I have a Rocky Mounts Lariat SL (discontinued model) and I have had some rust on the actual quick release axle but not on the little pin. I'm guessing the rust on mine is from leaving the rack on my car all the time and it getting rained on. The axle would kind of lock up when I slid it back and forth but I just put dw-40 on it and it's fine now. I don't know how Rocky Mounts' customer service is, but being a smaller company I would guess they are pretty reliable since they are competing with the big boys Yakima and Thule. Maybe shoot them an email or call about the problem and see if they will send you a replacement.