I have recently acquired an old (1989) Mk1 Toyota MR2 and took a few photos of the underside rear of the vehicle. There seems to be a fair amount of rusting on the rear axle and gear box:

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gear box/exhaust assembly:

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I was wondering:

  1. Can this rusting be prevented from spreading if I only take the car out on dry days (it will be garaged otherwise)?

  2. Does the rust look significantly bad; major repair/replacement advised? (The car passed its last MOT last year)

  3. How would you manage the rust in the meantime before professional treatment?

Thanks in advance.

  • Those photos are not very clear but I think the car can be driven around for short strolls but , taking care of the rust should be priority.
    – Shobin P
    Jun 17, 2015 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


From my experience as a LR Defender owner (known for chassis rusting):

  • Rust, once there, can spread. It will not go away. So if you just take it out on sunny days you will not be making it get any better. Sometime or other you will need to get to grips with this rust problem.
  • From what can be seen in the pictures, the muffler seems OK. That's a good start, since this part can be costly for some makes of car, specifically those that weren't produced on a very large scale such as yours.
  • On the other hand, some of the suspension struts seems in a pretty bad way. At the very least, you will have a bad day whenever you will need to take a brake pad off - or, even worse, renew a gaiter on the transmission.

I recently had my truck over to a paint shop to get the transmission scraped and repainted (with black chassis paint). This didn't cost more than $300 equivalent, so I guess will be a good investment to preserve the vehicle. They had the skills, tools and products needed to do a professional job, I didn't.

Even if you intend to keep the car for a short period of time, I would go ahead and have it done professionaly since the first thing a potential buyer will do will be to have a look at the underside.

Additional note: was this rust caused by road salt, by any chance? If so, take a close look at any rubber parts (bushes, gaiters) underneath, they can get dry and split due to the action of salt.


  • Thanks, the car has had 9 owners previous to me, and British winters aren't the best water wise, so probably salt in there too... Had it serviced yesterday and the chap said mostly surface rust, otherwise the car is mechanical not bad/pretty good, so really pleased. Thanks for your advice.
    – Jeb
    Jun 19, 2015 at 8:36
  • @Jeb That's good. Get the rust off, and I'm sure you will enjoy it for many a mile. And if you do drive through areas where salt / slurry has been spread, quickly power washing is your ticket. It looks like the previous owner may have forgotten that part.
    Jun 19, 2015 at 19:35

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