Transportation Science

How do you treat minor rust damage on your car?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Rust can be a car's worst enemy: If your car's rust damage is extensive, you might need to have a pro replace the afflicted part. However, you can treat minor rust damage on your own, as long as you have the proper equipment. For safety, you should wear rubber gloves, goggles and a dust mask to prevent particles from entering your eyes or nose. The tools you need include sand paper, a rivet gun, body filler and rust neutralizer.

    If the rust damage is minor, you just need to scrape away the rust and use primer and paint to touch up the area. If the rust has caused a hole in the metal, you need to insert screen wire into the hole, plug the damaged area with body filler and then apply primer and paint to touch up the area once the filler hardens. Another way to treat rust is to use rust converters, chemicals that stop corrosion by turning iron oxide into a stable chemical called iron tannate [source: Simkins].

    Of course, to save yourself some work and prolong the life of your car, there are measures you can take to prevent rust from forming. The best way to prevent rust is to wash your car every two weeks (including the inside and underneath) and apply a wax coating once a month. Examine your car regularly for scratches, bubbles or flaking to locate any moisture beneath the surface; this way you can deal with slight rust problems before they become difficult to handle [source: White].

    If a damaged or dented section of your car is susceptible to rust, you can use sealant to prevent that section from rusting. Clean and dry the area thoroughly, apply the sealant and then touch up the section with paint [source: Magar]. If you live in a particularly harsh environment, you may opt to use protective lubricant or anti-rust spray on your car as an additional layer of protection.

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