If you live close to the ocean, your vehicle is going to be far more vulnerable to rust than if you lived further inland. And the fact is, when it comes to resisting rust, not all vehicles are created equal. Ideally, you should invest in annual rust protection, but it’s also important to start out with a vehicle that you know was protected at the factory level. This is just as important when you’re buying a used vehicle as it is when you’re buying new.
We have investigated several different vehicles, and for purposes of this article, we’re going to stick with manufacturers and refer to a few models. Generally speaking, manufacturers will provide the same level of rust protection to all their vehicles. Our top manufacturers for rust-resistant cars are Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo, BMW, Mini, and Honda.
Audi: The A3, A4 and S4 all receive excellent rust protection at the manufacturing stage, and can be counted on to remain rust-free for a long time, even if you live near the ocean and are frequently exposed to salty air.
Volkswagen: The Beetle, Golf, GTI, Passat, Rabbit and Jetta all receive excellent factory rust protection, but may rust in some areas sooner than the Audi.
Volvo: The CX70 and S60, the V50, V70 and S40 all receive excellent rust protection at the factory, and will remain rust-free for quite some time.
BMW: The rust protection at the factory level is good, but you may find that rust will appear in certain areas of the vehicle sooner than others.
Mini: The Cooper and Countryman both get good factory rust protection.
Honda: The Acura CSX and TL, the CRV, Fit, Accord, Civic and Odyssey all get good protection. The Acura CSX, the Civic and the CR-V, however, will tend to develop rust in certain areas sooner than the other models.
The used cars we evaluated stood up very well to rust, but ultimately, pretty much any vehicle that is constantly exposed to ocean air is going to develop rust to one degree or another. Regular rust-proofing beyond what is provided at the point of manufacturing can extend the life of your vehicle. We recommend annual rust protection for any car, regardless of age, make or model.