Last updated on September 6th, 2023 at 08:32 am

Your car becoming rusty does not mean that it is doomed. Repairing car rust isn’t hard as it seems. But it’s a little time-consuming because the paint used on the rusted takes a long time to dry, and it should be dry ideally between steps.

Fortunately, to get rid of extensive rust, you don’t have to go for an expensive rust removal service or rebuild the parts that get rusty in your car. 

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Equipment you will need 

You will need some equipment when fixing the rust on your car’s outer body.  

How To Repair Car Rust At Home – Step By Step Guideline

Applying paint to the rusty area can fix the rust and prevent further rust from forming on your car body. Let’s go for the details on how you can repair your car rust

Step1: Choose A Suitable Day

So to fix the rust problem of your car, you need to choose a calm, overcast day. If you choose a cloudy or rainy day, it will be hard for you to complete your work and take more time to dry the paint. It’s better to choose a dry, shiny day for this job.

Step 2: Select A Place 

Once you have gathered the equipment and selected a day for the job, you must choose a suitable location. 

How should the place be? The location can be an outdoor or an indoor area. The vital thing you should look for is the place is dry clean and has enough room for the tools and paints to keep safe from the dust when you sand away rust and paint.  

Step 3: Cover the non-rusty area 

After selecting the area, place your car on a labeled surface. Now you have to cover the non-rusty areas of the car surface with Newspaper or poly sheeting. This will prevent you from sanding down or over spraying the good-painted area. 

Simply spread the poly sheeting or Newspaper on the surface and secure the edges with masking tape. When covering the door areas cut poly sheeting door opening and secure the borders with tape to the jamb. Leave a foot or two around the repair area to have enough places to blend the paint.

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Step 4: Safety First

Don’t forget safety equipment! Before sanding the rust, you wear safety goggles, gloves, and musk. These will protect you from dust when performing rust removal.

Step 5: Remove the rust

To remove the rusted paint first, you must crack the blistered paint with a scraper. Use sandpaper to sand down the paint and rust on the affected surface. Start sanding the rust with 40-grit sandpaper. Send through all the rusted areas until you reach down to the bare metal underneath the paint. Near the pain edges of the rusted area, use 120-grit sandpaper to sand the paint. You can use a mechanical sander or sanding block tool to remove the rust. 

Now use a tack rag to remove the dust and rust particles from the sanded area. It’s necessary to remove all the dust and particles to apply the paint in the unmasked areas. 

Step 6: Clean with detergent 

After removing the dust, there is still some dirt left on the surface. To remove the grease on the surface, you can use dishwashing detergent. Wipe the area with grease-cutting detergent, then clean it with rinse water. Wait until the water gets dried. Then wipe the area with a lint-free cloth again to remove the remaining dust. 

Step 7: Body Filler

Some rust may get holes and rough patches after sanding the metal and become thinner and weaker. It needs a layer of fiberglass strand filler to make the area strong and fill the gaps. 

At first, apply epoxy primer on the thin and corroded area. Epoxy primer helps to make a solid bond to bare metal.

Then clean the surface with alcohol. After that, apply filler primer. Spray heavier coats of filler primer to cover the whole area perfectly. Ensuring there are no air bubbles in the filler applied area. Let the filler dry. 

Apply two to three coats every 15 minutes, making the primer stronger. Wait an hour or until the filler gets dry to the touch.

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Step 8: Sand the Filler

Now sand the filler applied area with 320-grit sandpaper to make the surface smooth and blend with the other area. Finally, sand the entire repair area with wet 600-grit sandpaper to smooth the primer and feather the edges of the paint. Then switch to wet 1,000-grit sandpaper for final-sand and make the whole repair equally smooth. Once finished, wipe down with alcohol to ensure the area remains no dust and is thoroughly clean.

Step 9: Spray the base coat

Now it’s time to spray the colored base coat on the working area. To apply the color equally, you should follow a pattern. It’s better to start from the bottom of the repair. Spray the paint 12 inches away from the surface and left to the right direction in rows till the top. 

Do this job slowly and spray color on the repair and its surrounding areas too. Repeat the process and overlap each row with three coats. Allow the paint to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes between each coat. Let the colorfully dry. If any sag is created, sand it lightly and then re-spray the touched-up areas. Either don’t sand the base coat.

Step 10: Spray on the clear coat.

After drying the base coat now, apply the clear coat. To make a smooth surface, you have to use the clear coat several times and allow each coat to dry. Gradually spray the clear coat around the painted areas for a blended, smooth area. Don’t spray it in a hurry, or you will ruin your paint look. Practice spraying on a scrap piece of cardboard before applying it on the car surface to do this job perfectly. Use an old cotton fiber or microfiber cloth and a buffing compound to buff the repaired area.

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