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Prevent rust on rotors with outdoor storage

I might be having ankle surgery and will be house bound for at least 2 weeks. I don’t have a garage to store my car in and it rains alot here. The last time I didn’t drive my car for awhile the rotors became heavily rusted and I had to have them resurfaced. What’s the best way to prevent the rotors from getting rusty this time? I was thinking of placing large plastic bags over the tires and holding them in place with string, but don’t know if that will trap moisture inside the bag causing rust anyway.

My guess a ford, older, not much you can do, that I know of, but leave it go and with enough driving it will work itself out. Outher option loan your car to an every day driver. Best wishes.

Unless they’ve been sitting for months and months and caused the rotors to pit…the first time you drive the car and apply the brakes…the rust is gone. Do you think dealers are going around and resurfacing the rotors on their cars that have been sitting outside for weeks or even months??

The most I’d do is cover the outside of the wheels with plastic to keep rain splash off.

My car is a 2011 honda accord. I didn’t drive it for a couple weeks and the rotors rusted and pitted. Driving it and braking did not take it off, the steering wheel would shake when I used the brakes so I had to get them resurfaced.

Besides covering just the outside of the wheels, I’d want it parked somewhere with great drainage so it isn’t sitting in water/mud/whatever.

I suspect you were in need of rotors before you let it set. 2 weeks should not be a problem, cars set in airport parking lots for that long all the time. I had a pickup that sat in my drive for months at a time and it was not a problem.

Yeah, some Hondas seem to be more prone to this.
Are you near the ocean?
Getting someone to drive it every few days may be the best answer.

I wouldn’t do anything. Moisture in the air can cause rust even if you cover them. I suspect Volvo is correct and you needed rotors anyway. I’ve had cars sitting outside for months in the winter and no problem.

Different brands of rotors rust or not. My 96 Chev Cavalier rotors would quickly rust while parked in a poorly ventilated and damp garage while my old VW rotors would not rust at all judging by the noise from the brakes on the Cavalier and none from the VW. A few stops would clear up the noise every time after parking for several months. I finally stopped the Cavalier rotor rust in my damp garage by providing some additional ventilation.

You might investigate installing a large plastic bag over your brake rotors with each wheel removed before installing the wheels again for storage. Camphor blocks (Ebay) inside the sealed (as best as you can) bags will help to displace damp air in the bags to stop the rusting. If you can’t get quickly get camphor which was used by machinists where I worked to prevent small steel items such as expensive Jo blocks from rusting, then possibly moth balls will work but I don’t know that. Possibly you can verify that the gas given off by moth balls will work too.

Wha Who has a good idea about wrapping them in plastic.

Many years ago when Hondas were manufactured in Japan and shipped to the U.S. all brake rotors were covered with a form fitted piece of plastic to prevent corrosion while on the freighters.

Part of the PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) involved the removal of those covers before the car was sold.
Sometimes the person doing the PDI would cut a corner (and in some cases was oblivious to the covers) and the car was sold with the clear plastic covers in place.

This was often followed with a new car owner returning wanting to know what that horrid burning smell was.

If you want to take this a step further you might get a pair of old womens nylon hose and pour a cup of crystal kitty litter into each hose. Tie the end in a knot and place it on top of the brake caliper. It will absorb moisture inside the plastic bag and prevent rusting of the rotors.
For the firearms afficionados among us this also works in the gun cabinet.

I doubt you need to do anything at all. But if you wanted to protect the rotors from rain getting on them, me, I’d seek out a more simple option other than wrapping the wheels individually. That seems like a nightmare. Instead, I’d buy one of those relatively inexpensive aftermarket car covers – the kind where one design fits many cars, but not perfectly like a custom one would — and pop it over the car for two weeks. That should keep the wheels pretty dry.

If I had this concern, I’d likely do a quick 1 second spray of WD-40 to all four rotors (both sides). Then drive up-n-down the driveway with the brakes applied in order to smear the WD-40 across the rotors.

I know I’ll get some critical comments on this suggestion. But I view it as no different than the original film that comes with new rotors out of the box (that often isn’t removed).

Be careful after the 2-week storage period to test your brakes, but they should be fine.

I’d do nothing, the amount of rest that will form in a few weeks is small, and will wear off the first time you drive it.

And water alone doesn’t cause rust, you need salt.

I like George’s idea. A simple car cover.

WD40 will ruin the brake pads. Use a wax based spray if you just have to do this. Pledge or other furniture wax product. Less likely to ruin the pads.

I have a truck that sits for weeks at a time next to my lawn irrigation system in the humid sub-tropics. The rotors rust, I drive, the rust goes away.

Covering the wheels and or rotors will only seal in the humid air and exacerbate the rusting. That would almost be akin to parking it on the grass.

Best thing you can do if you really do suspect they will rust up in this timeframe? Have someone drive it once a week or so… There is really nothing else you can do. The better the rotor quality…the less you will see rusting…and many rotors are made of Dog Poop Metal these days…sad but true.

One look at the price disparity in rotor possibilities will clue you in that they are not all made equal…not by a long shot.

Id just have someone take it for a spin for you.


I sure wouldn’t spray them with wax or oil.

Don’t worry; leave them alone, unless the car will sit undisturbed for many years.

2 weeks? No way that length of time will be critical unless it is partially submerged in the ocean. :smile: I have many cars that sit for far longer periods and I’m in relatively close proximity to the ocean. These even drive in snow and salt and then sit. Yes, they get a flash coating of rust but it is swept away on first drive. If you had to get yours resurfaced, it was likely just their time to need such maintenance or the cheapest rotors known to man…