Rust can depreciate the value of a vehicle and detracts from its appearance. If left untreated, it could spread to other areas and become especially unsightly. For this reason, it is important to take steps to check your car often for signs of rust damage.
Preparing the Surface
Make sure the area is clean and dry before beginning. Mark off the area around the rust spot with painter’s tape and masking paper. Take care not to use sharp lines when doing so as the finished result will have a jagged appearance. Tape the edges down completely so that nothing is able to get underneath the paper. Put on safety equipment – you’ll need protective goggles, a mask and rubber gloves that come to around the elbow.
Begin Removing Rust
Small rust spots can be removed by hand using sandpaper that is between 80 and 150 grit. When sanding by hand, you’ll also want to remove a slight bit of the vehicle’s paint from around the outside of the rust spot. Larger spots will require the use of an automatic sander in order to get rid of the rust. In extreme cases, it could be necessary to cut the rust out and then replace the spot with a new piece of sheet metal and bonding agent.
After all the rust has been removed, you’ll need to add a primer in order to get the spot ready to be repainted. You can purchase car primer at an automotive supply store. Wipe the area down with mineral spirits first and then allow this to dry completely. Spray a very thin coat of primer onto the surface, taking care to ensure that it is spread evenly. Allow the coat to completely dry for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, and then repeat this process. Add three coats of primer in all, and allow the final coat to rest overnight before painting.
You can purchase touch-up paint from a body shop or an automobile dealership. Before painting, sand the primed area down with 400-grit sandpaper, and then brush any residue away with a soft bristled brush. Spray one coat of paint thinly and evenly over the primed surface, overlapping into the surrounding paint just slightly. Allow the paint to dry completely and then add a second coat. If a great deal of rust was removed, it might be necessary to use up to four coats of paint. Once the final coat has been added, allow it to set for a full 24 hours before removing the masking paper from the vehicle. Upon doing so, buff the spot lightly in order to ensure the new paint is well blended.
If you’re nervous about repairing rust damage, try working on an inconspicuous spot first in order to gain some experience. You just might find that repairing rusty spots on your vehicle is easier than you thought initially. By performing this job yourself, you can save lots of money while helping keep your car looking like new for longer.