Rust under the hood in a 2010 Toyota Matrix. Is it normal?

I rented a 2010 Toyota Matrix with 29,000 miles from Hertz Rent2Buy and noticed rust in the engine compartment screw heads, hose clamps, battery clamp, and on top of the shock housing. The pipe before the muffler has it also. The inside smells fine and the car runs fine. I ran an autocheck report and nothing bad came up. I took it to a local Midas shop for a visual courtesy check and they said it looked fine and that it could have been from humidity or rain if hood was open. The car was registered originally in FL and then mostly in PA. Is this rust normal or should I be concerned?

Rust on nuts and bolts might not be an issue, these parts aren’t really rust protected. Yet, I’d wonder about where all the water came from? It is humid in FL. If the seals around the hood are not good (Toyotas are usually pretty tight) some rain water could have gotten under the hood. Or, is this evidence of flood damage? I have an '01 Toyota Sequoia and it is very clean under the hood after all these years and 120K miles and the car is in NE PA.

Midas really isn’t going to be much help in evaluating the car. I’d suggest a good body shop check it over. I’d be most concerned about rust under the car; frame, suspension, brake lines, etc. It might be fine, but this is a clue you need to follow to be certain.

If the car is flaking apart and suffering from severe corrosion damage, this would be unusual on a two year old car. However, if you are referring to some light surface rust on bare metal, which is what it sounds like (even the stainless steel exhaust parts will develop some of this over time, but still take 15-20 years to rot out), it is perfectly normal and not cause for concern. I would suggest taking the car to a body shop and having them look at it if that will put your mind at ease.

I actually uploaded some pics with the original post, but I don’t see them anywhere…It doesn’t seem like they bothered to clean under the hood so even the top of the engine where oil is added looks like it was wet at some point. Could this maybe happen if the hood was left open during a rainstorm?

Sounds completely normal but posting a picture or two might be helpful.

I attached them again…I see what I did wrong before…

It looks normal especially if someone took a run or two down a Florida beach. Salt water/sand is very corrosive.

The car is a 2010 model so this means it was likely sold in 2009. This makes it going on possibly 2.5 years old. It’s quite possible that you’re already seeing the results of road salt in PA and maybe with a little help from ocean salt in FL, all depending on where the car was based in FL.

If it’s this bad on up top components already then I’d have real concerns over the underneath, no matter what Midas said.

Thank you all!

Rental cars are washed after every return, whether they need it or not. That could mean 5 washes a week! In a humid climate that means a lot of accumulated water that does not air out quickly since the car is then parked. When I rent cars on the coast, they often smell musty inside because of all that moisture.

This no doubt helps explain the corrosion.

I agree with Docnick.

Some of the aluminum parts have an appearance that says that some caustic chemical was used on the engine as a cleaning agent.

Combine that with the Florida part of the car’s life and I’d think this would be a normal situation.

My Honda Insight has similar conditions under the hood.

A little rust is nothing on rental cars.
I’d be more worried how it drives, knowing what interesting things people have done to them to see if it could be done.

For instance, I’ve learned that a dodge caravan redpoints around 55 mph when driven in first gear and makes it without burning up badly Petween pascagoula and new Orleans.

Looks normal from here.

I really appreciate all the comments. I had my brother look at it too since he works on his own cars. He confirmed that it looked normal for a PA car and he checked the computer with his phone (don’t ask) for any previously generated error codes and he found none. I made up my mind and decided to purchase yesterday.