Car Undercoating / Truck Undercoating – Should You?


vehicle with rusty underside

If you do a quick Google search, the “short answer” is No. But is this answer correct?

There is a broadly held belief/misconception undercoating is both a waste of money and even potentially bad for your vehicle. And while there is some validity to that perspective for a few reasons, there is definitely value to car undercoating and truck undercoating. Let us unpack all of that for you.

Why Some Say No

1. Bad For Your Car - Inferior Product

Back in the day, undercoating was applied using a rubberized coating. While it had excellent cohesion, it didn’t have excellent adhesion. It did a better job sticking to itself instead of sticking to the surface it was applied to. Any moisture that seeped in under the coating would spread and get trapped. This led to exactly what the undercoating was applied to protect against – rusting issues.

2. Waste of Money - Galvanized Steel

Starting in the late 1980’s Japanese auto manufacturers started importing cars with anti-corrosion features. Western markets responded to consumer demand in the early 1990s and a decade later standardized on a successful galvanization method to prevent corrosion. Galvanized steel is now used in up to 80% of a vehicle.

New unibody construction coupled with the utilization of galvanized steel means that cars are a lot less likely to rust than they did say 40 years ago.

Inferior products sold and installed by disreputable dealers and shops have created a negative legacy around car and truck undercoating. One that can be hard to outrun. The truth is, however, the right product applied to the right vehicle by skilled professionals will provide true protection to your vehicle.

The True Value of Car and Truck Undercoating

We do things differently at Automotive Protection Services of Fairfax, Virginia. As the Mid-Atlantic’s largest provider of truck undercoating, we have refined our processes as vehicle manufacturers have utilized new manufacturing techniques and methods.

1. Superior Product

Instead of using rubberized cohesive coatings, APS exclusively uses a wax-based product (similar to fluid film) that has excellent adhesive properties—meaning it sticks to your vehicle! The wax is first applied to the inside of your vehicle’s frame and floor plan. Then a proprietary undercoating is applied in a thick coating to everything on the underside of the vehicle frame, rails, floor pan, rocker panels, and wheel wells. The undercoating bonds with the cavity wax to form a seal against moisture, dirt, and grime. In short, we protect everything that doesn’t move or get hot.

2. Sound Investment

The truth is most cars will not rust and won’t need undercoating. However, not all vehicles are built the same.

During manufacturing the galvanized steel is cut, bent, reshaped, drilled, and heated for welding. All of this compromises the integrity of the galvanization. Doors and body panels are the most susceptible. “Body on Frame” manufactured vehicles (primarily trucks) have large exposed steel frames that do rust.

Steel that has not been galvanized or where the galvanization is compromised will be susceptible to humidity, moisture, exposure to road salts and chemicals, as well as industrial pollutants.

When considering whether undercoating is a sound investment for your new truck or car, you’ll want to consider how it was constructed, with what materials, and your local environmental conditions.

The Automotive Protection Services Difference

Choosing the right shop will make all the difference to a successful undercoating. Automotive Protection Services (APS) of Fairfax is Northern Virginia’s premier shop.

Here are four reasons automotive dealers partner with us:

  1. Total Satisfaction Guarantee on all of our work.
  2. Warranties. All of our products come with ten-year or lifetime warranties on both materials and labor.
  3. Trusted by our local community - APS has been the chosen partner for VDOT, FBI, Fairfax city schools, Ted Britt, Koons, Ourisman, Sheehy, Farrish, and Brown's.
  4. One-stop shop - get all your protection done in a single visit, including:

To learn if undercoating would be a sound investment for your vehicle, speak to our team at Automotive Protection Services today. We can also answer your questions about any of our other services – window tinting, paint protection, bedliners, and/or detailing.