If you're planning on buying a pre-owned hatch or SUV, here's one thing you should check

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Boot hatch of a VW Polo Vivo
Boot hatch of a VW Polo Vivo
Robin Classen

The boot linkage of hatchbacks are prone to rusting over time and eventually breaking off.

The rust is mainly caused by rain water and moisture staying in and around the linkage.

Checking for premature wear can save you on repair costs.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.



The very first vehicle most consumers buy is almost always a hatchback body type. The Toyota Conquest and Volkswagen's Citi Golf are some of the most notable names in the hat for younger car buyers.

Hatchbacks tend to be cheaper and more fuel-efficient, which resonates with many buyers in the pre-owned market for a first-time set of wheels.

There's a vast selection of new entry-level hatch offerings currently available in South Africa, but not everyone can afford  brand-new vehicles; used vehicles then becomes the next best thing.

Keep your eyes open

It's a given most pre-owned models will have some sort of niggle - whether mechanical or aesthetic - with extra cash generally having to be set aside for a bit of reconditioning.


Are there any other potential areas of concern on a specific body shape that you are aware of? Email us, or share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Like the door handles of a Citi Golf prone to breaking off, or the Toyota Corolla 4A-GE engine suffering from smoke issues, certain cars have specific factory gremlins that have generated memes on motoring forums over the last couple of years because they're that common.

Close-Up Of Damaged Car
Close-Up Of Damaged Car

While that is a topic best left to be had over a braai, if you're planning to buy a used one or currently own a hatchback, there is a section of the body you should check and one that has become a problem associated with the age of those body types over a prolonged period.

Rust build-up is the worst enemy of a vehicle's body and, if left unattended for a long time, can eat away at the metal that can lead to gaping holes resulting in a pretty penny to repair.

READ | These add-ons will increase the value of your used vehicle

According to Dave's Body Shop, rust happens when a material that contains iron is exposed to moisture. When the two substances come into contact with each other, it causes an atomic reaction that results in oxidation. The most obvious way for moisture to come into contact with the metal in your car is rain.

Furthermore, rust build-up occurs much more rapidly for vehicles based closer to the sea because of the large amount of saltwater particles in the air. Not washing the body regularly from long-standing dirt is another contributing factor that speeds up the oxidation process.

Watch the hatch

The main reason why the boot hinge and bracket is susceptible to developing rust is due to the area not being exposed to sunlight. This means rainwater sits there having nowhere to go even though there are guides along the insides of the body that diverts the water to the bottom.

Rust is, unfortunately, one of those things that you will have to keep an eye on and monitor. Another familiar spot for rust to develop is along the top of the front window. Depending on the severity of the rust build-up, the windscreen will have to be removed to ascertain if other sections have been affected.

For a panel shop to fix boot rust properly, the entire rear hatch panel needs to be removed. If it has not been treated or fixed correctly, there is a good chance the rust will return. The last thing that you want is the boot door caving in while being opened.

Checking for boot rust is one of the many precautions to take aside from the usual things like accident damage or strange engine sounds - though it costs nothing to thoroughly inspect the ins and outs of any vehicle you're about to spend your hard-earned cash on.

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