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Hi everyone,

Bought a Mazda3 GT with 43k titanium flash a week ago. This is my first car here in Ottawa, Canada. I have read the forums about rust problems. My previous car VW Polo (lived in the Mediterranean ) never had any rust issues in 8 years. I know rust is pretty normal up to a certain point here in Canada but when I see the undercarriage of the car it's full of rust. Brake rotors are not a concern too me, but the control arms and near suspension scares me a bit. I really like the car, how it drives etc. but this rust scares me.

What do you suggest, leave it? clean and coat it? What's your experience with you M3s? Is it going to progress like crazy? The car has another 1 year of comprehensive warranty and 3 of engine + power train.
 

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Mazda's have a rust warranty...it may only cover "rust through" but I would def take to the dealership and tell them you think it's unacceptable in a car of this age. You'd be surprised looking at the suspension of other cars though, they're likely not too far off.
 

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I also have a 15 which I bought new little over 2 years ago. I have had similar problems although not as bad.

Good news/bad news time. The good is that what you are seeing looks to be just surface rust. It can be very normal, and can create a coating of rust protecting the rest of the metal. If you want to do something about it, this is a very good time.

Bad news. I live over in peterborough and tried to get the dealer to fix my rust issues. No go, Mazda Canada had them investigate and ultimately said go away.

The problem is that no manufacturer will warrant rust on the underside. Not a single one. Your rust warranty is worthless here. To add insult to injury, Mazda in the US has a tsb for this exact problem. It doesn't apply to Canada. It also covers the exhaust which I highly recommend you inspect. This leaves us with the only option of small claims court. To do that, you have to show financial loss. That means you'll have to pay to get it fixed and then later sue for the repair cost.

Unfortunately it's both cheaper and quicker to repair it yourself.

Here's how I fixed it at home:
Remove rust with wire brush on a drill. Clean the area, treat with a rust eating gel. Once that has a few minutes, clean with grease/wax remover. Then I sprayed a few layers of rustoleum. Once that dried, a few layers of rubberized rocker panel paint.

The exhaust is a little different. Wire brush or steel wool can contaminate the material making problems worse down the road. I used a synthetic steel wool. Again, treat with anti rust gel and clean with the grease and wax remover. Then I used a clear high temperature exhaust header paint.

Long term I highly recommend undercoating. I do my own with rust check undercarriage (green can) but you will need the air gun (shutz gun) and a large compressor. I have a 26 gal myself. I also spray the red oil behind the panels. It takes time for these cars to undercoat. Most places won't do it correctly because you have to remove all of the plastic liner trays under the car. It's painful, but no point in spraying plastic.

By the way, all materials I've mentioned you can get at Canadian tire. I'd go to princess auto for the shutz gun, around $20 on sale and they work well. I did have to grind down the end of the can straw because it was a little too long.

Feel free to msg me if you need more info. We use a lot of salt on the roads here just like in Ottawa so I feel your pain.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks a lot for your suggestions zero_gravity. Exhaust is rusted as well (forgot to mention). I'm planning to clean the rust in the next couple weeks. Will also see if I can do the undercoating by myself (before winter)

How is your car looking after you cleaned it? Is the rust coming back again in those parts?

I noted all the steps that you mentioned above. Do you mind writing what product are you using for each of the steps?

1- wire brush
2- rust eating gel (let it sit)
3- clean with grease/wax remover
4- sprayed a few layers of rustoleum
5- Once that dried, a few layers of rubberized rocker panel paint


Thanks again :)
 

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To add insult to injury, Mazda in the US has a tsb for this exact problem. It doesn't apply to Canada. It also covers the exhaust which I highly recommend you inspect. This leaves us with the only option of small claims court. To do that, you have to show financial loss. That means you'll have to pay to get it fixed and then later sue for the repair cost.
I'm aware of 3 TSBs that relate to corrosion - one to the trunk opening, another to the parking brake actuator shaft and a third to the undercarriage/exhaust. The latter applies to a limited set of 2015 vehicles that were produced in Mexico and held too long at the Port of Veracruz where they were exposed to extreme environmental conditions. I believe these vehicles were eventually delivered to the US. As a result of this exposure, Mazda is now adding a rust protective coating to the undercarriage at the production facility. In any event, the OPs GT along with all other 2015 US and Canadian spec GTs were made in Japan and are not covered by this TSB.

If there is another TSB that relates to the rust you speak of and is being honored in the US but not Canada, could you pls post it or at least the bulletin number and date of issue. Most appreciated.
 

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I'm aware of 3 TSBs that relate to corrosion - one to the trunk opening, another to the parking brake actuator shaft and a third to the undercarriage/exhaust. The latter applies to a limited set of 2015 vehicles that were produced in Mexico and held too long at the Port of Veracruz where they were exposed to extreme environmental conditions. I believe these vehicles were eventually delivered to the US. As a result of this exposure, Mazda is now adding a rust protective coating to the undercarriage at the production facility. In any event, the OPs GT along with all other 2015 US and Canadian spec GTs were made in Japan and are not covered by this TSB.

If there is another TSB that relates to the rust you speak of and is being honored in the US but not Canada, could you pls post it or at least the bulletin number and date of issue. Most appreciated.
no, the last one was the TSB i was referring to. i didn't know that canadian GT's were all made in japan, my canadian GS was indeed made in mexico. it must have been one hell of a shipment that got held up. the list of VINs is very large.
 

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Thanks a lot for your suggestions zero_gravity. Exhaust is rusted as well (forgot to mention). I'm planning to clean the rust in the next couple weeks. Will also see if I can do the undercoating by myself (before winter)

How is your car looking after you cleaned it? Is the rust coming back again in those parts?

I noted all the steps that you mentioned above. Do you mind writing what product are you using for each of the steps?

1- wire brush
2- rust eating gel (let it sit)
3- clean with grease/wax remover
4- sprayed a few layers of rustoleum
5- Once that dried, a few layers of rubberized rocker panel paint


Thanks again :)
you're luck, i have a bit of time to further explain. if you have never done any body work cleanliness is key. i want to say that i am by no means a bodyworker professional. i just enjoy working with cars. i'm at the point where painting a panel you'd be hard pressed to tell it isn't a pro job, not terrible with putty but i do need some more practice to really get it seamless every time, and yes i've tried repairing rusted out panels....i can improve it but it usually comes back at some point. a rusted panel can be very difficult to repair and that's why most shops will just replace it. i've since taken a similar approach.

from my past experience: stay safe. have a good set of goggles or at the very least tight fitting safety glasses. i still have a small chunk out of the white of my right eye from a piece of rust that got around my safety glasses. i also use a good respirator mask with P100/OV cartridges. rust debris isn't good to breathe in, paint might be worse (especially the good stuff) and the oil mist from undercoating isn't good for your lungs either.

i highly recommend using disposable nitrile gloves. the oil from your skin can interfere with the paint curing. the cheaper vinyl gloves will degrade with some of the solvents used in automotive painting.

here's what i started with. i know it doesn't look horrible, but take a close look. the paint has failed which has caused the rust. it flaked off like paper. the rust was about 4x what you see breaking through, which is very normal. keep in mind that this is WITH undercoating! i wanted to solve this before it was a problem. the exhaust wasn't very happy for only a year old either.









did some rust come back? yes a small amount. it's far less than what you see here. as i have mentioned, a small amount of 'wear rust' is not a problem. i was more concerned with repairing the failed paint. i'll just continue to apply rubberized paint as necessary and undercoating every fall. if it gets worse, i can always do this job again. it doesn't take long.

here's a full procedure with a shopping list. these are the exact same materials i used! i'll get into my rustproofing later on.

- first strip affected areas with a wire brush. Mastercraft Flat Wire Wheel Brush | Canadian Tire. be aware that you will be removing more than what you see for painted areas. you want to remove ALL the rust or it will return. stick that on a drill and it will go fast. DO NOT USE ON THE EXHAUST SYSTEM! the exhaust is stainless steel and must be treated differently.

- wipe it down with a clean cloth. apply rust remover gel to the affected areas. let sit a few minutes. this will neutralize any rust that you cannot see or maybe some you missed. Rust Remover | Canadian Tire

- next wipe down with a generous helping of grease and wax remover. let it dry. in a hurry? use a heat gun. on low please, no need to melt any rubber in the area. Grease and Wax Remover | Canadian Tire

- a tack cloth is a great idea after, removes any remaining debris that could interfere with your paint job without leaving any residue behind that will affect anything. Bondo Tack Cloth | Canadian Tire

- for paint i chose cheap rustoleum black. you want something strong, enamel like this is a good choice usually. it's far from the best stuff out there but it's not bad. Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint | Canadian Tire

- do not simply splatter the paint on. this is how you get dripping and a final product that won't seal worth a crap. first coat should be just a dusting. you can let it dry just most of the way before applying second coat. this will allow a thicker second coat to adhere better. you are far better off with a few thin coats that one or two thick ones. take your time. use even and controlled can strokes, don't get too close. you want to overlap any remaining paint that is still good (if any) to seal it.

- let it dry, i like to do about 3 coats. wait until FULLY cured.

- next i used a rocker guard rubberized paint. this is great stuff for our cars up north. gives a bit of a cushion to deflect stone chips. you might need to reapply every year for some areas. i use it under the rockers and other such areas that you can't see unless you get under the car for added protection in areas that are normally trouble spots for rust. part of my yearly rust proofing. Rubberized Rockerguard Undercoating | Canadian Tire

- 2 coats should do, 3 doesn't hurt. keep in mind that this stuff is THICK!

exhaust repair:

- as mentioned, this is different due to the fact that the exhaust is stainless steel and endures high heat. regular paint isn't an option. DO NOT use regular steel wool, wire brushes, or anything metal for that matter. you could introduce a dissimilar metal contamination which may create a worse problem later. this must be done by hand unfortunately. here's what you want to use, they're plastic but work very well: 3M Heavy Duty Stripping Pad | Canadian Tire

- you won't get every spot out with the exhaust. you'll still retain some small black spots, nothing to worry about. treat same as above with the rust gel and grease/wax remover.

- paint it up! follow the instructions on the can very carefully, you must go through a few heating and cooling cycles to get this stuff to cure properly. once it seems dry, i'd take the car on a long run and get it really hot. this paint likes heat! there is a clear one that i chose since i like the look of the stainless exhaust. you'd never even know it's there. VHT High Temperature Flameproof Header Paint, 312 g | Canadian Tire

the exhaust rust repair worked wonderfully and has not come back at all. i've been very impressed with myself on that one.
 

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Thanks a lot for your suggestions zero_gravity. Exhaust is rusted as well (forgot to mention). I'm planning to clean the rust in the next couple weeks. Will also see if I can do the undercoating by myself (before winter)

How is your car looking after you cleaned it? Is the rust coming back again in those parts?

I noted all the steps that you mentioned above. Do you mind writing what product are you using for each of the steps?

1- wire brush
2- rust eating gel (let it sit)
3- clean with grease/wax remover
4- sprayed a few layers of rustoleum
5- Once that dried, a few layers of rubberized rocker panel paint


Thanks again :)
as promised, here's how i do my rust proofing. this is not a quick ordeal mostly with how the 3 has the plastic under trays (or whatever they're called). i find ramps easiest. as mentioned before, safety first. your DIY jobs are useless if you've been crushed by your car and your own stupidity. oil mist isn't so healthy for you either. i recommend same gear as my previous post. if you don't want oil on your driveway or garage, get a large tarp. you can lay that down and drive the car onto it ramps and all. be very careful with the ramps, they tend to slide easier on a tarp when you're getting the car onto them. once you're on, you're fine.

- remove all the plastic. it's a painful job, but necessary. take care not to damage any of the cheap plastic fasteners. keep the fasteners with their respective panel.

- you will need a large compressor. i use a cheap 26 gal husky i got at home depot. does the job, but takes forever and a day to charge up. goes to 150 psi and i still have to wait for it to recharge a couple times during spraying. not sure if they still sell these things or not. 80 psi is the normal pressure for undercoating.

- next you need the shutz gun. i couldn't find the exact one i use on princess atuo website, it may be discontinued. they will have something else.

this one i simply screw the can of oil on and spray. some have a pot.

- spray away. try to keep it off your brakes and the exhaust. it'll just burn on the exhaust, not a big deal. smokes and smells bad. a little bit of this after an undercoating is normal just from splatter. i use rust check coat and protect. Rust Check Coat And Protect | Canadian Tire. it's a little more expensive, but works very well. it also doesn't drip.

- put the panels back on, you're done. you can spray the plastic lightly if you want, might help keep water away from the car but i doubt it. couldn't hurt though.

- next stage is behind panels. i bought a gun specifically for this from princess auto. get this, the idiots sized the threads for the can wrong! i haven't had time to fabricate an adapter, but if you remove the tube from the gun it'll fit on the undercoating one if you unscrew the black plastic nozzle.


that's not the exact one, but looks pretty much identical. with that tube wand you can now get inside your car. take a look at your doors, under the rockers, even the trunk. there will be little black caps. carefully remove those and you have a way to get oil inside the panels without drilling holes! be creative and you can get just about anywhere.

- the oil i use is again rust check, but the one intended for panels. Rust Check Rust Inhibitor | Canadian Tire this stuff is very thin and will get into corners and crevices easily. HOWEVER it will drip badly! park the car on the tarp for a few days and carry some rags with you. it doesn't damage paint. i did find an alternative....if you open the can and let it breathe for a bit (maybe stir it or use low pressure air to blow some air into it) and then just leave it alone for a while it'll get a little bit thicker. this will virtually eliminate dripping but may not be as effective. i'd imagine it's pretty close.

- one warning: if you pull any of the plugs under the rockers you'll find mazda's dirty little secret. they put the plugs in and then painted over them. if you remove them, you're breaking paint and exposing bare metal. you should only need to pull 2 to get oil in there. remember that rubberized rocker guard paint? put a few layers over it to reseal once you finish. i'd do this every year regardless to ensure that they remain sealed.

- there's also big plugs near the rear wheel wells under the back doors. these are great access points to get oil into the rear wells and quarter panels. i did end up damaging the plugs so they wouldn't hold tight on their own again. i also don't care, since a little silicone fixes that. i'm pulling them every year after all.

- the final thing i do is to use touch up paint on any stone chips. if they're not sealed, it's asking for further paint damage and rust if deep enough. i think it was scratch wizard off amazon i got...it matches very well.

by now you might be wondering why i go to this extent and maybe questioning my sanity. well my sanity may be questionable, but we have very harsh conditions for cars in ontario. rust is probably the biggest killer of vehicles here. it's said that car panels are designed to last about 10 years give or take aside from design flaws, manufacturing defects, etc. paint is also not as good now, it's all waterborne industry wide for environmental reasons. safer to work with, but still very toxic. it's also nowhere near as strong as the old polyester based paints...that stuff was also death to work with if you didn't know what you were doing.

the real reason is i don't sell my cars. anytime i hear someone say a car is an investment i want to give them a good slap. it's a depreciating asset (with very few exceptions) and you will not make your money back in the sale - that's why people buy used! i'd rather run it into the ground firmly and get my money's worth out of it that way. by the time i'm done with my cars, i can't sell them. nobody wants them except the scrappers lol. rust prevention like this makes a very noticeable increase to the lifespan of my cars.

now i think i've covered about all of it. good night.
 

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If you're in Canada and you care about the underside of your car or want to keep it long term get it rust treated on an annual basis.

Winter road treatments are extremely harsh here. No getting around it.
 

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OK I am doing an update of the situation. First of all, there was more rust than I thought and second, it was so difficult to remove the salt in some places. Washed the car multiple times from below, sprayed some vinegar water mix, let it sit down, wash again....
The whole process may have taken me 2 weekends (around 6 hours each) and 4-5 days during the week (2-3 hours). I am not an expert but try to be as clean and careful as possible.

I am starting with the exhaust. I had to clean really well the exhaust, remove rust and brush away the rust. Did this twice. Below are the pictures. I mistakenly got a black matte color, which turned out really cool. The curing process was a time consuming too, but hopefully it doesn't flake easily. The pictures showing rust look a bit worse than what actually was, just because the flash light is on the yellowish side and the exhaust was damp with vinegar/water.
 

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The front part was the one who was more badly rusted. spent a bottle of rust remover on the front and one on the back. Did apply the rust remover 3 times in total I think. In some places maybe 5 times. Removing the rust with the wire brush was really difficult in some places because of space issues. I used the wire brush on the drill multiple times at the same place. Let the gel dry for 1-2 days then went with the wire brush and more rust was coming out. The whole process was really exhausting. Now the pictures. As you can see from the pictures, after painting the surface is not flat, looks bubbly, but that's not rust/humidity or dirt particles, it's just the remaining part of paint who was not coming of, tried also scratchpadding it. Maybe I should have used some grit paper (anyway). On the front part I used black matte colour which looked cooled, on the back used dark glossy green because matte black was out of stock.
 

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I can say that 90% of the project is completed. I have still to paint the suspensions and rubber coat some parts of the wheel wells. Then before the winter I will have to apply the corrosion free. Overall I am satisfied with the results. I know, I know, I could have done better but everyone starts as a beginner. Here are some awful and disgusting pictures of the before state. The previous owner must have been an a**hole.
 

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I live on the US Gulf Coast. Weather can bring hell-on-earth for us sometimes, as seen in Texas and Florida the past couple of weeks. But one weather advantage we have over colder climes: we don't have much ice in the wintertime, which means we don't get much salt put on the roads, which is great for our cars. Of course, salt coming from ocean tidal flows can be kind of tough during the hurricane season, but nothing's perfect.
 

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OK I am doing an update of the situation. First of all, there was more rust than I thought and second, it was so difficult to remove the salt in some places. Washed the car multiple times from below, sprayed some vinegar water mix, let it sit down, wash again....
You need to stop using the vinegar. Vinegar is an acid. Acid is great at neutralizing rust, but it's also an excellent paint stripper. Especially when you let it sit.

Acid is commonly used to strip paint from panels at body shops for repainting. Quick and effortless.
 
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