Modern road de-icing techniques, which employ chemicals over the traditional salt, results in $3 billion in damage annually in vehicle rust damage, according to AAA. U.S. drivers paid approximately $15.5 billion over the last five years on repairing vehicles damaged by rust. The exact extent of the problem is likely even worse because those only account for the drivers who took the time to address their rust-related car problems.
Rust on cars is nothing new. Several businesses capitalize on it, selling special car covers and anti-rust treatments. One episode of the once-beloved NPR show Car Talk focused on the type of havoc rust can wreak on a vehicle. One listener wrote into the show to ask if the owner of a car with excessive rust in the suspension, braking and fuel lines should be concerned with the overall general safety of the vehicle. The hosts responded with an emphatic, “Yes!” noting that while most people think of rust as a cosmetic problem, the reality is that when rust works its way into the structure or frame of the car, it poses a serious safety issue.
Vehicle owners who fail to address obvious rust may find themselves facing a liability lawsuit for negligent maintenance of a vehicle. While we tend to see this claim more often in truck accident cases where large corporate carriers don’t adequately maintain their fleet, we can also bring such a claim against private vehicle owners when there is evidence they neglected to address basic maintenance issues that could foreseeably impact safety and played a role in the crash. Continue reading