How to Fix Major Rust on A Car For Good

We all hate to see the menacingly ugly brownish stains or paint bubbles on the body of our cars known as rust. Rust can cause major structural problems to your vehicle, reducing its value. In some states, your car won’t pass inspection unless it is rust-free.

The best way and how to fix major rust on a car is to discover it early on and to fix rust spots as soon as possible. If you are looking for the perfect fix for a rusted out car, then this guide will help you bring the shine back on your vehicle. Whether you are looking to fix a rust hole or a rusted patch, this guide will help you remove rust from your car.

But first, what is rust? Rust is the result of a chemical reaction between oxygen and ferrous metal molecules. Certain conditions accelerate rusting on your cars, such as exposure to saltwater and winter road treatments. These conditions expedite the process and make rusting more viable. For the most part, chemicals are used to get rid of rust on your car by using products that delay the chemical process of rust. Here’s you to fix major rust on your car.

Preparation for removing rust from your car

A couple of things before you get started with repairing rust on your car, pick a day with low wind, and preferably a sunny day. Alternatively, you can do this whole process in your garage. Make sure your ride is clean and dry out in the sunlight. You will need a lot of patience during this entire time as you wait for paint and primer to dry.

There are many ways to go about how to fix major rust on a car, but more important is to go with the method that best suits your needs and is closest to your problem. The time required for the rust removal process varies according to the severity of the rust condition. It could range from 30 minutes to several hours or days.

Also, you don’t need to have prior experience with car rust removal. However, it would be best if you had some know-how to get the best results.

Let’s get started. Shall we?

Tools you’ll need:

  • Primer
  • Rust remover
  • Touch up paint pens
  • Sander
  • Sand discs
  • Masking tape
  • Color matching spray paint
  • Grease and wax remover
  • Sandpaper
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Protective eyewear

Once you have all your tools and protective gear gathered, it’s time to get started.

How to remove minor rust

Repairing minor rust on your car can be done quickly with a rust remover. Minor rust such as chips on the edge of the hood and rust spots on the roof are common and unsightly spots on any car. To remove them, follow these steps.

  1. Begin by masking off the affected area with paint-appropriate tape, allowing a few inches of protection surrounding the rust spot
  2. Spray or brush the rust remover onto the rust-affected area and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Wipe off any residue with a clean cloth. Ensure that you are wearing protective gear when handling this.
  4. After a few more minutes, the rust should be eliminated. Use sandpaper to dust any leftovers.
  5. Once you have removed any remnants, it’s time to clean the surface with a grease and wax remover soap. Then air dry.
  6. Then spray three coats of primer in a light-to-medium coat and allow an hour to dry.

PRO TIP: It is essential to practice spraying on a cardboard piece before actual spraying on the car. This allows you to gauge the sprayer’s velocity, distance from which to spray, and what patterns and overlaps to follow for a uniform result.  

  • Spray color base coat doing five or six coats with intervals between coats to prevent excesses or dripping.
  • Spray the clear coat. Wait for three days before washing and a minimum of two months before waxing.

How to fix major rust on a car in a few steps

how to fix major rust on a car

If you are wondering how to fix surface rust on your vehicle, especially serious rust issues, you may want to step up your tools and procedure. In cases where an entire body panel surface is covered with rust or a metal surface, these steps will be handy to remove rust on a metal surface.

  1. Once you have your protective gear on- very important- it’s time to mask off the affected area. If you will be sanding through paint and primer, ensure the rest of the vehicle is protected from the super-fine dust.
  2. Remove the surface rust using a grinder with a sanding wheel. For this task, the best grit sandpaper for car rust would be 180-grit sandpaper. Keep in mind that you should not bear down heavier than necessary to avoid damage.
  3. Use a grease remover to clean the working area
  4. After digging out the rust, depressions and holes may be formed. Use a fiberglass body filler to flatten out the pits and allow it to cure for a while. Make sure that the temperature is at least 65 degrees for quicker results.
  5. Next is to sand the filler using finer grit sandpaper, then clean with grease remover and wax
  6. Tape off the painted surface
  7. Apply the self-etching primer and give it time to dry out
  8. Apply several light coat paints and finish with a coat or two of clear coat
  9. Do not wash or wax for at least six weeks

Sometimes fixing a rusty car can be a lot of work. Certain car designs and makes are more prone to rust than others allowing moisture to seep into the bodywork early. If the damage from rust is too significant, you shouldn’t bother with repairs. The best you can do is look for a part replacement.

How to get rid of rust on a car

To prevent your car from rusting, especially during winter months when exposure to moisture is high, you should have multiple coats of wax to protect your car’s paint.

If you drive on snowy roads and salty conditions, pay attention to your car’s hard-to-reach areas, which are more likely to accumulate chemicals that speed up the rusting process. Wash off any residue immediately to prevent rusting. Wondering how to stop rusting on a car?  We hope this brief guide will help you fix major rust on your vehicle. Check out more car guides here.

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