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Everything You Need to Know About Corrosion Warranties 

2019-08-06

When automobiles were first created, experienced technicians would drill holes into their metal sheet panels in order to implement rust protection. The logic behind the process was that in order to fully reach and seep through the welded and sealed materials, there needed to be unrestricted access to them. Although the debate between the benefits and disadvantages of drilling holes into auto parts still takes place, the creation of oil-based sprays that do not require drillings, such as WD-40, has greatly influenced the automotive industry. Now, decades later, just like the market for anti-corrosion and rust protection products has grown so have the interests and concerns of potential car customers.  

Drivers have become more knowledgeable about the negative impact that surroundings can have on the machines and more demanding of the services that can prevent these impacts. Consecutively, car manufacturers have added Corrosion Warranties into their basic contracts. The concept attempts to demonstrate that even though brands trust their products they are willing to repair or replace auto parts where corrosion took place. However, since these contracts can get extremely regulated and vary a lot from case to case, Direct Auto Mall has decided to create this detailed guide explaining Everything You Need to Know About Corrosion Warranties.   

What are the types of Corrosion Warranties? 

Corrosion Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (so we recommend that you research what your specific car manufacturer offers). However, there are three basic denominations that manufacturers, dealerships and extended warranty companies use when referring to types of corrosion. 

(Keep in mind that brand manufacturers sometimes use the names and terminologies differently). 

Rust Perforation & Surface Corrosion 

Most manufacturers and dealerships warranties only cover Rust Perforation. It specifically takes place when any metal sheet panels rust through the inside to the outside of the car. For that reason, it is also known as “Rust-Through” or “In-Out Perforation.” 

A few brands also refer to Surface Corrosion as a result of Rust Perforation (when the chemicals breach through the inner panels of the car body and corrodes its surface).  

However, Surface Corrosion can also apply to any sort of rust damage appearing on the surface of the car. Even though such cases are somewhat rare, given the rust/corrosion proofing automobiles undergo nowadays, a few manufacturers will offer Surface Corrosion coverage as a part of New Vehicle Warranties. Such contracts imply that manufacturers will be responsible for any sort of superficial damage only caused by defective material or erroneous workmanship. 

Cosmetic Corrosion 

“Cosmetic” Corrosion is the term given to all types of damages that happen to the exposed parts of the car (including the underbody) due to foreign impact. They are usually covered as add-on warranties by extended warranty companies.  

To learn more about “Cosmetic” Corrosion Warranty click here. (link to extended warranty article) 

What Causes it? 

Different types of corrosion and rust-through can be caused due to: 

  • External and Natural Elements:  
  • Water 
  • Mud 
  • Sand 
  • Hail
  • Acid Rain  
  • Airborne Fallouts (Rock Chips, Peebles, Debris etc.) 
  • Sunlight Exposure (and Other Natural Exposures) 
  • Fires  
  • Chemicals 
  • Gases 
  • Industrial Fallouts  
  • Most Frequented Environment: 
  • Deserts 
  • Coastal Environments (due to sand and salt) 
  • Snow season (due to road-salt) 
  • Owner’s Accountability 
  • Accidents 
  • Owner’s Negligence (lack of maintenance, misuse, etc.) 
  • Vehicle Alteration 

In addition, the driver carrying any corrosive substances (such as fertilizers, deicing salt, chemicals, etc.), should certify that the products are properly packaged and sealed in order to avoid leakages. Warranty providers will deny corrosion coverage due to leakages as such.   

How to Prevent it? 

Rust Perforation, Surface Corrosion and even “Cosmetic” Corrosion can leave severely noticeable marks on the exterior body of the vehicle. However, drivers should also be mindful of the gradual and dangerous impact that they can have on the inner elements of the car such as its mechanical, tech and safety features. Therefore, Direct Auto Mall has combined a list of a few measures drivers can take in order to prevent Rust and Corrosion 

  • The underbody of the vehicle must be washed (with unsalted water) at least once a year (preferably during the warmer seasons, to avoid freezing). By doing so, the car will be cleaned off the sediments that it has accumulated during the year (such as sand, mud, salt, chemicals, etc.) 
  • Drivers should inspect the exterior of the vehicle as much as possible (we suggest that you do so monthly) in order to detect any potential rust, corrosion, scratches in the paint, etc. Upon identifying any chips, drivers should take the vehicle to your local mechanic, as the protective coating of the vehicle might have been compromised.   

Direct Auto Mall offers these services to all its customers. 

  • We do not encourage drivers to apply additional corrosion/rust-proofing products themselves. While being operated, the vehicle could overheat and even cause a fire if these substances are applied incorrectly or in improper parts.  
  • We also recommend that drivers install stone guards if they frequently drive on rocky roads 

List of Corrosion Warranties Offered by Known Brands 

Even though most of the Rust Perforation/Surface Corrosion Warranties cover damages that took place between the first 5 to 10 years and offer unlimited mileage terms (whichever comes first), the regulations vary between different manufacturers.  

The information that does not tend to vary is:  

  • Any body part repaired or replaced under the warranty is covered only for the remaining amount of time in the original years of coverage 
  • Warranties begin on the date that the vehicle was first put into use, either as being delivered to the first purchaser, being leased or being used as a company or a demonstrator vehicle.  
  • The decision to repair, rather than replace, any body part will be made by the manufacturer. The same applies to paint matching after parts of the vehicle were repaired or replaced 
  • The warranty does not apply to body parts that were repaired or replaced after the retail sale of the vehicle, unless those specific parts were repaired or replaced under the warranty. 
Car Brand  Rust Perforation  Surface Corrosion  “Cosmetic” Corrosion  Term Lenght Limit  Mileage Limit  Link 
Acura        5 years  Unlimited   
Audi        12 years  Unlimited  link 
BMW        12 years   Unlimited  link 
Cadillac    x    6 years  Unlimited  link 
        4 years  50,000 miles   
Chevrolet    x    6 years  100,000 miles  link 
        3 years  36,000 miles   
Chrysler        2 years  Unlimited  link 
Dodge        2 years  Unlimited  link 
Fiat        2 years  Unlimited  link 
Ford    x    5 years  Unlimited  link 
      x  1 year  12,000 miles   
GMC    x    3 years  36,000 miles  link 
        6 years  100,000 miles   
Honda        5 years  Unlimited  link 
Hyundai    x    3 years  36,000 miles  link 
        7 years  Unlimited   
INFINITI        7 years  Unlimited  link 
Jeep        2 years  Unlimited  link 
Kia        5 years  100,000 miles  link 
Land Rover        5 years  Unlimited  link 
Lexus        6 years  Unlimited  link 
Maserati        4 years  Unlimited  link 
Mercedes-Benz        4 years   80,000 miles  link 
Mitsubishi        7 years  100,000 miles  link 
Nissan        5 years  Unlimited  link 
Ram        2 years  Unlimited  link 
Subaru        5 years  Unlimited  link 
Toyota        5 years  60,000 miles  link 
Volkswagen        7 years  100,000 miles  link 

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