Where Do Cars Rust The Most In The U.S.? (With Examples)

Cars might seem like they are meant to run forever when you first drive them out of the lot. But just like Kryptonite can kill Superman, salt is just as dangerous to a car.

Salt on the roads will cause all motorized vehicles to rust. But where is the problems biggest across the 50 states?

Let’s dive into the details!

Why Do Cars Rust More On The Seaside?

This combination of water and salty air is mostly found in seaside locations. The mixture seeps into little pores in the metal and oxidizes the metal which results in the appearance of rust.

Cars that are located seaside often rust earlier and faster than cars inland. The coastal air together with water can lead to rusting even on newer cars.

Unfortunately, even if you don’t live in coastal areas, your car can become rusted.

During winter, snowy and wet weather can get cars slippery and skidding is more frequent, resulting in more accidents on the roads. So, ice is used to de-ice the roads.

Adding salt to the roads lowers the freezing point of the ice from around 32 degrees to 20 degrees.

Although this leads to more friction between your tires and the road, it also promotes more rust on the car as the salt builds up.

Using salt on roads is more prevalent in coastal areas especially the Northeastern states and this is referred to as the “salt-belt”.

Cars in these states have been known to have rust build-up more than any other states.

This is no surprise because these areas are wet and icy during the winter months.

The salt belt, also known as the “rust-belt,” is where the rusting in cars is found the most. The salt belt includes all the states Northeastern of the U.S.

So does this mean your car is safe from rust if you live in California?

This is a question you might be worried about if you’re looking to move to California. Or maybe you already live there and just want to find out if your car is in danger.

A good indication is also looking at other cars in your area. If you find that a lot of cars have rusty patches, it might mean your car is next.  If your car isn’t rusted yet, then taking preventative measures is a good idea to keep the rust away.

Do Cars Rust In California?

Unless you live near the coastal areas of the state, your car will have minimal rust in California. California gets less rain and has lower humidity than Northeastern states, therefore rust-free cars.

So this means if you don’t live near the beach, or in the mountains where it snows a lot, you can enjoy a rust-free car. But this does not mean you don’t have to take precautions to prevent rust building up. Rust will most likely start showing if you don’t take good care of your car.

Taking good care of your car should be standard practice. Regular washing and waxing are just some of the simple things you can do to prevent rust building up.

California also doesn’t get a lot of rain compared to other coastal areas, so because of minimal water and less salt, cars in California can have little to no rust at all.

But what if you live in Southern states that aren’t in the salt-belt, such as Florida?

Do Cars Rust In Florida?

Cars do rust in Florida. If not properly taken care of, exposure to seawater if you live by the coastal areas can get your car rusty. Rusting might not be as prevalent in Florida as it is in the Northeastern states, but it can happen.

Again, if you live far from the coast rusting will be much slower. But if you happen to live by the beach, your car is prone to rust creeping in.

This also depends on who you ask this question. A car owner who regularly washes and looks after their car very well will have no idea what you’re talking about.

Because they keep their car clean and prevent any rust from building up.

This goes for every state whether coastal or not.

Not only does cleaning your car keep the rust away, but it can also keep the resale value of the car high because it has minimal damage and appears pristine.

Here are a few tips to prevent or slow down rusting.

  • Wash and clean the exterior of the vehicle, keeping a close eye to notice any rusted spots.
  • Use a matching color to touch up any spots.
  • Apply wax to the exterior of the car.
  • Get an anti-rust spray after sealing the spot and spray it onto the spots and paintwork.
  • Rub a coat of linseed oil to prevent rusting for longer periods.

Cleaning your car should be done regularly not only because it looks great after a good wash, but it also allows you to monitor any rusting before it spreads to other parts of the metal.

These are especially useful to keep in mind in the cold and can keep your car from rusting underneath.

If you live in any of the Northeastern states, these washing tips are highly recommended because of the higher chance your car has of rusting.

But now that begs the question:

Which Other States Are In The “Rust-belt”?

These are the states where you should expect your car to rust the most:

  • Connecticut,
  • Delaware,
  • Illinois,
  • Indiana,
  • Iowa,
  • Maine,
  • Maryland,
  • Massachusetts,
  • Michigan,
  • Minnesota,
  • Missouri,
  • New Hampshire,
  • New Jersey,
  • New York,
  • Ohio,
  • Pennsylvania,
  • Rhode Island,
  • Vermont,
  • Virginia,
  • West Virginia,
  • Wisconsin,
  • and Washington D.C.

This is the Northeastern part of the country. All these states are the hardest hit by rusting.

If you live in any of these states, make sure to check your car regularly or whenever you have a chance. These won’t completely stop your vehicle from rusting, but they go a long in maintaining the quality of the paint job.

Rust is best dealt with as soon as it creeps up. So the quicker you can see it, the better you’ll be able to stop it in its tracks without spending a whole lot of money.

A small spot might seem harmless at first until you forget it and it becomes a huge brown rusted area in the paintwork of your car.

Rust not only looks terrible on a car, but it can also significantly reduce the resale value of your car. After all, who’d want to buy a rusted looking car when they can find other options somewhere else?

Speaking of car sales…

Here’s a question that often pops up when it comes to buying cars:

What’s The Cheapest State To Buy A Used Car?

Florida’s used cars can cost up to 10% less than the national average. New Hampshire comes in second place. This is due to low fees of owning a vehicle in New Hampshire, which average about $2,691 annually including insurance and gas costs.

The low cost of used cars in Florida might be due to the number of drivers that are simply unable to drive due to age or health issues and putting their cars up for sale.

Another reason could be the number of Miami residents that try to keep up with the Joneses and selling their cars for better and faster ones.

More cars being bought means more used cars on the market to be sold.

All these factors carry weight when it comes to a healthy car market because cars become cheaper.

But the sale price is not the only factor you need to look at when buying a used car. Depending on where you buy the car, you might have to undergo an emissions test. This test is required by states such as California.

On top of all that, you also have to deal with gas costs, car maintenance fees, and insurance premiums.

Speaking of insurance…

One question concerning insurance is:

Do I Need Insurance To Drive Off The Lot?

Yes, typically the law states that you need car insurance in order to drive a car in any of the states. If you have an insurance policy, then your insurer can automatically cover the new vehicle before you can drive it off the lot.

Some insurance companies allow you to drive the new car home. The car is then covered for only that period. When you get home, you need to change car insurance to suit the new vehicle.

Other options are having the car covered by the insurance company for a few days. This gives ample time to work out a new coverage plan for the new car.

In this case, it would be handy to have the bill of sale for the purchase of the car with you at all times. Getting pulled over with no registration is cause for trouble. The bill of sale can then be proof that you are in the process of getting new insurance for the car.

If you currently don’t have car insurance you cannot drive the car off the lot. It is required by law that every driver have vehicle insurance on the road.

Imagine you’re shopping around for a great deal. You come across one that seems like a perfect fit for you.

There’s only one problem.

The deal is in another state that you don’t live in.

What happens then?

Can You Buy A Car In Another State?

You can buy a car in another state, but you’ll have to pay the taxes. In most cases, the car dealer collects and sends your taxes to the correct agency in your home state.

This helps with tax evaders. It also helps buyers understand the procedure.

Checking whether the dealer has sent the necessary paperwork to your home state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is recommended.

When you finally get to register your new car at your local DMV, they will need to check your bill of sale to make sure the necessary tax was paid.

So make sure to also get a bill of sale for the car purchase from the dealer.

If you do find your next purchase a few states over, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle if you know the necessary tax laws.

However, keep in mind that if you buy the car from another person instead of a dealer, the work increases on your part. This is because you need to handle everything all on your own.

That includes state and local taxes and registration paperwork.

All that work increases and so does the likelihood that you might forget something. A slip up like that can see you paying double on tax all because you forgot to pay something. Going the dealer route has its own perks. Having the paperwork done for you is one of the time-saving benefits.

You might also be worried about having an out of state driver’s license. This is not a problem.

It is allowed to buy a car with a license from a different state.

Getting as much information as you can before going ahead with the sale will save you time and money in the long run.

In The End…

Your car will likely be one of your most expensive investments. And should be treated as such if it is to last you a long time.

In general, it is much easier to buy a car in the state you live in. But if you happen to see your next car purchase a few states over, it’s best to double-check tax laws that apply to vehicle purchases. Emission requirements and registration are also issues to self-educate on if you’ve decided on a car out of state

When all the necessary taxes and paperwork is handled, you’ll need to start taking good care of your car.

Taking preventative measures such as washing and waxing your car on a regular basis is a good start if you live in states that are prone to rusty cars (the “Salt-Belt”)

So with these basic cleaning habits, together with the listed cleaning tips above, you can keep your car or truck rust-free for longer.

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