How To Prevent Rust Build-Up On Your Jeep Wrangler

If you’ve recently purchased or already own a Jeep Wrangler, then you may have noticed that rust build-up can be a problem with the vehicle from time to time. Rust can be caused by a wide variety of reasons, but how can you prevent it or fix it if it appears on your Jeep?

Humidity, exposure to chemicals, and salt from road de-icing can all cause your Jeep to rust. Prevent rust build-up by keeping your car in an enclosed garage, removing salt products as soon as possible after applying them, and only using care products designed for Jeeps.

If you’ve already got rust on your Jeep, then a fine-grit sandpaper can help you remove it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes of rust, ways you can prevent it from forming, and the best methods for removing rust from your vehicle.

What Causes Rust Issues in a Jeep Wrangler?

Red car in the mountains

When it comes to rust issues on your Jeep Wrangler, understanding the causes may be the first step toward preventing any further damage.

While it may be impossible to keep all rust from showing up on your Jeep, knowing the causes can help you take steps that will limit the rust formation as much as possible.


One of the most common causes of rust build-up on a Jeep Wrangler is the humidity in the air. When your vehicle is exposed to moisture in the air regularly, this will cause rust to begin to form on various parts of your Jeep.

Rust build-up occurs when the moisture in the air reacts with the iron that’s used to create your Jeep Wrangler. Over long periods, the humidity can wreak havoc on certain parts of your vehicle.

Unfortunately, humidity is not something that you can prevent unless you keep your Jeep Wrangler closed up in a garage at all times. Since this isn’t likely to happen, your vehicle will be exposed to humidity, which can lead to rust build-up.

Keep in mind that if you live in an area that has more humidity than others, your Jeep Wrangler may be at a higher risk for rust.

Exposure to Chemicals

Another cause of rust build-up on your Jeep Wrangler is exposure to various types of chemicals that unknowingly create more damage. While you’re not likely to purposely expose your Jeep to harmful chemicals, you may be doing it without realizing it.

There are many products on the market that are advertised to help with one issue or another when it comes to vehicle care. Using products that you’re not familiar with can expose your Jeep to chemicals that may lead to rust build-up.

For example, if you notice the first signs of rust and you attempt to remedy the problem by sanding it down and adding a primer, you have to be careful in choosing the product. This is because some products are specifically designed for the Jeep Wrangler and others are not.

When you use a primer or other products that aren’t designed for your specific vehicle, this can lead to more damage. In essence, rust can begin to form from the chemical reaction with the alloys that the Jeep is made with.

And, to be clear, doing something is probably better than doing nothing, but it may be worth pausing to phone an auto-body shop for their opinion.


When you’re looking for the causes of rust build-up on your Jeep Wrangler, you should consider that the reason could be oxidation. Since the Jeep is made from alloys, which are designed to be stronger than the materials used in other cars, they are at risk of corrosion.

Oxidation occurs when oxygen in moist air is exposed to the iron that is used in the materials to develop the Jeep Wrangler. The more that the metals are oxidized, the greater the chance it has of developing rust that tends to spread quickly.

While using the alloy metals helps make the Jeep a tougher vehicle overall, it can be frustrating to know that it’s more susceptible to rust build-up. Over time, if proper care isn’t taken, rust can become a bigger problem for your Jeep.

Salt Exposure

Since Jeep Wranglers are well known for their tough features, they’re often used on rough terrain and in snowy conditions. Those who use their Jeeps in inclement weather also tend to use various products to keep from slipping and sliding in the snow and ice.

These products that are used to either remove snow and ice or help you navigate better in the weather often contain salt and other chemicals. Over time, exposure to these chemicals can cause rust to build up on your Jeep Wrangler.

The bigger problem comes into play when you use salt-based products on your vehicle but neglect to wash it thoroughly afterward. The longer the salt is on your vehicle, the more likely the chance of rust will occur.

Salt, like other harmful chemicals, reacts with the iron that’s found within the alloy metals used to make the Jeep Wrangler. Extended exposure to the salt on the iron can cause a weakness in the metal that makes it susceptible to rust build-up.

Will Rust Hurt Your Jeep?

Jeep on the flyover

One question many Jeep owners ask is whether or not rust can hurt their vehicle if it’s left untreated. The answer to this question is a resounding yes since rust doesn’t go away on its own.

While small amounts of rust may not seem as harmful, it can spread and compromise the integrity of your vehicle over time. This is because once rust has begun, it typically will spread to other parts of your Jeep relatively quickly.

Keep in mind that Jeep Wranglers were designed with tough materials to keep you and your passengers safe from various impacts.

However, if your Jeep has rust build-up that continues, it can compromise the integrity of your vehicle, making it more vulnerable to damage.

The best thing you can do when you see rust is to take immediate action to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your Jeep. This can be done in a variety of ways and can often be done without having to take it to a professional.

Can You Remove Rust From a Jeep Wrangler?

In most cases, there are several ways that you can remove rust from your Jeep Wrangler. Many of these removal procedures can be done at home, and you won’t need any professional experience. Let’s take a look at the options.

Sandpaper and Paint

When searching for ways to remove rust from your Jeep Wrangler, one of the first methods you will likely discover is using sandpaper to remove the rust. Using this method will give you the best chance of ridding your Jeep of the rust that can wreak havoc on your vehicle.

To do this, you will need to use fine-grit sandpaper (on Amazon) and rub it back and forth until the rust is completely removed. You’ll know this has happened when you see the shiny metal underneath the rust and paint job.

Once you’ve safely removed the rust, you can then use paint that matches your paint job on the Jeep to cover the spot. Be careful when applying the paint to ensure that the coverage matches the rest of your Jeep Wrangler.

Replace the Rusted Part

Another method of removing rust from your Jeep Wrangler is to simply replace the affected part. Since this is the most expensive and extreme method of removing rust, you should use it only as a last resort.

If you’ve tried other methods to remove the rust from your Jeep Wrangler and they’ve been ineffective, replacing the part may be your only option. Finding various parts can be pretty easy, however, you’ll need to do some research to find the best parts available.

Keep in mind that if this is the option you choose, you should take your Jeep to a Jeep dealership to have it done. This will prevent your warranty from being voided, and it will help preserve the value of your vehicle.

Tips for Preventing Rust Build-Up

jeep wrangler garage

If you’ve recently purchased a Jeep Wrangler or have had yours for a while and want to know how to prevent unsightly rust build-up, there are many tips that can help. Following these tips can help you to prevent rust from building up on your Jeep, thus keeping it in good condition for years to come.

Here are some tips to help prevent rust build-up on your Jeep Wrangler:

  • Reduce the amount of time you spend off-roading with your Jeep Wrangler
  • Store your Jeep in an enclosed garage when it’s not in use
  • Remove salt products as soon as possible after applying them
  • Only use products designed to be used on a Jeep Wrangler

While this is not an exhaustive list, these tips can go a long way to help you prevent rust build-up and keep your Jeep Wrangler from deteriorating.

Final Thoughts on Preventing Rust Build-Up

The bottom line when it comes to preventing rust build-up is to ensure that you’re taking care of your Jeep Wrangler. This means that you’re keeping it clean and free of various chemicals that can cause rust and minimizing exposure to moisture as much as possible.