In order for metal to rust it needs only to be exposed to the slightest amount of moisture (including moisture in humid air). Paint scratches and chips which expose bare metal will obviously permit this to happen, and so any such breaches of the paintwork should receive immediate attention, preferably before any moisture which comes into contact with the metal has sufficient time to let rust gain a foothold.Very shallow scratches which do not go through to the metal may be gently cleaned out and hand painted with a small brush. If bare metal has been exposed (to all intents and purposes corrosion begins the moment metal comes into contact with air which contains moisture) then it is usually best to take a small area of the surrounding paintwork down with wet 'n' dry (used wet) to reveal a little more metal than was originally exposed. The existing paint at the edges should be `feathered', that is, there should not be a discernible shoulder around the area. This should be dried and thoroughly de-greased before being treated with Bondaglass Voss 'Ronda Prima' or a similar rust-retarding paint. Use of this product should stop any tiny traces of rust which remain on the surface of the metal from spreading. If necessary, high-build primer can then be applied and flatted down before top coating. Before applying any paint or rust-resistant product, check that it is compatible with the existing surrounding paintwork of the car. Do not use cellulose-based products on other types of paint, because the powerful thinners will lift them.Old paintwork will usually be faded, so that the new paint stands out from the surrounding area. If this is the case then cutting the old and new paint (allowing a suitable period for the new paint to harden first: which varies according to the type of paint used) with a proprietary mild cutting compound will remove accumulated road dirt and take a very thin layer off the old paint to lessen the difference, as well as improving the surface of the new paint. It is best to leave any new paint to harden for at least a fortnight before cutting it back.lJnderneath the car, particularly within the wheel arches but also along the floor outer edges and heater channels, mud accumulates and should be cleaned off at regular intervals. Mud not only holds moisture in contact: with the car body for long periods but it holds the salt which is used on roads in the UK in winter. Little accelerates rusting faster than salt.Steam cleaning is the very best way in which to remove mud from the underside of the car, although most people make do with a powerful jet of water. High pressure cleaners can also remove undersea! which nolonger adheres to the metal due to the spread of rust underneath. Far from being a problem, this is a great help because it gives you a fighting chance of dealing with the rust at the earliest opportunity. You can hire such washers by the hour or day from many DIY and equipment hire businesses. If you do use one then make sure you have rust-arresting primer and some underseal to deal with the rusted areas which will be exposed.Washing the car regularly not only keeps it looking good but also helps to show up any scratches or minor dents which could, if left untreated, lead to the onset of corrosion. It is a good idea to begin by washing theunderside of the car and the wheels, because the use of a hose or high-pressure water device can splatter mud all over the place, including onto the paintwork you have just washed if you did things in the wrong order. The head of a stiff broom can be a help in removing mud from under the floorpanlheater channel areas, where it can be difficult to direct a jet of water. After cleaning the underside, switch your attentions to the roof and then work downwards.Never use ordinary washing-up liquid to wash the car, because many liquids contain industrial salts! (Do not use them in the windscreen washer bottle, either, because some of this soapy water will find its way onto the paintwork). It is always safest to use a proper car shampoo. Begin by hosing the car down with fresh water to get as much dirt as possible into suspension and off the body. If you take the wash leather or even a sponge to bodywork covered in gritty dirt then the dirt will grind at the surface of the paint. Begin with the roof, work along the bonnet, down the back and sides and lastly do the valances.After this initial hosing or washing down it is as well to use a chamois leather and repeat the exercise, gently helping dirt from the surface with the leather, before applying the car shampoo and then rinsing this off.At this stage you should thoroughly inspect the paintwork for any signs of damage and attend to these before polishing. If the paintwork is very dull then you might consider cutting it back before you polish it, using one of the several products for the purpose which are widely available from motor factors. Finally, polish the.. paintwork. Car polish repels water, so that water which is kicked up from the road (and which contains dirt) will wash away before the majority of the dirt has an opportunity to come out of suspension and stick to the paint.