Rusting Pickups: Why, and What Do I do About It?

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Pickups may be the most popular vehicle in America. They are a symbol of our rugged individualism, and they have been a part of American culture since World War II. Unfortunately, they also seem to rust more than any other car on the market today. What is causing this? And how can you prevent it from happening to your pickup truck? In this blog post I will answer these two questions as well as provide tips for preventing future rusting!

So what causes rust on pickups? Pickups are not necessarily any different from other vehicles when it comes to rust on its own, however continued hard use, more exposure to salts, and less maintenance performed on these work vehicles tends to cause them to rust much quicker than other vehicles. It isn’t necessarily their build quality, but rather what they are exposed to that makes them rust quicker.

What causes the rust

There are many causes of rust, but the most common ones are exposure to moisture or salt, contact with other metals (especially iron), and insufficient protective coatings.

The most common reason pickups end up rusting is going to be road salt. Salt can be used on roads for traction in winter weather, as well as melting snow, but it will also cause corrosion of vehicles.

On the other hand salt is not a problem if you live somewhere where there isn’t snow or ice and doesn’t use road de-icing systems when they are needed – places like Phoenix would never need to worry about rusting pickups due to road salts!

Another big reason that trucks might rust comes down to sitting water . If a truck has water sitting on it for extended periods of time, then the moisture will break down and eventually cause corrosion.

This can be avoided by parking in areas where there is nothing below to promote standing pools or puddles that would collect if rains come through

Pickups are work rigs and get less maintenance

So why does rust affect pickups more-so than cars? It really comes down to the fact they are work rigs. This means people tend to care less for them and give them less maintenance.

Maintaining a pickup truck is important because they are exposed to the outside elements, and are more prone to rust because of this.

Cars typically are commuters, and people pay more attention to them, and because of this they get better care than pickups do so it makes sense that cars and SUVs would have less rust than pickups.

Common places that pickups will rust

So now you are wondering where there might be rust on your pickup? Some common places that rust will show are on the bed, in the wheel wells and bumpers on the truck.

Road salt will accumulate in the wheel wells regularly due to the fact that the road salt will spray up on to the wheel wells and then stick to it. You will generally find that rust start right where the side of the body meets the plastic of the wheel well.

The bed will also be susceptible to corrosion because water sits in it when you wash your vehicle or use a hose on its side panels during washing; causing moisture that can lead to some serious damages!

The bumpers will tend to have rust on the sides, and face of the bumper. Most of the time it will be found on the rear bumper, as that is where all of the moisture from the roads will settle. A great way to fix this, is to replace it with something like an off-road bumper, it not only gets rid of the rust, but makes it look cooler as well!

Finally, the last place is underneath of the truck on the frame. Wherever you drive, the moisture will be hitting and sitting on the underbody of the vehicle.

How to Prevent Rust from Forming on Your Truck 

Some best practices to keep your truck from rusting in all of these areas is to make sure to keep it clean and dry. If you don’t have time, at least make a point of washing the truck regularly with soap that’s designed for cars or trucks!

Regularly wash your vehicle:  It sounds simple but this will help prevent water from sitting on various parts in between washes which can lead rusting; leaving them vulnerable against corrosion later down-the-road.

What gear works best for preventing rust?

So you are ready to keep your truck clean, to keep away that rust. Some important gear you need to make this happen is the following!

A quality car-wash soap. There are many different types of soaps on the market that all have their own qualities and strengths, but my personal favorite is Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash & Wax Shampoo (It smells good too!)

A high pressure hose with a foam nozzle to wash off dirt: This is going to be extremely important for getting not only soap foam all of your truck, but also to dislodge all of the salt, dirt, and more off of your truck before, during, and after washing the truck.

Lastly make sure you use an automotive drying towel after washing for best results when preventing new layers form getting wet again before they dry out completely…trust me this has saved our truck countless times against looking like rusted metal rather than stainless steel.

How to Remove the Existing Rust from Your Truck

Alright, you already have rust on your truck? There are going to be different ways to get that removed, depending on how bad the rust is already.

If you have just surface rust, the best way to remove it is by using some sort of wire brush. You can find these in a hardware store.

Once all rust has been removed from this area with constant brushing/scrubbing (depending if there are any stubborn spots), rinse off until water runs clean; wipe dry then repeat process for other locations where surface corrosion exists.

After removing the rust, you will want to cover it back up with some touch up paint so that rust doesn’t form again.

If you have a lot of rust, to the point that it is rusting through the metal, you will have to take some bigger steps to get rid of the rust. Below is an awesome video that actually goes step by step through how to fix the issue.


In this article we talked about why pickups get rust more than cars, and how you can prevent it from happening in the first place! Finally, we also discussed best practices on how to get rid of rust if it is already present.

Rust can be a huge pain when it comes to your pickup, and preventing it from starting in the first place is the best route to take.

The more rust you have, the bigger of a project it will be to get rid off all over again and make your car look new once again!