How could my truck completely rust out?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who was surprised to learn that his Ford truck had extensive rust damage.

FILE- In this Feb. 17, 2019, file photo the company logo is displayed on the grille of an unsold 2019 F150 pickup truck at a Ford dealership in Broomfield, Colo. Ford is almost finished with a major global restructuring, and by the time it ends in August the automaker will have shed 7,000 white-collar jobs. The company said Monday, May 20 that the plan will save about $600 million per year by eliminating bureaucracy and increasing the number of workers reporting to each manager. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Q. I have a 2007 Ford F-250 that I previously used as a plow truck and now just use for trips to the dump. Recently there was a rattling noise under the truck which turned out to be the exhaust. When the truck was on the lift, the mechanic called me into the shop, and I saw that the frame looked like Swiss cheese. The brake lines were all rotted as well. I know the truck is 12 years old, but is this normal? Why didn’t I get any warning?

A. You’re not the only person with a rusted-out Ford pickup truck. The problem with rust is that the vehicle can perform perfectly until it rusts into pieces. The rust we are seeing now is at least partially attributed to the chemicals that are put on the roads to prevent freezing in winter. Periodic inspections would have given you a hint of things to come. 

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