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Rusted but Trusted

Got an '05 Merc. Mariner – love it! Never a recall like my past Fords. Anyhoo, bought it new but really just now noticed the seat bolts on floor are pretty rusted on driver’s side - no doubt due to salt on roads here in Minnesota. So What’s-His-Name used a stiff brush to get off any loose crud. What do you propose I do about protecting them as I really don’t want a hole in my floor?! Product suggestion? Thanks/ Desperately, but rarely, Ignorant Female

Are these seat bolts on the interior of the car? If so, after removing the crud you might put some grease on the bolts or paint with Rust-0-leum paint to keep the rust off. If the seat bolts are on the underneath exterior of the car you might have a more substantial problem and perhaps a body shop ought to look at the area to determine if you have a safety issue.

I agree that you really need to have this vehicle looked over closely and make sure that it’s not unsafe and by that I mean the entire chassis. It’s unlikely that rust is picking on the seat bolts only and at 8 years of age in MN this vehicle could be dangerous to drive on the road.

What should be done is to ban the use of salt except in very isolated spots such as bridges but odds are the road salt lobbyists won’t let that happen.

I agree with OK4450 about having the car thoroughly checked over. Odds are that the rust you’ve discovered is only the tip of the iceberg. I hope I’m wrong.

Rust in the floor area is exactly as Uncle Turbo suggests. It’s a result of the salt you bring in on your feet, and a statement of the thought given to these bolts by the manufacturers. The steel used is stronger then stainless but more rust prone. Put on a rust neutralizer and coat with red grease…if you really want, have them changed out by mechanic. But when pulled, I doubt you will see any problem other then their appearance. The real problem would be the sheet metal and surrounding area that the thread area was imbedded in. Check that out and do the same treatment as suggested by Uncle T.

A huge help would be to purchase something like Husky Floormats which confine the salt brine that collects on the interior, so they may be dumped out later. This keeps the salt from migrating under the carpet and around those bolts. I doubt seriously, if this rust is any concern. Your fender wells, rear quarters and rockers will rust through long before this area is a real problem. This is at least, an area you can see. It’s going on in many other areas of greater concern that you can’t see. Rolling back the carpet to inspect the rest of the floor board is the best inspection for his area you can give.

I agree that road salt is a huge problem for rust…but DOTs in many states feel it is still the most cost effective way for them to save lives. The next time you drive on bare roads only hours after a snow storm when it used to take days to clear, keep that in mind. You could be crawling at 25 mph instead of flying at the speed limit and complaining about snow and ice removal instead of rust…DOTs can’t win. Bottom line is that anyone can slow much of this body rust in salt areas if they are willing to do a little work once a year along with frequent washings.

While road clearing is definitely better than in years before, I think road salting has reached an unacceptable extreme. Here in northern Ohio, if temperatures are below 40° and there’s a chance of precipitation, road salt gets spread everywhere–even in the fall, when the roads/ground are still warmer than the air. Now they’re also spraying down “liquid deicer,” aka, “brine,” as a preventative measure if wintry weather is expected. It’s a waste of money, it wears out the salt trucks and machinery, it rots bridges and other infrastructure, and last but not least it rots our cars. Sorry for the rant, feels better to get it out.