Here at Karas Plating, we have a long history of supplying zinc-plated components to the automotive industry. Or, rather – zinc-nickel plated components. As such, we understand the important role they have to play in keeping our cars on the road.
A drive down memory lane
In the dim and distant past (that is, any time before the 1970s) vehicle rust was not a widespread phenomenon. It was most commonly found on cars that were frequently driving around seaside towns and resorts. The reason for this, of course, was salt. Salt in the air, salt in the sea spray, and a patina of salt on the road – three ingredients that lead to the corrosion of metal car parts.
One for the road
The seventies and eighties saw the expansion of the motorway system and general upgrade of road infrastructure in Britain. It also saw changes to the way we surfaced the road, in particular some of the de-icing compounds that we used. These compounds had – you guessed it! – a high salt content, which meant that cars up and down the country began to experience higher incidences of rust and corrosion.
Zinc to the rescue
Zinc is a naturally corrosion-resistant metal. Not only does it help prevent rusting, it is also comparatively lightweight and can be applied in very thin layers. This was an important consideration as a heavy plating metal would result in reduced efficiency.
While zinc has good corrosion-resistant properties, it needed to be more durable and resistant to wear and abrasion. By combining zinc with nickel in the plating process, we get the best of both worlds – a hard-wearing metal, custom-made to handle salt spray, heat, and abrasion, all at the same time.