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Any carbon steel thread that suffers from prolonged exposure to air, moisture and (sometimes) salt will suffer from rust, sometimes to the point where it creates problems.

While many fixes exist to remove a seized nut or bolt, I want to know if there are smarter fixes out there to prevent or at least minimize corrosion.

Engineering theory will suggest the following generic strategies:

  • physical prevention

    like applying coatings that don't let moisture reach the steel itself

  • chemical inhibition

    like sacrificial protection through zinc coatings

  • change of material

    like using a brass instead of steel


So, to reiterate my question:

What rust-inhibition strategies exist that are accessible to the average automotive DIY-er?

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  • Are you talking about just fixtures, or any rust prone metal (ie: body or suspension parts)? Mar 18 '16 at 16:31
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First one that comes to mind is anti-seize compound. Some are a mix of aluminum, copper, and graphite lubricant. I use this all the time on my lugs nuts (2000 Toyota Camry with steel wheels) and it seems to keep the rust monster from seizing the threads.

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  • I use anti-seize with just about everything. Really helps. My uncle used it when assembling the exhaust on his truck. 20 years later, I have the truck, and was able to remove the downpipe bolts without a fight.
    – rpmerf
    Mar 18 '16 at 16:39
  • Really something like anti-seize is the only answer. Any actual coating will add material to a thread - especially something readily available to consumers like paint. That material will either make assembly/removal difficult, scrape off during or both. Mar 20 '16 at 18:59

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