Created By: SharleeD on March 16, 2014 Last Edited By: Sharlee on August 28, 2017
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Rust-Removing Oil

Normal oil, applied to rust, removes it instantly while restoring the metal to perfect condition

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When metal rusts, oxidation converts its ferrous components into a brittle crust of iron oxide that can't be changed back into iron or steel, only chipped away or chemically transformed into black iron phosphate. In video games and some other works, this isn't necessarily true: often, it's a temporary inconvenience that can be set right with a bit of oil. It doesn't matter if the oil in question comes from a machine shop, a lamp, a kitchen pantry, or straight out of the ground. Rub or even just drip a bit of it onto a rusted lock, latch, or other metal gadget, and the device will immediately be restored to perfect working order, gleaming like new. In extreme cases, rusted-out holes and gaps will seal themselves, and even its paint job might be restored.

Probably arises because people conflate oil's use in lubricating jammed or squeaky metal hinges with its use in protecting not-yet-rusted metals from corrosion. Variants in which other substances have an unrealistic restorative effect (e.g. ordinary shoe polish that miraculously repairs cracks and holes in leather) also exist.

Very common in casual and inventory-based adventure games.

Examples

Film
  • When the Tin Man first appears in The Wizard of Oz, the protagonists don't even realize he's sentient because he's so rusted that he can't even move. After a few quick squirts of oil onto his joints (and a brief scene of him stumbling around), he's practically as limber as any of them.
  • In The Wiz Dorothy and the Scarecrow come across an amusement park mechanical man who is rusted. They "slide some oil to [him]" which loosens his joints which lets him move, sing and dance.

Literature
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Dorothy and the Scarecrow come across a rusted tin statue and an oil can. They put two and two together to oil the statue, who is the Tin Woodsman.

Tabletop Games
  • Implied in Warhammer 40K, where grot riggers are sent into the bowels of giant mechs and starships with nothing but rags, oilcans and wrenches to fix things. Ork technology relying as much on Clap Your Hands If You Believe as actual mechanical principles, it actually keeps the thousands of tons of rusty metal moving and firing.

Video Games
  • In True Fear, applying oil to the rusted clamp which seals a cabinet will instantly restore it to glistening perfection. In the bonus content, merely dripping oil onto a rust-sealed first aid kit's hinges lets you open it easily.
  • Mystery Case Files. In Return To Ravenhearst, dripping oil on the rusty bolts of a culvert's grille instantly restores them, allowing the Master Detective to unbolt it with a wrench.
  • In Ancient Domains of Mystery, there are potions called Oil of Rust Removal. When an item is dipped into it, rust will come off.
  • In Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When it's Dark Outside, there is an oil can on the stump outside the riverside shack. You need that to oil King's rusty wheels and navigate the mines.
  • In Hugo's House Of Horrors you come across a trapdoor but can't open it as the bolt is rusted shut. You need the oilcan from the shed to restore the bolt to open it up.

Western Animation
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Robot Rabbit", Bugs Bunny is being chased by a robot, so he leads it under a sprinkler, leaving it completely rusted over. Elmer comes in with an oilcan and oils the joints, and suddenly all the rust fades away, leaving the robot good as new.

Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • March 16, 2014
    bibliophile28
    The Wizard Of Oz definitely does this, rusty tin man lumberjack who can't move? squirt him with the oil can and he's fine, think the book does it as well but I haven't fully read it.
  • March 16, 2014
    JonnyB
    Oil immediately unrusts the Tin Man's joints in The Wizard Of Oz.
  • March 16, 2014
    TonyG
    In the Looney Tunes short "Robot Rabbit", Bugs Bunny is being chased by a robot, so he leads it under a sprinkler, leaving it completely rusted over. Elmer comes in with an oilcan and oils the joints, and suddenly all the rust fades away, leaving the robot good as new.
  • March 16, 2014
    DAN004
  • March 17, 2014
    Chabal2
    Implied in Warhammer 40 K, where grot riggers are sent into the bowels of giant mechs and starships with nothing but rags, oilcans and wrenches to fix things. Ork technology relying as much on Clap Your Hands If You Believe as actual mechanical principles, it actually keeps the thousands of tons of rusty metal moving and firing.
  • March 17, 2014
    MaxWest2
    In Ancient Domains Of Mystery, there are potions called Oil of Rust Removal. When an item is dipped into it, rust will come off.
  • April 14, 2014
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    In Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When it's Dark Outside, there is an oil can on the stump outside the riverside shack. You need that to oil King's rusty wheels and navigate the mines.
  • April 16, 2014
    Arivne
  • December 31, 2014
    SolipSchism
    Expand the Wizard of Oz example:

    • When the Tin Man first appears in The Wizard Of Oz, the protagonists don't even realize he's sentient because he's so rusted that he can't even move. After a few quick squirts of oil onto his joints (and a brief scene of him stumbling around), he's practically as limber as any of them.
  • September 28, 2015
    Sharlee
    Forgot about this one, anyone got more examples? Hats?
  • September 28, 2015
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: Grot riggers are equipped with wrenches and oily rags and sent into the bowels of ork warmachines to perform maintenance and repairs (hit/turn things with the wrench and rub others with the rag). And it works, keeping them working far longer than they have any right to, although the usual ork remedy to rust is along the lines of replacing the part when it falls off.
  • September 29, 2015
    randomsurfer
    • In The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz Dorothy and the Scarecrow come across a rusted tin statue and an oil can. They put two and two together to oil the statue, who is the Tin Woodsman.

    • In The Wiz Dorothy and the Scarecrow come across an amusement park mechanical man who is rusted. They "slide some oil to [him]" which loosens his joints which lets him move, sing and dance.
  • October 11, 2015
    MaxWest2
    In Hugos House Of Horrors you come across a trapdoor but can't open it as the bolt is rusted shut. You need the oilcan from the shed to restore the bolt to open it up.
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