When bare metal comes into contact with the oxygen in everyday air, the resulting chemical reaction (called oxidation) creates rust, which eats away the metal in your car. If you’ve got a little elbow grease to spare, this guide will give you some tips for removing rust from your car to prevent further damage.
Wash the area around the rust spot. This ensures that there is no additional grease, dirt, or grit to further damage your car’s finish. Use soap to break up grease that is not water soluble.
Dry the area to be repaired.
With masking tape, tape offs the area surrounding the rust. This will help prevent debris from getting onto your existing paint, and also helps protect the paint from overzealous sanding.
With a strip of dry sandpaper or a sanding sponge, rub the rusted area. If you’re using sandpaper, push only with your index finger. If you’re using a sanding sponge, or block, then only use a corner. Use moderate and controlled pressure. The goal is to remove the rust, not damage the metal underneath.
READ ALSO: AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING UNITS IN CARS
Keep sanding until all of the rust is gone. Don’t sand away metal or paint unless it is necessary to remove the rust.
When the rust has been removed, blow away any excess, and wipe off with a cloth dampened with denatured alcohol to remove little bits of rust, paint, dust, sweat, blood, etc.
Examine the area where the rust once was. If you still see rust, repeat sanding and wiping until the rust is gone. If you wind up with uneven spots or even holes in your metal, consider applying auto body putty to even out the area. Let the putty dry. Sand until smooth and the entire area is even.
Remove the tape and wipe off with a cloth dampened with denatured alcohol again.
Coat the sanded area with primer. Exposed bare metal will only rust again, so don’t skip this step or you’ll be back where you started in a few weeks.
Once the primer dries, your repair is complete. Now you’re ready to move onto the next rusty spot on your car, or begin painting the car so your repair can truly look “as good as new”.