Understanding Aluminum Corrosion & How It's Repaired

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If you have a car, then you likely know that the vast majority of your vehicle is made out of steel. While this is true, there are actually quite a few parts and pieces that are made from aluminum as well. Wheel rims, the casing of your transmission, cylinder heads, some engine blocks, and other parts are all made from aluminum metal. Aluminum has many benefits, but you may see some serious and troubling deterioration of the metal. Keep reading to understand what type of damage you may notice and how repairs can be made.

How Does Aluminum Break Down?

You may understand that aluminum does not rust. This is true and it is one of the many positive attributes of the metal. The fact that aluminum does not rust helps to ensure a strong metal that can resist weather-related issues. If snow and icy conditions typically cause autobody rust, then you can be confident in knowing that your aluminum vehicle parts will not succumb to the same sort of oxidation.

While it is true that aluminum will not form rust, the metal will develop corrosion. In other words, you may not need to worry about oxidation, but general deterioration due to environmental conditions may be an issue. 

Aluminum is actually a very reactive metal. However, it forms a strong, chemically inactive, protective coating over its surface called aluminum oxide. The aluminum oxide protects the metal underneath unless this protective barrier is broken down as well. This often happens in localized areas called pits when the metal is exposed to a strong chemical compound. Specifically, both acidic and basic substances can cause pitting. The chemicals may be the ones used for cleaning purposes or they may come from the environment itself.

How Is Pitted Aluminum Treated?

If you have pitted car parts or rims on your vehicle, then you can have them treated to refurbish or repair them. The repair process starts with the sanding of the pitted metal. The metal is then thoroughly cleaned with a special pH neutral compound. Afterwards, a sealer is added to the metal. The application of the sealer is the most important part of the process. It helps to rebuild the protective layer over the aluminum.

Once the repair is completed, you may be given a small amount of the sealing compound to use at home. It can be used to treat any aluminum that becomes scratched. Scratching and denting causes the material to break away from metal and a new application is needed.

You may also be given an aluminum cleaning compound. You can also wash aluminum parts with dish soap and water to keep them in good condition. 

To learn more about aluminum repair, contact services like Exoticar Paintworks Inc.