Your Poor Car: Get Rid of Rust Spots All by Yourself

Rust is as deadly to any type of metal – like our cars, trucks, and SUVs – as high levels of cholesterol or sores that refuse to heal are to our bodies. Left untreated, the entire vehicle’s safety can be compromised. Even though there is less actual metal in most of today’s cars than ever before and despite additional measures taken to galvanize and otherwise coat vehicles to protect them, this remains true. To keep your vehicle in good shape, you must get rid of rust spots as soon as you see them form.

As you look to get rid of rust spots, your eyes have to focus beyond the obvious. The underside of a car, truck, or SUV can take some of the worst rust damage because this area gets scraped, scratched, and exposed to punishing substances like road salt from winter driving. Few cars escape some type of rust damage, especially once the product life of a rust treatment coating expires which may be as little as one to three years.

Appreciate, too, that your location can play a big factor here. If you live in seaside communities or in regions that experience harsh winters are simply going to exact a toll on any vehicle regardless of all the extra measures you take. Regular deep cleaning of a vehicle to remove compounds that can contribute to rust can help reduce the extensiveness of this damage.

Likewise, bad drivers or those who must operate a car, truck, or SUV under tough conditions are going to see more potential for dings and rust damage. These tough conditions include roads being resurfaced, dirt roads, and roads that have bad potholes can all play a mean role in your vehicle’s integrity.

Once you inspect your vehicle to determine how much, if any, rust you have. A few small spots are something you can probably fix yourself.

Yet, if your vehicle has significant rust, then it is past time to consult a body shop. Schedule an appointment soon if this is your situation.

This article targets how to remove small dings and scratches that show early signs or high potential for rust. In fact, this is your best bet: get rid of rust spots before they develop into major metal corrosion.

To get rid of small rust spots requires tools and equipment, some of which you may have around your house or garage. Other items may require a trip to a big general merchandise department store or an auto parts shop which is almost guaranteed to have everything you need.

Here is your checklist:

– Gloves – disposable may work best but heavy-duty work gloves you can hand wash are fine.
– Face mask or simple face respirator (the fumes just from the paint can be high and irritate your breathing).
– Safety glasses to keep grit, sprays, and liquids out of your eyes.
– An abrasive pad like those you use on kitchen pots and pans.
– Sandpaper – what grade you get depends on where the rust spot is although fine sandpaper is usually best here; consult your auto parts store for best results.
– One or two smaller paint brushes.
– Putty knife.
– Several clean cloths – softer is better for this use and a chamois might work; avoid using heavy-duty scratchy paper towel.
– Newspaper.
– Scissors to cut holes in the newspaper as needed.
– Tape to hold the newspaper in place – use one that won’t take paint away when you peel it off.
– Mineral spirits to clean.
– Auto primer – usually the sand-worthy or rusty metal type will do best for this use.
– Rust neutralizer or converter – again, consult your auto parts store.
– Auto glazing putty – don?t use just any putty you already have because the results may not appear great.
– Touch-up paint for your specific auto color – if you can’t find this at your local store, the closest service dealer for your make and model may have it.
– Clear coat top finish spray.
– Car wax – this you likely already have.

Once you have the items in your checklist, it’s time to begin the job to get rid of your car rust spots. Think of it like a cleaning task because it’s very similar. But instead of removing cooked-on food from an old pot, you will remove your auto rust.

Because you are using some toxic materials and there will be dust involved, too, you want your car, truck, or SUV in an airy place. If you have a garage, windows and doors must be open and you should use a box fan that pushes fumes out of the garage as you work.

First, start by spreading a generous amount of newspaper beneath your work area, which is determined by where your rust spot is positioned. Then don your protective gear like the glasses, face mask, and gloves. Do not do this work in good clothes or you may regret it later.

Then follow these steps. I offer just one proviso here: understand that if you the rust spot you remove resides in an unpainted area, you won’t need to perform the paint touchup steps which can be the most painstaking part of the entire work.

1. With your gloved fingers, pick off any loose chips or rust around the damage.
2. Take your abrasive kitchen pad to the rust as you exercise care not to go beyond the immediate rust since you don’t want to take off paint or uncompromised metal.
3. For areas without paint, you should now apply the rust neutralizer or converter following the package directions with your paint brush. Most will require a second coat soon after the first dries in about 2-4 hours.
4. Apply the primer. This is often done about 24 hours after the rust neutralizer so that this compound has time to work.
5. Based on the primer instructions and waiting the time your product specifies, wipe the area clean with a damp cloth. Once clean, go back over the same area with a dry, clean cloth.
6. If you don’t have paint to retouch, you are done. If you do, proceed to the next step.
7. Feel the area where the primer was applied. Rough spots need to be smoothed with your sandpaper.
8. Sand the primer, working slowly so you don’t create irregularities.
9. Use the putty over the top of the primer per package directions.
10. Once the putty is completely dry, go over the entire area with a wet, clean cloth. Be sure to remove all residue or it will become trapped in the paint.
11. Apply touch-up paint, one coat at a time. Wait the recommended time between coats. While two coats may do for some vehicles, it is always possible you will need three.
12. Once all your paint is dry, apply the top or finishing coat which helps seal the paint and protect it.
13. When the top coat is fully dry, wax your car. If the vehicle has not been recently washed, then wash it before you wax, of course.

Voila! You have successfully rid yourself of your rust spot(s). Nice work!

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