Man cleaning up a car's hood with a cloth

Five Steps to Remove Rust From Your Vehicle

How To Repair Rust On A Car

Rust is one of the main problems for cars, especially when the snow season begins. There are some things you can do to lower the risk, such us parking inside, washing off road salt, waxing frequently or applying a paint protection film.  But even with precaution, your car might experience rust at some point. In those cases, the best thing you can do is act fast to prevent it from spreading. Keep reading to find out what five simple steps you can take to repair rust on your vehicle.


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1. Mask The Car

Protect every part of the car that won’t be painted with poly sheeting and masking tape, leaving only a few inches on each side of the visible rust.

2. Remove The Rust

Use 40-80 grit sandpaper with a sanding block to remove all the rust and paint of the affected area, getting down to the bare metal. Switch to 120-150 grit sandpaper to polish the paint edges of the repair area.  Before moving on, clean the area with detergent and rinse it with clean water to make sure it is perfectly smooth. Then wipe the area one more time with a lint-free cloth to remove any remaining dust or lint.

3. Prime The Surface

Rust on the body of an old car

Apply medium coats of epoxy primer to protect the bare material from oxidation. Repeat this process two to three times, waiting for the recommended period between coats. After about an hour, or when the epoxy primer is completely dry, sand it with wet 600-grit sandpaper, wash it with clean water and let it dry. Then wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth. Repeat this process by applying 2 to 3 heavier coats of lacquer filler primer in the repair area. This will help to hold the paint. Wait for about an hour for the lacquer primer to dry and then sand any drips with sandpaper.

4. Paint The Car

In order to buy the right color to match your vehicle’s factory paint, you’ll first need to find the car manufacturer’s paint code. Once you are ready to start painting, slowly spray the repair area with paint, avoiding excessive thickness. Apply two to three coats, allowing the recommended wait time between each coat. If there are any rough spots, lightly sand the area and respray it again.

5. Apply A Clear Coat

This step is needed to protect the layers of paint that you’ve added to the car. Once you have cleaned the area with a tack rag, apply several coats of clear coat, letting each one dry for the appropriate amount of time. Finally, polish the repaired area with a microfiber cloth and voila, your call will have a brand-new look!


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Rust not only can cause structural problems and compromise the car’s safety, but it can significantly reduce its value. At the first sign of rust, take action to avoid further damage. If you are interested in trading your current vehicle while getting the best possible value, fill out our simple trade-in form at The Car Lot etc. and we will send you an estimated appraisal.