The Detroit Post
Saturday, 16 October, 2021

How To Fix Rust Spots On Car

author
James Smith
• Saturday, 26 December, 2020
• 8 min read

I drive a 1985 VW Golf (diesel), and it's in pretty good condition for being 21 years old. These spots are not only an eyesore, but they are sure to spread in the salty Nebraska winters.

rust spots stop fix paint body auto
(Source: autodynamicsenterprises.weebly.com)

Contents

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. After 99.9% of the rust was removed, I sanded by hand (with 120 grit 3M Sandblaster sandpaper) to get a nice smooth metal surface.

rust spots fix revs daily
(Source: www.car-revs-daily.com)

If I wanted, I could have used Bond to even out some dents, and fill the space where the paint is gone 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.

I had to spray the paint on even thinner, because it really wanted to run and sag. 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. 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). 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.

rust
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Use either of these online resources to find instructions on how to locate your paint code: automotivetouchup.com or duplicolor.com. 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. Pro-tip: Self-etching epoxy primer provides a strong bond to bare metal, so use it as your first coat.

instructables rust fix spots
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

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.

Unfortunately, rust is the silent killer of many cars; it creeps in over the years while you’re not watching, and it can eventually wear out not just the body of your vehicle, but more important parts, too. If you’re looking for an affordable used car, even one with a little rust, it’s always a good idea to check its accident history first.

rust spots paint fix prime
(Source: www.instructables.com)

If the vehicle you’re looking at has been in an accident, it might be more prone to rust or damage in specific areas that have been repaired or replaced. Auto check is an exceptional tool for this that can help you find anything meaningful in a vehicle’s history, either from its license plate or its VIN number.

Whether you don’t mind new car prices or you’re looking for a bit of a deal, Autoloader is an excellent place to look to start, too. It’s easier to prevent rust than to fix it, but if you’ve managed to let some slip by, it’s not the end of the world.

Incidents of rust that don’t originate from normal wear and tear are covered by most comprehensive car insurance policies, like those from GEICO. If you suspect that the rust on your car could have originated from one of those sources, report it to your insurance company right away.

However, if your rust is the result of improper care or normal wear-and-tear, as the case usually is, then it’s up to you to pay for a repair or fix it yourself. If the hole in the sheet metal is small, you may be able to repair it with body filler, but if it’s large, it may be better to replace the entire rusted panel.

If you’re looking at a significant repair job that involves holes in the body, you may also want to look into purchasing a patching kit like this one. To begin, you’ll want to do some prep work to get your car ready for its rust repair job.

rust repair hole repairing auto bondo body truck paint fix
(Source: www.youtube.com)

If you used body filler or a fiberglass repair kit, you will want to sand your patch job once it fully cures. These mistakes will become more visible as the paint dries, so be vigilant in the aftermath of your repairs for areas that you may want to fix.

Whether your car is a Ford or any other brand, it’ll still be prone to rust if you don’t care for it properly. To prevent rust development, be very careful about washing road salts and other chemicals from your vehicle, and wax your car often.

Sure, you can lower your risk of rust and rust spots on your car by applying paint protection film to chip-prone areas like the front edge of the hood, and by frequently washing off-road salt and waxing your vehicle regularly. Plan to spend about $100 on supplies like sandpaper, primer, masking tape and poly sheeting, a tack rag, polishing compound, touch-up paint and clear coat.

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.

Or, you can buy automotive paint locally from a professional auto body supplier. Next, 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.

rust fix step
(Source: www.readersdigest.ca)

We have seen commercials showing us what extreme weather and conditions can do to our cars and trucks. All it takes is a small nick, a chip, road debris, even hail to cause this very thin protective layer to become damaged.

Even the smallest damage like a little cut can let in moisture and this will start the oxidation of the metal commonly called rust. Rust is basically a loss of electrons which weakens the metal and allows oxidation to occur.

Every car gets door dings in grocery parking lots, rock chips from trucks and vehicles on the road (tip, never follow a construction truck too closely as they are always throwing rocks), etc. It is a good practice to clean and wax your car at least every two weeks and while doing so, look for any possible areas where rust could start.

It is important to notice these areas as early as possible so you can prevent rust from ever starting. To treat a deep nick or scratch, it is important to cover the spot and seal it from moisture.

Touch up paint matched for your cars exact color will of course look best and give good protection. A toothpick works better as it will put the touch up paint directly where it is needed, inside the cut, nick or scratch.

rust fix sandpaper remove handyman
(Source: www.readersdigest.ca)

Walmart carries a scratch repair pen that works great for minimizing the area affected. This will actually chemically alter any rust that is left and prime and seal the surface for paint.

It is a good idea to check the underside of the metal where the rust occurred to make sure it has not penetrated to the other side. If it has then treated it the same way, but instead of touch up paint there are under car spray treatments that will give thicker and longer lasting protection.

This also works with larger areas, but it may be easier to have a body shop do the job as the results will be much more noticeable.

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