Nothing short of an accident ruins the body of a car more quickly or effectively than rust. Car owners in northern states know that all too well. But even southern cars can fall victim to rust. Regardless of where in the world a car develops rust, the process to take care of vehicle rust is essentially the same.
Just about anyone can tackle minor to moderate rust at home. Rust repair requires a decent time commitment and some artistic flair. Professionals can do it a lot faster and with better results. Nonetheless, taking care of rust spots on your own is doable.
A basic supply list would include:
Depending on the primer and paint that matches your car, you might need a separate primer for the body fill and a special prep solvent. Your paint manufacturer should be able to tell you if the extras are necessary.
With your shopping list complete, you can get to work. Note that the process described here is only intended for minor to moderate rust spots. If you’re looking at large sections of rust or even disintegrating panels, this process isn’t going to help. You’re going to need to take the car to a pro.
You prep your vehicle by washing it and letting it dry. Then you mask off the area you’re working on with the plastic sheeting and masking tape. Leave enough room around the rusted area to allow paint blending in the final step.
Next, you’re going to sand the rust spots all the way down to the metal. Start with the 40-grit sandpaper to get all the rust off. Then switch to the 120-grit to feather the outside edges of remaining paint. Finally, the 220-grit is used to sand the spot the perfection.
Now it’s time to clean the area. This is what the detergent is for. It doesn’t have to be anything special as long as it can cut through grease and grime. You want to thoroughly wash the area and let it dry. Make sure you rinse away all of the detergent, too.
Next, fill any pits with body fill. If there are none, you can go right to priming. Otherwise, fill the pits, sand them, and prime them according to the directions on the container. When you’re all done and the fill primer has had time to dry, you’ll then prime the entire area you’re working on.
The third step begins with sanding the primer. You may need to 2 or 3 coats depending on how big the work area is. If you do apply multiple coats, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sanding and cleaning between each one. You’ll follow the prime coat with your base coat. Plan on at least two coats of the base. You may need three.
Again, follow the instructions on the paint container. When you’ve built up a sufficient layer of paint and you’re happy with what looks like, apply a final layer or two of clear coat. Then let everything dry before applying a bit of wax and buffing it in.
Obviously, the process described here is a simplified version. More work is required for more serious rust spots. And if that’s the case, you’re back to thinking about taking the car to the pros at Ron’s Complete Auto Body!