Keeping Stuff From Rusting in the Winter

Most recent answer: 10/22/2007

What is the best way to prevent a jet ski in winter, a bus bumper, and a gate running on rails, from rusting?
- Robbie (age 13)
Rust can be prevented by coating an iron-containing metal with something that doesn't let air or water through. Most paints do a good job. Many bus bumpers are coated in chromium, which also prevents rusting.

The big problem with the jet ski is that you might not be able to get to all the parts that can rust (maybe there’s an engine or turbine or something). And some of these parts probably shouldn’t be painted (the engine and turbine probably won’t work as well with a big thick gooey coat of paint on them). One thing you can do is to coat as many exposed metal surfaces with oil. This will also work for the bus bumper and the gate rails. The gate rails also have the problem that paint will probably be scraped off by repeated use of the gate. Oil will do a better job, but you should constantly reapply more oil as the oil wears off. Grease may stick longer than oil.

You can also move to the desert! The low humidity in some places keeps the rusting rate down. Airplanes are stored in desert fields when not in use to help preserve their steel parts from rusting.


(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-up on this answer