Rust on a car is extremely detrimental to its condition as it can cause the exterior to disintegrate and intervene with the functioning of components such as brakes or other metal parts. Treating rust from a car can be challenging for many car owners as it may have affected an extensive area of the vehicle. In such cases, the exterior can be extremely vulnerable and needs to be dealt with extra care. For extreme cases, it is always better to get the vehicle checked at an auto shop and let experts handle it. However, in case the rust is at its initial stages, some useful solutions can be applied at home by car owners to prevent the matter from escalating.

Some preventative measures can be taken such as applying paint protection film to protect vulnerable areas such as the front edge of the hood. Moreover, car owners also wash off road salt frequently and apply car wax to add an extra layer of protection. Even though such measures a good, the car is bound to get rust spots.

Here are some practices that can help car owners take care of rust when it can be treated at home.

Products Required for the Process

The removal of rust can be time-consuming and will require extensive effort. Car owners need some products that will help them in the rust removal process. As the first step of the process, car owners can find out about the products they will need and purchase them. They will need sandpaper (40-, 600- and 1,000-grit), masking tape, primer, polishing compound, touch-up paint, microfiber cloth, poly sheeting, and a clear coat.

Other than these, you can also consider purchasing paints in quarts or pints that can be used in the spray gun, roller ball applicator or aerosol can. However, it should be kept in mind that mixing the automotive paint with a reducer and meeting the temperature and humidity conditions can be tricky. For extensive fixes, it is better to buy roll ball applicators and aerosol cans to fix scratches. For the exact color of the paint find the paint code of the manufacturer paint. The code is present on the engine or trunk. Purchase clear coat and base coat and use them in equal portions. Purchase an e-poxy self-etching primer and lacquer primer. The process will most likely consume several hours so consider dedicating one day to it.

Cover the Vehicle Before Repairing

To protect the rest of the vehicle from the paint use poly sheeting. For example, in case you are painting the hood then, use poly sheeting to cover the fenders and engine. For the door, you can cut the sheeting to fit the jamb or door opening and use tape to make it stick. Always mask the area that is around 1-2 feet away from the repair area so that the paint can be easily blended.

Clean and Remove

Using a scraper, remove any blistered paint and then sand the rust using 40-grit sandpaper until you can see the bare metal. Sand slightly beyond the rusted area so that the edges can be smoothed. Using 120-grit sandpaper and later 220-grit sandpaper, feather the edges of the paint. Then remove the particles using a tack tag. If you spot pits in the body due to rust, they can be filled using body filler. Another option would be to fill them after the epoxy primer has dried and then layer up the filler primer.

Clean the unmasked area using a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent and then rinse it with water. Dry the area using a lint-free cloth and remove dust. Then, apply the manufacturer’s prep solvent.

Priming the Surface

Now apply the epoxy primer and then filler primer. The filler primer should be applied in heavier coats and around the repair area as well. Apply the self-etching epoxy primer as the first coat as it will provide a strong bond to the metal surface. Spray 2-3 coats and wait between each coat as recommended by the product label. Wait for the primer to dry and then sand it with wet 1,000-grit sandpaper. Then, wash the surface with water and wipe it with a lint-free cloth. Apply a lacquer primer and follow the same procedure. Use 320-grit sandpaper to sand the drip and sags followed by a wet 600-grit for the entire repair area. Finish with 1000-grit wet sandpaper.

Apply Base and Clear Coat

Now apply the base coat that has the color pigment. Starting from the bottom of the repaired area move from left to right. Apply two to three coats to build the color on the affected area and its surroundings. Wait for at least 10-15 minutes between each coat for the paint to settle. The more time you give to build the base coat, the better it will look under the clear coat. Wait for the base coat to dry, it will at least take one hour. Do not use sandpaper on the base coat unless you have created sags. In case of sags, gently sand the area and touch up by respraying paint.

After the base coat has completely dried, move on to applying several layers of clear coat and allow time for each coat to dry. Blend the clear coat on the repaired area and surrounding areas. This can be tricky as clear coat runs easily. In case of any issues, you will have to wait 48 hours for it to dry completely before you can sand it and fix it. So, it is best to be extremely careful while doing so. You can also practice spraying the paint on a scrap piece or a cardboard piece to understand how to work the nozzle and how to handle the speed while applying the paint.

Once the clear coat is done, use a microfiber cloth or an old T-shirt to hand-buff the area. Do not apply car wax to the area until 30 days of repair.

Bottom Line

Removing rust from an affected area of the car can be a time-consuming task but it should not be ignored. If it is treated at an early stage, the problem will not escalate. You can follow the method mentioned above to work on the affected area.


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