I have never seen THIS MUCH rust on a nine year old car

My friend Chester bought this 2006 Taurus from an online auction in Ohio. Luckily it was cheap for the year and low mileage, but what’s cheap for such a rusty car?. After it was trucked here, he discovered the rust in the floor boards. There is no recourse or possible return. Oddly, the rest of the car is really very nice. There is no rust in the areas where we sometimes see it. Actually we seldom see much rust at all around here on a vehicle this new.

Is this sort of rust common in other areas, AKA the rust belt? Is floor rust common in Tauruses that don’t show rust in other places? Is it possibly a flood car that was not disclosed? Did it possibly get water inside, and rust from inside to outside? That seems rare.

Chester brought it to me to see if it can be saved. I told him that I don’t think the car can be made safe, even if “new” floorboards can be welded or riveted in. He’s thinking aluminum sheet. I’m thinking floor sections cut from a wrecked Taurus. I stomped and twisted the worst of the rust out of the floors to see if I could get to reasonably good material. The picture, if it loaded correctly, shows what is left.

The other option is to sell it to someone named Flintstone.

Is it me, or does it appear to have rusted from the inside out? I suspect title laundering of a hurricane car.

Whether it was a hurricane car or a flood car, or simply a car that wound up in a creek and then stayed there for a few weeks, this is not “normal” for a modern 9 year old car of any make or model.

I can understand why people with limited resources might go to an auction, but expecting to find a good car at an auction is only slightly more likely than finding a virgin at a house of ill repute.

Inside out is a possibility. I’m wondering if anyone here has seen similar rust that WASN’T from the inside. The seat bottoms, tracks, and power seat motors are not rusty though. There is no musty smell. This is a whole new world of woe to me. I’m glad it’s not mine.

I have seen similar levels of rust, but not on anything that young. When I was a kid my dad had a Toyota that mom finally forced him to junk because if you peeled the floor mat back you could see the road going by through the large hole in the passenger floorboard and she was convinced I’d tumble out. But it had 100,000 miles on it in an era when reaching that milestone was cause for shock and amazement, and had also spent the first 3/4 of its life in Louisiana right on the gulf coast soaking up all that lovely, salty sea mist. It rusted the usual way, not inside-out.

My uncle likes the Ford Taurus and he buys them cheap. Most are rusted through right under the rear doors and floor pans. I’ve seen several that were rusted in this manner. He only buys the 3.0 SES models because of the nice wheels and spoilers on the trunk. So far…he has stuck with the 2002-2006 models and always makes money when he sells them. Since the rust is always in the same area…it eliminates hurricane cars in my mind.

That was my first thought too that it sure looks like the interior was wet for a while. There is surface rust around the holes that were knocked out. If it rusted from the outside, why would there be surface rust around the hole? Unless it rusted a hole through from the outside and the water spray soaked the inside time after time. That might make sense.

@MG McAnick. Please tell him to junk it. As a person whom have been dealing with rust in cars for more years than I care to remember, I can tell You, that that car is a lost cause. I don’t believe that it is just from the inside. If it was so - then the “frame” would not have been so severely affected, it will have to be submerged in salty water for some time and never been cleaned to get so bad. I can’t remember that I have ever seen rust so bad on a 9 year old car. The whole structure is compromised and it is not a vehicle which is safe in any way. Can it be fixed? Yes, no problem. I’ve repaired cars way worse than this, but you could probably buy three really good used cars for the price of the repair. And, forget all about rivets.

Quoting @VDCdriver

"I can understand why people with limited resources might go to an auction,"

The strange part is that Chester probably makes as much in a month as I make in a good year. He’s just tight with a buck. Sinking good money after bad may not be an issue for him. Advisable, no. I’ve probably known him for 45 years, and his wife for over 50. She was a big kid on the bus when I was in Jr High. Sometimes dealing with friends can be a real pain.

A bud took his 2005 truck in for a recall, they are replacing the frame! Don’t recall make or model. I am thinking it is a toyota.


I think there is apossibility the car was wrecked and the windshield wasn’t sealed properly. Water then leaked under the floormats.

That’s an interesting theory @Triedaq. It might not even need to have been wrecked to have a badly sealed windshield. The lack of musty smell throws me though. Can water pass under those cross braces to the rear floor? I’ll stick it under a sprinkler and see what happens.

But… how’s he paint?
I haven’t seen that much rust since I rotated back from Guam in '73.

I think @Triedaq is probably correct, somehow rain and snow was leaking into the passenger compartment, for a long time. Maybe it was broken and parked outside for months or years and never used, and the owners – never driving it – didn’t realize it had a leak.

I don’t see it every being safe as it was new, but maybe for driving to 7-11 it could be made safe enough with some welding in replacement panels. It depends on how good the metal is on the perimeter of the rusted spots, and on the structural channels.

I had floorboard rust problems on a,1965 Rambler and.a 1978 Oldsmobile after only 7 years on each of the cars. Neither car was in a flood or submerged in water. In the case of the Olds, a body seam was not welded correctly. A body shop removed the left front fender and repaired the seam. They also repaired the floor in the driver’s side. I think the Rambler had been.undercoated. and water somehow got between the undercoating and the steel. Perhaps,the Ford @MG_McAnick has shown,us,had a poorly applied undercoat.

It looks like some corrosive chemical was spilled/poured/ into the foot-wells. It could have been sea-water that was simply allowed to evaporate and concentrate in the foot-wells hidden under the carpet. Something nasty happened to this Taurus…

If the floor pan areas are the only parts that are severely rusted I tend to think that the car may have been in a flood or two. Rust Belt Ohio doesn’t make it any easier on sheet metal.

I might say weld in some floor pans cut out of a wreck if other areas are in good shape.

The nagging inner voice in me says ug, scrap it and move on.

I have seen some not so old cars with very severe rust but these were generally cars from ocean front properties or the Rust Belt which ended up here in OK.

One VW which came in for a brake repair I remember very well. The owner lived in a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico and when I went out to get in the car I see plywood on the floors.
That was the only thing keeping me and the seats from falling through and the guy actually drove the car to OK in that condition.

For those pictures, someone went through a LOT of trouble to remove the seats, carpet, insulation, seat belts, trim, and clean everything up…

Flood, Hurricane, windows down extended period. Cannot blame Ford on this one.

My 24 year old Plymouth Laser, rust proofed by Ziebart when new…has no rust on it til this day…looked almost like new. Glad I did it. I am in the rust belt (Missouri).