How can I keep my brakes from rusting?

Brake pedals.
Brake pedals. –Flickr/greeblie

After leaving our car in the driveway for the first three months of the year, it ends up having noisy, rusted brakes. Do you have any suggestions on preventing rust?

Q. We go to Arizona in the winter, and for the past few years, after leaving a car in the driveway for the first three months of the year, we return to noisy, rusted brakes. Normal driving hasn’t worn off the rust, and I have had to replace rotors or more. Some years, the brakes haven’t had much mileage on them before rusting. Do you have any suggestions other than renting a garage?

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A. Surface rust on brake rotors will occur in as little as a couple of hours if the conditions are just right. Since much of the moisture can come from the ground, parking on top of a tarp may help to limit the moisture and, in turn, the rust. Don’t put any lubricant or rust inhibitor on the rotors, as it will contaminate the brake pads and compromise braking. Covering the tires with a plastic bag will only trap moisture. The best solution would be to have someone drive the car every few weeks while you’re away.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.