Why Do Ontario Cars Rust So Badly?

Automobiles in the Rust Belt region of Ontario suffer from corrosion more than vehicles in other parts of Canada.

The Rust Belt encompasses parts of the Great Lakes and Midwest regions of Canada, including cities such as London, Toronto, Hamilton, and Windsor. These Southwestern Ontario cities experience harsh winter weather conditions, including heavy snowfall, freezing rain and prolonged periods of sub-freezing temperatures, which our public road crews tackle with road salt and de-icing brines.

Road salt and brines contain chemicals such as sodium chloride and calcium chloride that can be extremely corrosive to vehicles, as it can eat away at metal parts, including the undercarriage, wheel wells, fuel tanks, brake lines and other metal components. In addition to road salt, the Rust Belt is also exposed to high levels of industrial pollution, which can also contribute to corrosion over time.

Additionally,  freeze/thaw cycles (when temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing) and summer humidity giving way to cooler autumn temperatures all cause condensation inside doors, fenders and rocker panels. This creates the perfect environment for rust to form.

Map of the Great Lakes Region showing population density
Map showing population density around the Great Lakes region or Rust Belt. By Alasdair Rae @undertheraedar on Twitter. Online at

To protect vehicles from corrosion, it is important to take steps to prevent exposure to road salt and other harsh elements. This includes using rust prevention treatments like Oil Gard Formula 2 No-Drip or Classic formulas and washing your vehicle regularly. At London’s Auto Spa Car Washes you can reduce the effects of  road salt with Salt Away – a pre-rinse solution from Oil Gard that is designed to dissolve, lift and wash away road salt and de-icing brines.

Taking these important steps can help prolong the lifespan of a vehicle and prevent costly repairs.