Rust Penetrator makes working on old cars easier

ARTWORK BY BROWN BIRD DESIGN

Working on a rusty car sucks for many reasons. You often struggle with crusty parts which, in severe cases, break off in your hands and leave you with more work than expected. The worst part about dealing with rust belt cars, however, is trying to remove the rusted nuts and bolts. Over time, rust will fuse nuts and bolts to whatever they’re attached to, which means you’re more likely to round heads and break metal than remove parts properly. That’s why whenever I work on a rusty car, I keep a can of penetrating oil next to me.

Penetrating oils are incredible feats of chemical engineering. Used primarily to loosen fasteners that have corroded or seized up over time, they can actually penetrate the pores of metal thanks to their ultra-low viscosity. Penetrating oils penetrate grooves and crevices, depositing a layer of oil that displaces any water present while providing a protective layer to defend against moisture, according to WD-40 website. This process helps break down the rust that fuses the metal threads, reducing the risk of breaking a bolt head when you apply torque.

Every time I know I’m going to be removing bolts from one of my project cars, I have a can of penetrating oil with me. I live in New York, therefore I am no stranger to rust treatment. Before attacking the nuts or bolts, I give them a good dose of rust penetrator to make sure the threads are properly coated. Penetrating oils can allow even the most rusty nuts and bolts to come off easily, as long as you apply the force deliberately. No, it won’t work every time, but it certainly helps. I went so far as to stop a DIY job halfway through because I was out of rust remover. If I didn’t have it, then why risk continuing? Chances are I’ll break a bolt.

Penetrating oils can be used for more than just breaking rusty bolts. Used as a tempering agent, they can actually erase surface rust from parts over time. They can also be used to clean tar, grease, adhesives and other contaminants in no time. Penetrating oils can even be used as lubricants. The Project Farm YouTube channel makes a great comparison test showing how effective these oils can be. If you’re fascinated by the inner workings of this thing, it’s worth a look.

The best part about these oils is that they are incredibly cheap and easy to get. Personally, I like Liquid Key and blaster, both of which can be found at most auto parts stores across the country. They are also on Amazon for $11.05 and $15.16 per box, respectively. WD-40the most popular penetrating oil in the world, is even cheaper, at $6.88 per can on Amazon.

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