Dealing with Rust: How to Get Rid of Rust on Your Car

Typically, new vehicles include protective paint coatings that shield the steel and metal alloys from moisture and oxygen that cause rust. However, if you scratch or dent the paint, it leaves the metal underneath exposed and initiates the formation of rust. The problem is especially prevalent in coastal areas due to the salt content and high moisture levels. Luckily, you can remove the rust with a few supplies and a bit of work.

Gather Your Supplies

You need several supplies before you can remove rust. The basics include:

  • 40-, 600-, and 1,000-grit sandpaper
  • Grease and wax remover
  • Painter’s tape
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Sanding block
  • Grinder or drill with a wire wheel
  • Poly sheeting
  • Tack rag

You also need touch-up paint to use with aerosol cans and ball applicators. Use the cans for large repairs and the balls for small touch-ups. Your car’s paint code may be in one of a variety of places. Check the trunk or engine compartment. Finally, purchase equal amounts of base coat and clear coat. Don’t forget to grab an epoxy self-etching primer for the bare metal and a lacquer primer for the paint. The list of supplies may have you wondering about a new DCJR for sale, but repairing rust isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Prepare Your Work Area

Park your car on a flat, level surface to ensure safety while you work. It’s also a good idea to wear safety goggles and avoid wearing loose jewelry or clothing. You’re working with paint, so be sure you’re in a well-ventilated space. When you’re ready, cover the non-rusted areas of your car to ensure they don’t get rust or paint particles on them. Use masking paper and painter’s tape to protect the rest of your car and mark off the area you’re working on.

Remove Paint, Primer, and Rust

Grab a scraper and scratch off any blistered paint. Then, using a hand-held grinder to gain better control, sand with the 40-grit sandpaper (60- or 80-grit is also acceptable). Start low, sanding through both paint and primer as you go. Then, sand through the rust until you reach the bare metal. The area must be completely free of rust for repainting, so be sure to use the wire wheel to remove any below the surface of the metal. You can enlarge the area you’re sanding so you have space for feathering at the edges. Use 120-grit sandpaper for this part of the task. When you’re done, the tack rag helps you remove leftover particles.

Fill in Pits and Clean the Area

If there are pits in the metal due to the rust, use a body filler to fill them in, using multiple coats if necessary. When it’s dry, use a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent to clean the area, then rinse thoroughly. After it’s dry, use the microfiber cloth to remove any straggling dust.

Removing Rust Is Easier Than It Looks

All it takes is a few supplies and spending some of your time for you to easily remove rust from your vehicle at home. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even repaint your vehicle at home. Of course, if you want to be sure the job is done perfectly, there’s nothing wrong with calling a professional. Either way, you have a freshly painted, rust-free vehicle!