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Before I buy - Strut tower surface rust

Hello all,

I’m shopping for a used car and checked out a 2006 Pontiac G6 today. It seems to be in good shape overall, but when looking under the hood, I noticed rust on the strut towers. I’m not sure how much of an issue it is, and held off on making the purchase. Photos attached for your consideration. Should I pass on the car?

I appreciate any advice on the matter.


That’s more than surface rust to me. I’d pass.

Thanks for the advice. I’ve seen a few other posts online that have the same condition, like this one:

but nothing conclusive. I’m not sure how bad this problem is.

It’s selling at a good price, but I don’t know what I’d be in for down the road…

I agree with texases and with the car up on a rack for an undercarriage inspection I would have to think that things would be even worse.

Baloney. This is a six year old car. These pics look fine. Try buying a car in New England. This is all surface, no bubbles in the structure. Ok and tex just did not look closely. My 8 year old new england ford does not look this good. No structure damage at all, that metal looks clean. Just the bolts which always corrode a bit, at six plus years these look fine.

Thanks to you, too. I’m shopping in PA, and the car originated in upstate NY.
I agree that the metal looks OK, but I wasn’t sure if the rust on the strut mount top was acceptable, or a sign of something more.

That’s just the upper strut bearing. Its heavy metal and is of no concern. You’ll just replace them when you do struts. However it is an indication that it was in a rusty environment so you need to have the undercarriage looked at for excess rust. IMHO from a Minnesotan.

I am with Bing one this one. I will bet the car is just fine.

It seems to be that it’s borderline insanity to not have that car put up on a lift and have the undercarriage inspected before handing over any money.

Maybe the reason that the car is for sale at a good price is because the seller knows something that all of us, including the potential buyer, do not; as in rusted brake lines, rotted subframes, etc, which may have caused the seller to balk or failure of the car to pass a PA state inspection.
I’m not pyschic so I don’t know; just saying that prudence is better used before the fact rather than after.

Check the build tag on the door jam and odds are one would find that car is 7 years old, not 6.
Judging from some of the Rust Belt cars that end up here in OK that’s more than enough time for rust to become an issue.

I’m with the majority here. Have the G6 inspected by a good mechanic on a lift to check for corrosion damage. Years ago my wife wanted a new Chrysler “K” car and I went to the local dealer to look at them. They all had corrosion on their suspension parts, front and rear, and the dash pad fell in my lap during the test drive. Needless to say…we never bought a K-car. Good luck with the Pontiac.

That looks normal to me for a car in the Notheast or any snow/salt region.

It should go without saying that any used car should be inspected top and bottom.

Looked at some used cars this weekend. One looked fabulous body and underhood. The underside was wasted, trailing arms almost rusted off. You shouldn’t assume anything based on what the topside looks like.

The strut tower is really not the best location for structural rust issues anyway. If its bad then likely the rest is lousy. I just commented on the picture. Alas I too lost my psychic powers at about age four.

That’s just part of the strut. No big deal but maybe use it as a negotiation point.

If a part inside the engine compartment is this rusted, I’d sure want a thorough exam of the stuff that USUALLY get corroded. It’s more than ‘surface rust’, it’s flaking off (right side of 1st pic).

This is what I consider ‘surface rust’:

Seriously, if the rest of the car is okay, just tell them that the struts will need replacing so you offer him less so you can pay to get them totally replaced.
Maybe those were just cheap struts that are now rusting.

The rust you see on the upper strut bearing is normal. When the strut is manufactured, they don’t paint the strut parts with a primer/surfacer/sealer and then with a finish coat. They just put a cheap coat of paint on the strut parts so they don’t rust while being shipped or while sitting in the warehouse/parts store. Once this cheap paint coating is exposed to the elements the paint flakes off and you get surface rust.

If you were to replace the struts just because of surface rust on the strut components, in Minnesota, you’ld be replacing the stuts every 1-2 years after the struts were replaced.


I think this seems like a pretty rusted piece given that it resides at the top of the motor compartment. To me it indicates this car has been exposed to a good deal of road salt in its life so far. I’d really make a effort to get the car on a lift and look at the frame and other suspension and body parts to see how “rusty” they are. I’d do some poking at areas of “surface” rust to see if they are really just on the surface, or perhaps something deeper.

I’ve spent many years driving in upstate NY, northern Michigan, and now in Northeast PA where road salting is common and looking at these pics makes me wonder just how much rust there is on the more exposed areas of this car?

Thanks, all. I appreciate the advice, and I’ll ask to bring the car to another mechanic to check it out, after the hurricane passes.

Thats not the strut tower, its the upper bearing plate that can be changed.