With winter right around the corner, it’s time to revisit an important conversation in truck maintenance: corrosion. Do you know everything there is to know about this important topic?
There are a number of ways that corrosion strikes, from salt to chemicals, moisture or collision damage. Just consider the fact that once you complete a collision repair, it becomes a prime target for corrosion. Also consider that corrosion eats away at your vehicle’s structure and you can see how this could become a safety problem.
When you are on the road, it also isn’t hard to spot vehicles that are suffering corrosion problems. In some cases, you may notice a panel is corroded when the rest of the vehicle is not. This could be a sign of bad collision repair.
With Maintenance in Mind
It’s no secret that the collision repair process can cause a vehicle to become susceptible to corrosion. Often, it’s unavoidable, simply because of the processes in place to install the new part, from welding to heating and final application.
The problem is that most fleet shops won’t have the equipment or training they need to ensure the vehicle is protected from corrosion the same way it was when it originally came from the factory.
Heavy-duty commercial vehicle manufacturers will generally use a specific set of galvanizing treatments, primers, sealers and other advanced coatings designed to ensure there’s no corrosion for the vehicle’s entire lifetime.
Consider that the average vehicle today is over 11 years, and you realize how little you see the “rust buckets” of yesterday. The fact is, a focus on safety drives continuous innovation at the factory level.
Factory Level Protection
Now we are seeing increasing usage of high strength steels and advanced coating systems. At the origination point, the vehicle body is generally dipped into a bath of zinc phosphate. The liquid in turn saturates the welding seams. This is how corrosion protection is done at the OEM level.
OEMs are also increasingly turning to new innovations such as cavity wax, which seeps into panel gaps, seals panel gaps, retains its consistency and is self-healing. Cavity wax may be one of the best ways to prevent vehicle corrosion, post-collision maintenance.
Some also refer to this substance as an anti-corrosion treatment or agent. As a general rule, it is important to use this substance after a repair weld has taken place.
There are also a good number of reasons why your shop technician may want a simpler solution. Whether you need specialized equipment or the equipment wands are simply too big to get into tight spaces, utilizing a popular anti-corrosion spray or liquid goes a long way to ensuring your vehicle’s structural integrity isn’t compromised.
Finding a Small Cavity Wand
The best way to seal your new repairs against corrosion resistance is to utilize a small cavity wand. A number of manufacturers sell such wands. Small cavity wands attached to a base unit are able to wick material into tight seems or small spaces or drains.
The wands generally run around 8” and provide easy access to spaces like frame rails and rocker panels. You can also fit them into small holes and small diameter spaces.
The fact is, truck manufacturers have done a great job over the years on improving the corrosion resistance of their vehicles. Still, accidents happen, and you want to know that your expensive repair isn’t left to fend for itself against the cold and bitter elements.
It only makes sense to ensure you are using the right tools to protect your vehicles, for the safety of both your truck drivers and those on the roads around them. Stay safe this winter!