Types of Vehicle Undercoating

by Bobbie Johnson

Vehicle undercoating is a process of rust proofing and protecting a vehicle from damage due to sand, gravel, road salts, and other grime, while helping reduce road noise. In areas of extreme climate changes, the lives of vehicles can be extended with proper undercoating. However, it is recommended that all vehicles be undercoated regardless of where you live. There are several types of undercoating available, ranging from do-it-yourself aerosols to professional applications.

Water- and Paraffin-Based Undercoats

Water-based undercoatings are the most popular for do-it-yourselfers. These undercoatings can be found in automotive parts stores in aerosol formats. Water-based undercoatings are thin set and have quick drying times. This type of coating can be done by automotive shops that offer undercoating services inexpensively. The downside to water-based undercoatings is the frequency in which they need to be repeated. Often the smallest abrasion that breaks through the undercoating can result in the need for a new coat. Repetitive undercoating can get expensive even if the product does not cost much. Paraffin-based undercoatings have a wax inclusion that makes them stronger than water-based undercoatings. Paraffin-based undercoatings can be purchased through an automotive store in spray and paint-on formats. This type of coating is also thin set and relatively fast drying. A vehicle owner can get this as an option when purchasing a new vehicle, or it can be professionally applied through an automotive service. Paraffin-based undercoating needs to be replaced at least once a year at the vehicle owner's expense.

Petroleum- and Rubber-Based Undercoats

Petroleum-based undercoatings are made from oil and have greater deflective abilities for road salts and grime. The petroleum base helps repel water and ice better than paraffin- or water-based undercoatings. Petroleum-based undercoatings are available through professional services and can be purchased when buying the vehicle. This type of undercoating also needs to be replaced once a year at the owner's expense. Rubber-based undercoating is the second strongest undercoating available for vehicles. This type of undercoating allows for more flexibility in the undercarriage, and holds up better to rough terrains. Rubber-based undercoatings are available in spray and paint-on applications. Due to the thickness of the application, it is advisable to let a professional apply rubber-based undercoating to ensure maximum coverage. Rubber-based undercoating also can be bought as an option when purchasing a vehicle.

Asphalt-Based Undercoats

Asphalt-based undercoating is the strongest undercoating available. It is used on all-terrain and military vehicles. Asphalt-based undercoating will last longest and is the best option for vehicles that endure heavy road use. Asphalt-based undercoating is the thickest coating with the most damage-resistant properties. It can be bought through professional services and is the only type of undercoating with a limited warranty. Asphalt-based undercoating can be purchased when buying a new vehicle.

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