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Auto Body Rust Repair Tips

Auto Repair

Auto body rust repair is a common issue on older vehicles. Dents or scratches can wear away paint and expose metal to the elements. Living in a snowy environment may also increase the possibility for rust damage, as road salt and other ice removal accelerants can cause rust damage over time. Regardless of how the rust formed, keep these rust repair tips in mind to restore your auto body to like-new condition:

Inspect Your Vehicle's Surface Carefully

The first step in properly treating auto body rust is determining the extent of the damage. If you have a vintage car, you might consider going over all surfaces of the vehicle with a fine-tooth comb. This is because rust does not always materialize as dark-red discoloration. Rather, what you should be looking for are small bubbles in the painted surface of the vehicle. If such bubbles are present, it is likely that rust is hiding underneath.

Removing Rust

Auto body rust repair is almost always best left to the professionals. However, if you have some auto repair experience and the area of corrosion is no bigger than four inches in diameter, then it may be possible to remove the rust yourself. To do so, you'll want to use a sanding disc with 100-grit sandpaper on the affected area. Working slowly, sand away the rust, as well as the immediate area sounding the corrosion. This will create an even plane for paint adhesion.

Additional Sanding

Once the rust has been removed, it is recommended that you sand the area with successively finer grit sizes. For example, a second pass may incorporate 120-grit sandpaper and a third pass might benefit from a 150-grit sandpaper. Once sanded finely, tack cloth may is recommended for removing any metal or dirt debris.

Priming and Painting

Three to four light coats of self-etching primer are recommended for auto body rust repair jobs. Prior to priming, block off the surrounding body paint by using newspaper and masking tape. Wait about five to ten minutes before applying each successive coat. Then, wait until the following day to apply the paint. Apply the paint in a similar, light-coated manner. After five or six coats, leave the paint to dry overnight, then come back and remove the newspaper and masking tape. A wash and wax may be helpful once the repair is completed.

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