The Detroit Post
Friday, 15 October, 2021

How Can I Fix Rust Spots On My Car

Danielle Fletcher
• Saturday, 26 December, 2020
• 7 min read

However, if you deal with rust early, you can stop it from spreading and squeeze a few extra years out of your vehicle. Rust repair isn’t hard, but it is time-consuming (mostly waiting for primer and paint to dry between steps).

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Plan to spend about $100 on supplies like sandpaper, primer, masking tape and poly sheeting, a tack rag, polishing compound and touch-up paint and clear coat. Use either of these online resources to find instructions on how to locate your paint code: or

Buy automotive touch-up paint in pints and quarts to use in a spray gun, in aerosol cans, or in roller ball applicators. Pro-tip: Even if you know how to use a spray gun, mixing automotive paint with a reducer to match the temperature and humidity conditions can be mighty tricky.

Instead, buy aerosol cans for larger repairs and roller ball applicators to fix scratches. Buy 40-, 600- and 1,000-grit sandpaper, a sanding block, grease and wax remover, poly sheeting, painter's tape, a tack rag and a microfiber cloth.

Tape the leading edge of poly sheeting a few feet away from the repair so you'll have room to blend the touch-up paint into the good areas. If the rust has created pits in the metal, you can fill them now with body filler or wait until the epoxy primer dries and apply multiple coats of filler primer.

Spray the filler primer in heavier coats to cover the entire repair area. Move the can away from the surface slightly and blend it into the surrounding painted area.

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Pro-tip: Self-etching epoxy primer provides a strong bond to bare metal, so use it as your first coat. Wait a full hour for the epoxy to dry to the touch (longer if it's humid outside).

Switch to wet 1,000-grit sandpaper to final-sand the entire repair, including the blended areas. Start at the bottom of the repair and apply the color coat in left-to-right rows, overlapping each pass by about one-third.

Pro-tip: Don't sand the base coat (especially metallic colors) unless you've created sags. Gradually work the clear coat into the surrounding painted areas to achieve a smooth blend line.

Note: This is the hardest part because all clear coats run easily and that will ruin the look of your paint job. If you create a run in the clear coat, you'll have to let it dry for at least 48 hours before attempting to fix it with fine-grit sandpaper and polishing compound.

So practice spraying on a scrap piece of cardboard to get a feel for the nozzle and the speed of application. I drive a 1985 VW Golf (diesel), and it's in pretty good condition for being 21 years old.

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These spots are not only an eyesore, but they are sure to spread in the salty Nebraska winters. The car is kind of a beater, so I wasn't too concerned with making it look perfect.

My original plan was to take the entire fender off, but after inspecting it, that would be too much of a hassle and would require me to disassemble a lot of the front of the car. I unscrewed the plastic thing protecting the wheel well and set it off to the side.

That gave me wonderful access to see up behind the sheet metal on the car. I was originally going to pound out the dent on the upper part of the fender, but space was tight and I couldn't easily do it.

It worked really well for taking off the thick layers of primer and paint. I carefully worked my way around the rust spots and removed paint until I could see clean metal surrounding the rust.

I also used that wheel for removing all the light rust that hadn't pitted the metal. I had my hood open to help access some rust, so I got a tarp to cover up the engine.

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I went to NAPA auto parts to find some primer and paint. Then I got a 400 grit wet sandpaper and sanded the areas, then wiped clean.

Paint spray can get everywhere because it gets suspended in the air and blown around and settles somewhere. When applying paint, it is important to spray thin coats and keep it even.

The paint turned out pretty well, and it just looked like little patches over the old rust. After the paint had cured a good 48 hours, I washed and waxed the car to bring back the shine.

For many people, simply applying touch up paint will be adequate. If you want to give wet sanding a try you’ll want to have a variety of different grit sandpapers.

Be sure and check your sandpaper to ensure that it isn’t picking up paint that is getting trapped in the grain of the paper. Of course, you should wait at least 24 hours between applying the touch up paint and attempting to wet sand it down.

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Once you’re satisfied with the results of your wet sanding you’ll want to give it a little polishing to finish the job off. Polish is a very mild liquid abrasive that you can work by hand on a small spot like a chip.

It may require a bit a force when hand polishing but using an orbital buffer would be overkill for a simple chip. Since the early 1900s, auto manufacturers have been using chrome to add beautiful and durable finishes to their vehicles.

The aluminum in the foil actually helps to file over, fill and seal each rust spot and the results can last a very long time. Once you have finished removing the rust, wipe the entire area you have been working on with a wet cloth to rinse away any residue.

This type of product is extremely versatile as it can also clean and polish other metals on your car such as aluminum, nickel and stainless steel. Chrome polish may be more expensive than other methods that use household objects, but a quality product will ensure quick and complete removal.

This will help to ensure all dust, dirt and debris is removed and give you a clear area to work with. Use a soft cloth to spread the cleaning polish on the rusted chrome and ensure it is covered completely.


Using very fine steel or brass wool, rub the chrome in a circular motion taking care not to apply too much pressure. Rinse the area with clean water to reveal a beautifully polished and rust -free chrome finish.

If this is not possible, using a good-quality chrome polish regularly can help to remove and prevent future rust spots and will keep your vehicle looking its best all year round. Senior Member This small rust spot is on the edge of my Jeeps roof.

What's the best way to kill, remove and seal the rust spot without damaging the surrounding paint? Senior Member That looks like it's bubbling up under the paint, and has already spread farther than where the “exposed” damage is.

Senior Member Is there something wrong with Chrysler's paint in recent years? In the past week alone, I have seen 3 Chrysler products with random areas of bubbling paint.

They all appear to be in good shape otherwise, just some random spots where paint has bubbles and/or rust. The cars are: 2008 Jeep Wrangler, 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan, and 2007 Chrysler Sebring.

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Senior Member I don't think the problem is with the paint itself, it's with the metal prep process. I've seen a lot of issues with EDP/Elmo primers not adequately covering all areas of steel panels, as well as aluminum panels with ferrous contamination leading to oxidation and corrosion in OE situations.

Of course the fact that many Yes are also going with waterborne base/clear doesn't help either, since those finishes are more porous than the more VOC-laden solvent BC/CC systems we've been used to for the past two decades or so. Director of Training Something that small isn't going to be a deal breaker.

Carefully apply some matching touch-up paint after first cleaning the area and stick to your asking price. If I were interested in your Jeep, a little spot with touch-up paint wouldn't stop me from following through with the purchase.

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