Car ownership is rewarding, but it also requires hard work and care, as you must keep up with the vehicle's maintenance and keep it looking new as long as possible

Rust can quickly make your new-looking car seem old, and we see plenty of it in Nova Scotia. Undercoat protection can help prevent rusting issues, but there's some debate if undercoat protection is worth it in Nova Scotia. 

We look into the value of undercoat protection in Nova Scotia below. First, let's look at what this service entails and how it differs from other rust-proofing services.

What is Automotive Undercoating? 

Automotive undercoating is a wax- or rubber-like chemical sprayed on the entire underside of the vehicle and the inner panels, such as the inside of the fenders and quarter panels, to create a rust-proof barrier. Its goal is to seal out all the key causes of corrosion in Canada, including water, ice, and road salt. 

An aftermarket company usually applies undercoating and covers all the key components from the fenders inward. These components include:

  • Wheel wells
  • Floorboards 
  • Frame
  • Suspension
  • Rear differential
  • Gas tank
  • Rocker panels
  • Fenders

How Does Undercoating Differ from Rust-Proofing?

While undercoating and rust-proofing are often used interchangeably, they are different services with similar goals. 

Undercoating covers the entire underside of the vehicle with a wax- or rubber-like chemical, giving you maximum protection. It also protects the undercarriage from nicks, dents, and dings from small road debris. 

On the other hand, rust-proofing is a wax-like substance applied to specific areas of the vehicle prone to chipping and rusting. These areas can include the fenders, rocker panels, the bottom of a tailgate, wheel wells, and others. 

As you can see, the main difference is that undercoating is a comprehensive protection for the vehicle's entire undercarriage, whereas rust-proofing is for certain trouble areas. 

Is Undercoating Protection Worth it in Nova Scotia?

Undercoating isn't right for every vehicle. For example, someone living in the southern U.S. who rarely deals with snow, ice, and salt likely has little need for undercoating protection. For folks in Nova Scotia, it's a different story altogether. 

So, is undercoating protection worth it in Nova Scotia? Yes, and here's why.

Cold, Snowy Winters

In Nova Scotia, our winters are cold — really cold. Winter runs from December through March, and the average temperature is between -15 and 5 degrees Celsius.

These low temperatures mean any precipitation we get during these months is generally snow or ice. And we get an average of 1.5 to 4 metres of snowfall per year, depending on what area you live in. 

This leads to preemptive anti-icing with a brine salt solution before a storm hits and de-icing with rock salt after the storm passes through. The salt used to keep the roads clear acts as an electrolyte, which accelerates the speed at which iron rusts. If your undercarriage has any bare metal showing — and it likely does — this salt can turn it to rust quickly. 

Applying a quality undercoat protection in Nova Scotia can provide rust protection under the vehicle and inside body panels, like the fenders.

Cheaper Than Rust Repair

The biggest corrosion trouble areas under a vehicle in Canada are the floorboards. These panels make up the vehicle's floor, but they are also the mounting points for the seats, seat belts, and other key components. So, when they rust, it's a serious safety issue. 

Patching or replacing corroded floorboards can cost well over $1,000 in some cases, whereas a high quality undercoat protection will cost less than $700. On the higher end of the pricing scale, these treatments are generally good for up to 10 years, though it’s still recommended to have annual rust checks. 

Some undercoating services, such as the one Clutch offers on its pre-owned cards, even provide rust-protection warranties.

Spending ~$600 every 10 years to avoid spending over $1,000 on floorboard repairs is an obvious value in most cases. 

It's Peace of Mind

There's also value in having peace of mind. And knowing your undercarriage is protected from rust is one less thing to worry about.

Also, when the floorboards begin rusting, the car loses its structural rigidity. With this rigidity reduced, the car may no longer hold up as well in an accident, potentially exposing you and your family to unsafe conditions. 

With an undercoating treatment and regular inspections of the treatment, you can feel confident you and your family are safe. 

Value Retention

When it comes time to sell or trade in your vehicle for a new or used car, you want to get as much money out of it as possible. One key area any knowledgeable car buyer will look at is under the vehicle for rust on the undercarriage. If there's rust, it'll negatively impact the vehicle's resale value, even if the body, paint, and upholstery make it look like a new car. 

Applying a quality rust inhibitor will ensure the salt on the roads throughout Nova Scotia doesn’t drag down your car's value. 

On the flip side, a corrosion-free vehicle with a protection product already applied may have an increased resale value since this is one less expense the future owner needs to worry about. 

Finally, Clutch's undercoat protection guarantees are transferable to the new owner, adding even more value. 

When Is Undercoating Not Worth it?

While undercoat protection is generally a great value, there are times when it's simply not appropriate. Here are some times you can skip that rust inhibitor. 

Low-Value Vehicle

If you have a vehicle that's simply not worth much, there's no real value in applying rust protection. What's the point of putting $600 in rust protection on a $1,000 vehicle?

The one key exception is if the undercarriage is already rust-free and you plan to keep the car for a long time. Another exception is if you're restoring the vehicle to its original condition. It may not be worth much now, but its value may make it worthwhile once it's complete. 

Temporary Vehicle

Sinking much money into any temporary vehicle is never a financially wise decision. So, if you have a vehicle you only plan to keep for a year until you can buy something else, it's OK to skip the undercoating protection.

The same goes for a leased vehicle — unless you plan to purchase it at the end of the lease. 

Where Can You Get Undercoating Protection?

Now that we've established the value of undercoating protection in Nova Scotia, where can you get this service done? Here are all the ways you can get undercoating protection. 

At the Dealership

If you buy a new vehicle or used vehicle, the dealership may offer undercoating protection as an add-on service, as we do at Clutch. This allows you to get the protection the car needs before you ever take it on the road. 

You can often add this service to your financing contract and pay for it in installments over time if needed. 

At an Undercoating Shop

Standalone shops that do nothing but undercoating every day are other options for your undercoating needs. These shops generally have competitive rates and offer the annual rust inspections you need to confirm nothing slipped through any cracks in the undercoating. 

In Your Garage

Yes, you can pick up an undercoating kit at an auto parts store or online and do your own protection. The process is time-consuming and comes with no warranty, but you can save a few hundred dollars this way. 

Get A Quality Pre-Owned Vehicle With Undercoat Protection at Clutch

At Clutch, Canada's first 100% online car-buying experience, we have a wide selection of quality pre-owned vehicles that have been through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process. Plus, every vehicle we sell online includes a 90-day or 6,000-km limited warranty. 

You can get additional peace of mind by adding our undercoat protection plan. This clear, wax-based coating seals out all the nastiness that can cause rusting so there's no need to worry about the salt on the roads in Nova Scotia. 

Plus, our undercoating protection comes with a 10-year guarantee on current-model-year vehicles and a six-year guarantee on all older models. When it's time to upgrade to another Clutch pre-owned vehicle, you can sell it, and the undercoating warranty transfers to the new owner. It's a win for everyone.