn’t always easy though, since rust can penetrate deeply into the metal, so encapsulating the rust and then applying an undercoat could be a waste of money.
2) Doesn’t Work So Well On Old Cars
Undercoating doesn’t work so well on old cars because the residue from under the car has to be removed before the undercoating is applied.
If you don’t remove the debris first, the already-present debris will be sealed in.
3) It’s Useless On New Cars
Undercoating might not be wise if you tend to change cars every few years, since it takes between 3 and 5 years before rust starts to show.
In fact it might be 10 years before your car is affected in any way at all by corrosion.
This means if you get a new car every few years then undercoating it would be a waste of money because it simply isn’t required.
4) Your Vehicle’s Warranty Might Be Voided
Your vehicle’s warranty might be voided if you opt for a third-party undercoating treatment.
Some new cars already come with undercoating so adding anything else risks your warranty.
5) It Makes Your Vehicle Heavier
It makes the vehicle 10 to 20 pounds heavier which affects fuel economy (how far you can travel on one tank of gas).
This is negligible in terms of fuel costs but still something to bear in mind.
6) It Can Be Damaged
Undercoating can be damaged.
Although you can expect a hard layer of protection against debris, driving on dirty or gravel roads often means the protective layer’s integrity will be reduced over time.
7) It Can Be Expensive
Reapply it every 3 to 5 years. This is the only way to ensure your vehicle is protected properly.
Since it can cost $1500 to get the undercoating professionally applied, this is quite a big cost to do it regularly.
Is It a Good Idea to Undercoat an RV?
Actually, undercoating an RV is just as important (or maybe more so) than undercoating a car.
This is because cars have tubular frames and sealed areas while RVs are constructed on top of a trailer frame or open rolling chassis.
This type of frame is highly accessible which makes it much easier to undercoat the exposed parts.
Undercoating offers protection against stress, heat, condensation, and noise. It doesn’t have to be applied every year so it’s a great choice to protect your RV.
Although some vehicles can be benefitted with an undercoat, not ever car needs it. It’s important to figure out whether or not undercoating is a good idea.
Remember also that you can do your own vehicle undercoating. This is the cheapest way but it can also void the active warranty, so check the details first.
It is a good idea to inspect your undercoating, or have the dealership do it, on a yearly basis to check for any issues with the integrity.