How to repair rust on your car?

Rusting will occur as long as vehicle body panels are made of steel. If you ignore rust spots on your car, they will quickly spread and turn your sheet metal into Swiss cheese. Rust on autos is unavoidable at some point. However, if you address rust early on, you can prevent it from spreading and get a few more years out of your vehicle.

Rust repair is not difficult, but it is time-consuming (mostly waiting for primer and paint to dry between steps). Spend roughly $100 on materials such as sandpaper, primer, masking tape, poly sheeting, a tack rag, polishing compound, touch-up paint, and a clear coat. Select a calm, cloudy day and set aside the entire day to repair the most prevalent rust patches on the hood and doors.


In this article, I will guide you through the answers to the following questions:

  • How does rust occur on your car body?
  • What are the things you need to repair your car body rust?
  • How can you repair rust on your car?
  • How can you remove and treat surface rust?
  • How can you remove scale rust?


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How does rust occur on your car body?

Rust is an unavoidable chemical process that occurs when iron, a key component of steel, comes into contact with moisture and oxygen. The earth’s atmosphere has an abundance of water and oxygen, making it a common component of our biosphere. Steel that is exposed to air will eventually rust owing to a process known as oxidation.

However, some steels corrode more slowly than others. Furthermore, new automobiles are made of significantly more durable galvanized steel, a corrosion-resistant material. The paint on your car is also important in preventing rust damage. It physically keeps oxygen and water from contacting the steel beneath its surface.

In general, as long as you frequently wax and care for your automobile, you shouldn’t have to worry about rust. However, if you have an old car that you want to restore, or if your vehicle has rust from being left outside for months, there are techniques to treat the corrosion without replacing the steel entirely.

What are the things you need to repair your car body rust?

If you want to repair severe rust areas, you’ll need specific instruments that are vital to the operation. These are some descriptions:

Find the paint code for your automobile first. The paint code might be found on the body, in the engine compartment or trunk, or in other places. You can find instructions on how to find your paint code at either or Buy pints and quarts of automobile touch-up paint to use with a spray gun, aerosol cans, or roller ball applicators.

Even if you know how to use a spray gun, matching the temperature and humidity conditions with automotive paint can be difficult. It is not something we recommend. Instead, for major repairs, purchase aerosol cans and rollerball applicators.

It should be noted that the majority of late-model vehicles were painted with base coat/clear coat paint. The base coat just comprises a pigment and binding resins, whereas the clear coat only adds gloss. Purchase an equal amount of base coat and clear coat. To sink into the bare metal, you’ll also need an epoxy self-etching primer and a lacquer primer to hold the paint.

Purchase 40, 600, and 1,000-grit sandpaper, as well as a sanding block, oil and wax remover, poly sheeting, painter’s tape, a tack rag, and a microfiber cloth. Don’t forget your safety gear! When removing rust, you should always use safety goggles, gloves, and, at the very least, a respirator or surgical mask.

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Prepare your car the work

After you’ve gathered all of your supplies, you’ll need to prepare your vehicle for rust repair. Begin by transporting your vehicle to an appropriate spot for the task, such as an outside space or the interior of a clean garage. Choose a location where other objects will not become soiled as you sand away rust and paint.

The main effort starts after deciding on a suitable spot. Proceed by coating every non-rusted surface of your car. You don’t want to sand down any of your vehicle’s good paint or wax by accident. You can protect your vehicle with a material such as newspaper. Simply adhere the newspaper (or any other covering solution) to the surface of your car using the masking tape indicated above.

If you intend to use an angle grinder to remove a substantial amount of rust, consider using a fire-resistant and long-lasting protective covering for your car, as sparks will fly in the near region.

How can you repair rust on your car?

The followings are the step by step guides on how you can fix car rust:

  • Remove the rust
  • Clean with detergent
  • Apply epoxy primer before filler primer
  • Sand the primer
  • Apply color base coat
  • Spray the color base coat
  • Perform finishing


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Remove the rust

With a scraper, remove any blistered pints. Using 40-grit sandpaper, sand through the rust patches to the bare metal. Increase the size of the sanded area so you can feather the edges. To feather the edges of the repair area, use 120-grit sandpaper. Finish the feathering with 220 grits. Remove particles from the exposed area with a tack rag.

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Clean with detergent

If the rust has formed holes in the metal, fill them now with body filler or wait until the epoxy primer dries before applying numerous coats of filler primer. Use a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent to clean the entire uncovered area, followed by clean rinse water. Allow it to dry before wiping it down with a lint-free cloth to eliminate any lingering dust or lint. Use the prep solvent recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Apply epoxy primer before filler primer

Spray the filler primer in thicker coats to completely cover the repair area. Blend the can into the surrounding painted area by moving it away from the surface slightly. Use a self-etching epoxy primer as your initial application since it offers a strong connection to bare metal.
Spray two to three medium coats, allowing the label-recommended wait time (typically 15 minutes) between sprays.
Allow an hour for the epoxy to dry to the touch (longer if the weather is damp).

Sand the primer

Smooth the primer and feather the edges with wet 600-grit sandpaper. To final sand, the whole repair, including the blended areas, use wet 1,000-grit sandpaper.
Allow drying after washing with clean water. Wipe away any excess epoxy primer with a lint-free cloth. Allow two to three thicker applications of lacquer filler primer to dry between layers. Allow the lacquer primer to cure completely (at least one hour) before sanding. 320-grit sandpaper can be used to remove drips and sags.
Finally, sand the entire repair area.

Apply color base coat

Spray the repaired area while holding the spray can about 12 inches away from the surface. Begin at the bottom of the repair and apply the color coat in left-to-right rows, roughly one-third overlapping each pass. In two to three coats, gradually apply the color to the repair and surrounding regions. Allow 10 to 15 minutes in between coatings. Allow the base coat to cure for at least 60 minutes, or until it is dry to the touch. Pro tip: Only sand the base coat (particularly metallic hues) if sags have formed. In that case, lightly sand and then repaint the touched-up areas.

Spray the color base coat

Apply many applications of clear coat, leaving enough time between coats to dry. To obtain a seamless blend line, gradually work the clear coat into the surrounding painted areas.
Note: This is the most difficult stage because all clear coats run quickly, ruining the appearance of your paint job. If you make a run in the clear coat, wait at least 48 hours before attempting to repair it with fine-grit sandpaper and polishing compound. The sanded area will then need to be repainted. So, spray on a scrap piece of cardboard to get a feel for the nozzle and application speed. Allow several hours for the clear coat to dry before driving the car and at least 48 hours before polishing.

Perform finishing

Hand-buff the mended area with an old cotton T-shirt or microfiber cloth and buffing compound. Avoid using a polishing machine for this phase. Before waxing, wait at least 30 days, during the waiting enjoy your new look!

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Watch the video below to learn how to fix your car body rust:

How can you remove and treat surface rust?

Begin by cleaning the damaged area and allowing it to dry fully. Using painter’s tape, mask off the area you wish to work on.
Allow the rust remover to settle on the rusted area for about 10 minutes. Wipe away the residue with a microfiber cloth. The majority, if not all, of the rust, should have been removed by now. If any residue remains, sand it with sandpaper and wipe it away.

Clean the damaged area with grease removal soap and allow it to air dry completely. Spray three light-to-medium coats of primer, allowing one hour between layers to dry. Apply 5-6 coats of your car’s base color. Allow enough drying time between applications and ensure that each coat is thinner than the primer coats. Finish by spraying the clear coat and waiting at least 2 days before washing and 2 months before waxing the car. Then it is perfectly done!

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How can you remove scale rust?

Begin by scribbling the part with rust. To protect the unaffected sections from the fine dust from the sander, cover the entire vehicle and save the work area.

To remove surface rust, attach a sanding wheel to the grinder. Clean the area you’re working on with the grease and wax removal soap and allow it to dry completely. Fill any remaining potholes and holes using fiberglass-reinforced car body filler.
Sand the work area with 40-grit sandpaper first, then 320-grit, and finally 2000-grit sandpaper. After sanding, use the wax and grease removal soap to clean the area. Tape off the painting area using painter’s tape.

Begin by applying three light-to-medium coats of primer, let each dry before applying another. Spray roughly 5 coats of your car’s paint after the primer, allowing enough drying time between applications. Finally, apply 1-2 coats of clear coat. Wait at least two days before washing your car and two months before waxing it.


Is it possible to stop rust?

Yes, you can prevent automotive rust from spreading. However, the best solution will be determined by the type of rust. Surface and scale rust can be eliminated by sanding the rusted paint and applying primer, color coat, and clear coat. Penetrative cost, on the other hand, necessitates replacing the complete panel or cutting the rusted area and welding a new patch.

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Is it worthwhile to repair rust on a car?

It is determined by the intensity of the rust. Surface and scale rust are simple and inexpensive to repair. However, if the vehicle has multiple sections that have rusted to the point of having small holes through the panels or frame, the cost of repairing these rusted parts may be equal to the cost of purchasing a new vehicle. Consider the costs before making a decision.

Can Rust Ruin A Car?

Yes. Rust, given enough time, can destroy your car to the point of no return. Rust can penetrate crucial components, jeopardizing your safety as well as the safety of your passengers and other road users.

In Summary

Car body rust is issue drivers or car owners should never overlook as it can progressively destroy the whole exterior of a vehicle. This is why this article on how to repair car rust is put together so that you can quickly fix any rust you notice.

I hope this article was helpful, if so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!