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How Do Electronic Rust Protection Systems Work?

How Do Electronic Rust Protection Systems Work?

Car Engine


One of the biggest problems of car owners—especially those who drive in humid environments—is rust. It can eat away not just at the paint but also the engine and various internal parts. Rust can even damage the electrical systems of a vehicle, including crucial components like the brakes.

In short, you don’t want your vehicle to fall victim to rust. It’s not just unpleasant to look at but can also result in numerous safety issues. Fortunately, there are plenty of anti-rust products you can use such as grease sprays and lubricants. All you have to do is apply them to the parts that are prone to corrosion, such as the underchassis, hinges and welds, suspension system, as well as cavities like the door sills and pillars.

For something technological and more hassle-free, however, you may want to consider getting an electronic rust protection system.

What Is an Electronic Rust Protection System?

Rust requires multiple elements to form: moisture, oxygen, and free electrons. In the case of steel, for example, its iron particles become oxidized when exposed to water or moisture. These oxidized iron particles then release electrons that flow through the steel. These electrons also interact with hydroxyl ions, ultimately forming rust.

Without one of the above-mentioned elements, rust will not form or at least form more slowly. An electronic rust protection system (ERPS) interferes with the action of the free electrons, so that they won’t be able to initiate chemical reactions that result in corrosion.

As such, electronic rust protection systems are capable of slowing down the effects of corrosion in both interior and exterior car parts. What’s even better is that an ERPS is not just for new cars; it can also work as effectively in old-model vehicles!

How Does This Technology Work?

An ERPS slows down the rate at which iron present in steel reacts with moisture or water by continuously supplying the vehicle with a negative charge. Most ERPS models have electro-couplers, which receive voltage from the system’s generator. These couplers turn the vehicle into a negatively charged surface, so that the free electrons aren’t attracted to it.

Three are also electronic rust protection systems that come with what is called a sacrificial anode. Instead of turning the vehicle’s steel parts into negatively charged surfaces, the module loads a powerful positive charge onto the anode. As a result, it’s the anode that gets rusted and not the car’s metal parts.

Does This System Drain My Car’s Battery?

Some car owners are hesitant to use an electronic rust protection system because they’re worried that it can drain the battery. However, this is actually not the case. The entire system only draws only a small amount of current, usually no more than 20 milliamperes. It’s the ERPS’s own mini generator or module that amplifies this current and increases the voltage that is transferred to the couplers or loaded onto the sacrificial anode.

In short, you don’t have to worry about your car’s battery. Besides, with an electronic rust protection system, the battery itself is also protected from rust so it’s a win-win situation!

How Is This Technology Applied?

Electronic rust protection systems are commonly used in steel pipelines for water and fuel, steel storage tanks, offshore oil platforms, and steel pier piles. It’s also applied to wind farm foundations, as well as metal reinforcement bars in concrete buildings. Essentially, this technology is helpful in various situations in which metals are exposed to water or moisture.

The most popular usage of ERPS, however, is on boats. Instead of constantly painting and repainting the bottom to prevent corrosion, an electronic rust protection system is installed so that the hull doesn’t attract the free electrons. Then, once the boats are ashore, the anodes are inspected and replaced accordingly.

The model of electronic rust protection—which is also referred to as cathodic protection—used on marine vessels is the inspiration for many ERPS used in cars today.

Should You Get an ERPS?

Now that you know how electronic rust protection systems work, the next question is: should you buy one for your car? The answer to this largely depends on your location and driving habits. If your car is often exposed to water, moisture, and saltwater, then you’ll definitely benefit from an ERPS.

An electronic rust protection system is also great for overall car maintenance. If you don’t want to worry about long-term corrosion, an ERPS can give you extended rust protection and peace of mind.

Do note that unlike greases and lubricants, you can’t simply install an electronic rust protection system on your own. This is especially true if you have limited experience in auto electronics. It’s best to bring your car to a reliable mechanic who has knowledge about ERPS and have them install the module for you. This way, you can be sure that the system will work and your car is protected from rust.

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