Car Maintenance 101 | Removing Rust from Your Vehicle

The Parts Bin | Automechanic

Rust is your ride’s silent killer. This corrosive agent gnaws away at your vehicle’s metal, effectively weakening your ride’s physical integrity until it becomes a complete safety hazard. You may think that your vehicle is exempt from this problem, having been treated with rust-proofing, but even with massive protection, rust can still attack your vehicle’s exterior. These days, automakers and parts manufacturers are coming up with ways to decrease the likelihood of vehicle rusting—this includes the use of plastics and galvanized metals. But even with this new solution, it’s always best to keep checking your vehicle for signs of rust and addressing these corrosion problems as soon as you can.

Most of the time, the worst rust problems are located on the underside of your ride. Because the area is harder to check, rust attacks the metal unnoticed until you feel a sudden breeze from the passenger compartment or even your ride’s floorboard. An old friend of mine once had a car whose floorboard at the passenger area was almost completely gone due to rust. It treated us with an excellent view of the road below us as we travelled from school to his house. Of course, that was a long time ago, and these days he’s driving a brand new, rust-free Toyota Vios. But if your ride has the same problem as my friend’s old rusty companion, then I suggest you remedy this problem before it turns into a full-blown issue that you’ll have to take to a professional garage.

Keep in mind that even the smallest scratches or dents on your ride’s body can easily lead to rusting. Check your vehicle once in a while for signs of rust. If you find rusting on your ride, then take on these nasty spots as soon as possible. If the rusting is extensive, then you need to take your vehicle to a professional as soon as possible.

Treating Small Rust Spots

What You’ll Need:

  • an Abrasive Pad (the one you’re using in the kitchen will do)
  • Sandpaper
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Rust Metal Primer or a car-quality Sandable Primer (both of which you can buy from your trusted auto parts store)
  • a Can of Rust Neutralizer or Converter
  • at least one clean and soft Cloth
  • at least one Small Paint Brush (approximately the right size for the rust spot)
  • Newspaper (you’re going to be spreading this under the area you’ll be working on)
  • Respirator or Face Mask (use this to prevent the harsh fumes from harming you)
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Protective Glasses (don’t forget to wear this to prevent dirt or grit from getting into your eyes

If paint is involved, or if the rust spot happens to be on a visible part of your car like the bumper, the side panels or the hood, then you can use these tools to give the treated rust spot a paint and wax touch-up.

What You Might Need:

  • Clear Coat Spray
  • Vehicle Body Glazing Putty
  • Auto Wax
  • Touch-Up Paint (make sure you purchase the exact color of your vehicle’s paint. A number of auto parts dealers and stores sell particular touch-up colors based on the exact hue or shade of various vehicle makes and models)

The Parts Bin | Automechanic

Clearing Small Rust Spots sans Paint Job:

Step 1: Take your newspaper and spread it below the section where you’re going to be working.

Step 2: Take out any loose material or fragments that you can find surrounding the rust spot.

Step 3: Using the abrasive pad, rub away at the visible rust.

Step 4: Carefully apply some of the rust neutralizer or converter using your small paint brush. Make sure you follow the instructions on the package on how long you need to wait before you proceed to the next task. It usually takes approximately a couple of hours before it’s safe to add a second coat.

Step 5: After around 24 hours, apply some primer. Once again, follow the package directions to a tee.

Step 6: Once again, based on the instructions of the primer, wait until it’s safe for you to wipe up and clean the treated area.

Step 7: When it’s safe to do so, wipe down the area with a damp cloth to clean traces of excess primer.

Step 8: Wipe the spot dry.

Treating Rust and Fixing Your Vehicle’s Appearance:

Now, if you need to fix a visible area that will require you to remove the rust and fix the area’s paint job, follow these simple instructions.

Step 1: Using the abrasive pad or your sand paper, remove all traces of rust from the area.

Step 2: Using a soft and damp cloth, clean the area and wipe it dry.

Step 3: Bring out your newspaper and using scissors, create a hole on the newspaper large enough to show the former rust spot. This will help you focus on your work area.

Step 4: Tape the newspaper in place using a masking tape.

Step 5: Read the package directions and apply the primer according to the specified instructions. You will probably need around three coats, so be patient and wait for the right time before you add another coat or two. The primer’s package should indicate how long you need to wait before you can add another coat.

Step 6: Wait for the primer to dry. Once it’s firm and dry, use an abrasive pad or fine-grade sandpaper and smooth out the excess primer on the spot.

Step 7: Take a plastic spreader and carefully apply some automotive putty on the spot. Wait for the putty to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 8: Wipe down the area with a damp cloth. Dry it.

Step 9: Apply around two to three coats of touch up paint on the spot. Be sure to follow the time interval specified on the paint container. Wait for the paint to dry.

Step 10: When the paint is dry, you can now apply the clear top coat. Wait for the clear top coat to dry.

Step 11: Use wax to polish the area or your entire vehicle after you’ve washed it.

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3 Responses to Car Maintenance 101 | Removing Rust from Your Vehicle

  1. autofrankie says:

    Thanks Jeevan.

  2. Jeepman says:

    Due to the fact that teen- age drivers are inexperienced and more likely to get involved in accidents, insurance rates are high. However, as they gain experience and mature as drivers, your children’ s rates should go down. You can ask your insurance company if discounts are available to help balance out the higher rate from insuring your children on your policy. In OR, a good student discount may be available through your insurer for children under the age of 25 who have good grades in school.

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