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Galvanizing a car body with your own hands
Galvanizing a car body with your own hands

To protect the body of their car from corrosion, car owners use various methods. Some keep the car in the garage and do not leave in the winter, others wash it weekly, and others treat it with anti-corrosion materials. Unfortunately, today there is no single correct solution for preventing corrosion, but there is one method that can effectively resist the process of metal oxidation - galvanizing a car body.

This technology is far from new and has been used by some automakers for a long time. It is much more effective than all existing methods of rust control and is able to withstand it for decades. We will talk about what galvanized car body is in this article. We will look at existing methods for applying a protective coating in factories and at home.

Car body galvanization
Car body galvanization

What is galvanization

Galvanizing a car body is the process of coating it with a thin layer of zinc. This metal is practically resistant to corrosion and protects structural elements not only from moisture, but also from other chemically active substances. Automakers use galvanizing onmachine assembly stage. It may be complete or partial. In the first case, absolutely all elements of the body can be processed, both from the outside and from the inside. The second option involves zinc coating only those parts that most often suffer from interaction with an aggressive environment: the bottom, sills, fenders, etc.

Methods of galvanizing

There are only three ways to apply a zinc layer to the body metal:

  • electroplated;
  • thermal;
  • cold.

Let's look at each of them in more detail.

Do-it-yourself galvanizing of a car body
Do-it-yourself galvanizing of a car body

Galvanic method

Galvanic galvanizing of a car body means placing it (or its individual element) in a container with a certain electrolyte. The container body is connected to the positive electrode of the power source, and the element to be processed is connected to the negative one. Without delving deeply into electrochemical processes, the technology can be described in simple terms as follows. Zinc particles in the electrolyte are accelerated under the influence of electricity and begin to move from the anode to the cathode, i.e. to the body, and cover it with a thin but continuous layer. Galvanized galvanizing technology is rightfully considered the most effective way to resist corrosion, since the part is covered with a protective layer on all sides.

Thermal (thermal diffusion) method of galvanizing

The thermal method consists in placing the element to be processed in a bath with hot zinc solution, where, under the influencetemperature, the protection is applied in a thin layer to the metal. Some car manufacturers practice applying zinc to the steel sheets from which the body is made, even in the process of rolling it. This method is slightly inferior in efficiency to galvanic, but also serves as an excellent protection against rust. The Americans were the first to produce cars with hot-dip galvanized bodies, but a few years later the technology spread to Europe.

Hot dip galvanized vehicles
Hot dip galvanized vehicles

Cold application method

This method is close to galvanic, but it does not require any capacitance. Here everything happens with the help of a special electrode, the active composition of which includes zinc. It is connected to the positive terminal of the power source, and the element to be processed is connected to the negative. When the electrode interacts with the part, zinc particles under the influence of electricity pass from the cathode to the anode, covering it with a protective layer. Cold galvanizing of a car body is most often used for processing its individual elements and is rarely used by automakers.

How to know if your car is galvanized

Given that not all car manufacturers use the listed protection technologies, it will not be out of place to find out if your car has undergone such treatment, and whether you can hope that its metal is able to resist corrosion. But how to determine the galvanization of a car body if it is painted?

The easiest and surest way is to read the user manual. If the body passedsuch processing, you will definitely find the corresponding mark in the document. The second way is to check the car by the VIN code. The received response will contain information on whether the body was galvanized.

Cold galvanized car body
Cold galvanized car body

Well, the last method is a visual inspection of the machine. If the body has damage to the paintwork, and under them you will see a characteristic gray layer, you can be sure that the car is galvanized. You can also inspect the bottom, fragmentarily removing dirt and a layer of anti-corrosion from it. It will not be superfluous to look at the floor of the cabin, after pushing the carpet.

Galvanizing car bodies: a table of methods, brands and models

The table below shows popular makes and models of galvanized vehicles.

Galvanized zinc plated

Thermal galvanizing

"BMW" "Audi"
"Mercedes-Benz" "Volvo"
"Honda" ("Accord", CR-V, "Legend", "Pilot") "Ford" ("Escort", "Siera")
"Kia" Chevrolet
"Hyundai" "Opel" ("Astra", "Vectra")
"Cheri" "Volkswagen"
"Seat" "Porsche"

"Lada" ("Grant")

"Skoda" ("Octavia", "Fabia")
How to determine the galvanization of a car body
How to determine the galvanization of a car body

Is it possible to galvanize at home and what is required for this

Do-it-yourself galvanizing of a car body is quite possible, but it does not imply full, but partial coverage of certain elements with a protective layer. These can be areas that are most susceptible to corrosion: fender liner, sills, areas under the feet of the driver and passengers, door cards, as well as places where the paintwork is damaged.

The home method of applying zinc protection is a cross between cold galvanizing and galvanizing. But more on that later. And now about what is required for this.

Required tools and tools:

  • rubber gloves;
  • zinc chloride or sulfate (soldering acid);
  • piece of zinc;
  • glass dish;
  • car battery or charger;
  • a piece of clean rag (gauze);
  • sandpaper;
  • degreaser (solvent);
  • baking soda solution.
Galvanized car body
Galvanized car body

If you are unable to purchase a ready-made solution of zinc s alt, ityou can cook by yourself. To do this, take sulfuric or perchloric acid and dissolve pieces of zinc in it in a ratio of 1: 0, 4, i.e. for one liter of acid - 400 gr. metal.

This is done as follows. Pour acid into a glass dish (glass, jar) and immerse zinc in doses until they stop interacting. The reaction occurs in the form of dissolution of the metal with the evolution of hydrogen. Therefore, be extremely careful: work with gloves and away from open sources of heat. When the reaction stops, the solution can be considered ready. Filter it and drain the sediment. Now you can proceed to the immediate process.

We zinc the body at home

Galvanization of a car body can only be carried out in areas previously cleaned of paint, dirt, dust, rust, process fluids. To do this, the area to be treated is cleaned with sandpaper, after which it is degreased and dried.

Now you need to assemble the device itself. For it, we first of all need a power source that produces 12 V and 1 A at the output. The battery or charger for it is perfect. Next, you need to make a zinc electrode. This can be either an ordinary piece of zinc (plate, rod), or a case (glass) from an ordinary alkaline battery. The latter option is preferable and much more convenient. The electrode must be wrapped with a rag in several layers and connected to the positive terminal of the power source. At the same time, it is not allowed that the rag with which you wrap the zinc rod or plate comes into contact withterminal.

The negative wire from the power source is connected to the car body. Further, all you need is to dip the improvised electrode into the solution and slowly drive it over the surface to be treated. During this process, zinc particles will settle on the steel in a thin layer, creating a protective coating. If the work is done correctly, the treated area will have a dense texture of light gray color.

At the end of the galvanizing process, the place is washed with a solution of table s alt and dried. In the future, it can be primed and painted.

Galvanized car bodies table
Galvanized car bodies table

Some useful tips

The area to be treated must be carefully cleaned and sanded with fine sandpaper so that its surface does not have visible grooves.

The positive electrode cable or junction must not be allowed to come into contact with electrolyte.

Rinsing with a solution of soda or any other alkaline solution is required. This is the only way to neutralize acid residues. Otherwise, a recurrence of corrosion processes is possible.

Periodically check the condition of the cloth on the electrode. In the course of work, it will gradually burn, so reel it in a timely manner.

Do all work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, observing safety precautions. Do not allow acid to come into contact with exposed skin or contact of hydrogen released with exposed heat.

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