Do Japanese Cars Rust More Or Less? (We Checked)

It’s no secret that a car is one of the most significant investments right up there with buying a house. So making sure it lasts as long as possible in top shape is a must.

Rust and corrosion are other factors that significantly diminish a car’s resale value. If you’re looking into Japanese cars, you might wonder if they rust more or less than cars from other countries.

In this article, we’ll be explaining if Japanese cars rust more or less and checking some tips to delay corrosion and rust.

Let’s get started!

CHECK ALSO: Best nicknames for Japanese cars.

1. They Rust More In Dry Conditions

Japan is an island and as such, you might think they would build their cars with those conditions in mind. However, Japanese cars do not fare well even in diversely dry weather conditions.

Other countries have dry weather, which can also accelerate the formation of rust. Even though wet conditions make the rusting process faster, dry conditions also have the same effect.

Heat makes the sheet metal of the car expand and contract, and this causes cracks. These tiny cracks then eventually lead to water seeping into the metal and starting the rusting process.

You can’t really see the small cracks formed by the expansion and contraction of the metal. But they enable water and moisture to penetrate the metal.

Moreover, dry conditions and heat also affect the car’s paint and protective coating over time. The car’s surface breaks down and the metal is left vulnerable to rust.

You can also see this process in the car’s paint job in vulnerable areas such as frame rails and wheel wells. The paint starts to bubble and eventually peels away to reveal the rusting process beneath.

2. They Did Not Galvanize

The process of galvanizing, spraying, and coating the metal when the car is manufactured is crucial to rust prevention. In fact, some older Japanese cars were known to skip the galvanizing process.

Galvanizing is an important step in car-making as it provides a protective layer to prevent corrosion. It limits the exposure to weather conditions that can start the rusting process.

Unfortunately, older Japanese cars were not galvanized as a way to keep costs down. Another factor is that Japan is an island, and they thought the process was unnecessary.

Meanwhile, this process does not only extend the lifespan of the vehicle but also reduces the number of repair and maintenance costs. It keeps the appearance of the car in top shape for a longer time.

Types of Galvanizing

Below are two popular types of galvanizing:

Hot-Dip Galvanizing

This is the most common and is a popular choice for most manufacturers. It provides a long-lasting layer of protective coating to resist rust and corrosion.

Electro Galvanizing

This process is used in smaller parts where a thin layer of zinc is applied to parts such as screws and bolts to prevent corrosion.

3. Japanese Cars Are Retired Earlier

Japanese cars do not last as long as 10 years on the road due to the government’s strict inspection policy. In Japan, cars are taken for inspection every three years to ensure they are in good working order.

Therefore, manufacturers seldom put rust-resistant coating that can last upwards of 10 years on the car. They might think that the car will not survive the rigorous inspections every two years or so.

Most cars that don’t pass these inspections are then shipped off to other countries that might have bad weather. This is where the rusting process is accelerated even more.

Another factor is that most of these cars are neglected by the owners because they won’t be keeping them long. When neglected and not washed and maintained, the rusting process is free to continue.

Some manufacturers keep these factors in mind when making their cars. The thinking is that if the cars won’t be around for long, then there’s no use giving them long-lasting protective coatings.

Unfortunately, this proves to be the wrong decision in most cases because some of the cars are exported. The cars are exported in order to escape the strict inspections from the government.

4. They Are Made With Low-Quality Steel

Galvanizing and adding protective layers to the metal is not useful if the metal itself is of low quality. Back in the day, Japan was known to use low-quality metal on their cars in order to keep costs down.

This is why Japanese cars offer the most value at a relatively lower price than other markets. Using low-quality materials can be a way to keep costs down and focus on other factors such as fuel economy.

In most affordable Japanese cars, a thinner layer of sheet metal is used in the manufacturing process. This is rarely the case in other car markets, such as British or German markets.

It is important to note that there are a variety of steel types used in auto manufacturing. As such, not all manufacturers will use the cheapest and lowest quality steel.

In recent years, Japan’s motor industry has started to incorporate quality control processes in making their cars. The steel used to make the cars now undergoes strict quality control processes.

Bigger car manufacturers who have bigger budgets now tend to use quality steel and materials when making the cars. This might lead to higher-priced cars, but it ensures that all their products are of the highest quality.

On the other hand, smaller manufacturers might skimp on quality in order to keep their overheads low. This will inevitably result in lower-quality cars that rust and corrode easily.

Make sure you check if American or EU cars are better than Japanese cars.

What Japanese Car Brands Rust The Least?

Here are the Japanese car brands whose vehicles rust the least:

  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Lexus
  • Subaru
  • Mazda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan

These brands use some of the best rust-prevention technologies for their models. However, factors such as the model and year of the car, together with the maintenance history, all play a role.

In the end, it all depends on how the owner treats and maintains the car to prevent rusting and corrosion over the lifespan of the car.

What Japanese Car Brands Rust The Most?

Here are Japanese car brands that rust the most:

  • Mitsubishi
  • Mazda
  • Honda
  • Datsun

Some of these brands have models that have the least amount of rusting and corrosion. It is difficult to single out different brands because there are a lot of factors to look into first.

Climate, driving conditions, and maintenance all play a big role in preventing rust and corrosion.

With that said, a lot of older Japanese cars from the 90s were known to have bad rusting issues. This is because of the lack of advanced technologies to prevent rust at the time.

Related: Do All Cars Rust Eventually? (Here’s What To Expect)

Do Japanese Cars Rust More Or Less When Driven In The U.S.?

Japanese cars will rust more in the U.S. coastal areas where there is a lot of saltwater and high humidity. There are also areas that use salt and chemicals to melt the snow and this increases rust in Japanese cars.

A lot of factors, such as the location of the car and how well it is maintained play a major role in preventing rust. So a Japanese car in an optimal location but not taken care of is also prone to rust.

The owner of the car has to take measures to ensure rust prevention in whichever location they live. This means proper washing and waxing of the car on a regular basis.

How Come Japanese Cars Resist Rust Better?

Throughout the years, the Japanese car manufacturing industry has improved its rust-prevention technologies. Modern Japanese cars can now go for years before signs of rust are seen.

Contrary to the old ways Japan used to manufacture their cars, they now place more emphasis on high-quality control standards. This means using better metal and anti-rust protective coatings to protect their cars against rust formation.

One other big factor that helps Japanese cars to resist rust better is their high humidity and salty air climate. This sort of climate is a big factor that contributes to cars rusting and corroding quicker.

Japanese manufacturers now take into account their climate and try to counteract it in order to prevent rust in their cars.

They now incorporate better galvanizing, electro-coating, and rust-prevention technologies in their cars.

The culture and attitudes of Japanese car owners have also taken a big change because they now take better care of their cars. In short, car owners now maintain and take care of their vehicles by washing and waxing them regularly.

All these factors play a huge role when it comes to why Japanese cars resist rust better. Usually, the owner of the car will have to be vigilant and take care of their investment.

You might want to read about why European cars are more expensive than Japanese cars.

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