Corrosion, also known as rust, is very problematic and damaging to a car. Not only will it make a car look bad, but it will also cause structural damage to panels, doors, and frame. Also, the value of the vehicle will be greatly depreciated when appraised for sale or trade. Upon finding rust spots, there are easy steps that can be taken to repair them. Below are 5 simple steps on how to fix car rust.
1. The best way to start is by confirming all spots that will need to be repaired by giving the suspected area of the vehicle a thorough check. Surface rust is easily treated, but any spots that are rusted through completely will require a little more work.
2. The next step is to mask off the surrounding area with painters tape. While carefully following the container instructions, spread a solvent like navel jelly over the masked area to remove most of the traces of rust, paint, and primer. It is important to be careful when using the solvent, because it will also remove paint from surrounding areas if splashed or dripped in the wrong place.
3. After using the solvent, you will need a dual action orbital sander, or rubber sanding blocks for the finishing work. The sanding blocks are much cheaper than the sander, but require a bit more elbow grease. With either method, you will need several different grits of sandpaper that range from a 60 grit to a 2000 grit. The higher the number the finer the grit and the less material that it will remove. The ultimate goal is to remove the last traces of rust and scuff the surface area for the next step. There should be nothing but bare metal in the masked area.
4. If the affected area was rusted through, you can fill in small holes with body filler. Be sure to let it fully cure before sanding. Sand the filler flush with the body panel with 60 grit paper. When the filler is flush, or if there were no holes, then it is time to apply the primer. Use an etching primer for best results since it bonds to the bare metal permanently. Usually two or three coats of primer will be sufficient to protect the metal and achieve a smooth finish. Be sure to sand with 120 grit sandpaper in between each coat and finish the last coat with 400 grit.
5. Once the third coat of primer has dried, preferably over night, the car will be ready for paint. Remove the masking tape and blend the primed area into the surrounding paint with 600 grit sandpaper. If using a dual action orbital sander, use very little pressure so it doesn’t eat into the surrounding paint too much. Using a spray gun, apply three to four light coats of a matching paint color, wet sanding with 800 grit in between. Again, go easy on the sanding. The point is just to scuff the layer so that the next layer has something to adhere to. When the final coat of paint is dry, spray two to three coats of clear coat lacquer for a glossy finish. The sanding consists of 1500 grit in between each coat and finishing with a 2000 grit paper for a lustrous finish. When the final coat of clear has dried for a minimum of 48 hours, car wax can be applied to give the surface a protective gloss finish. Be sure not to wash the vehicle for at least a week so that the paint and clear coat can fully cure.