Dealing with Automotive Rust
Here’s how we fix various types of rust.
The best way to protect your car from rust is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Washing and waxing your car regularly and cleaning the drain holes in the bottom of door and rocker panels will help prevent the build-up of rust. Of course, sometimes rust accumulates where you can’t see it (especially after a winter like we just had, where roads were relentlessly salted), or maybe you bought a used car that came with some rust damage. Here is how we deal with rusty cars when they are brought into our shop.
Automotive paint does more than just make your car look good; a thick layer of paint is your car’s first defence against rust. If paint is worn down through mechanical or UV damage, the body of your car becomes vulnerable to surface rust. Fixing surface rust is a simple process. First, we use an abrasive material, such as sandpaper, to scrub off the corrosion. When clean, bright metal is revealed and all the rust is gone, we apply a layer of pigmented paint and protective clear coat, and buff to blend the finishes.
If rust isn’t corrected when it appears on the surface, it can penetrate deeper. The reason it is important to nip rust in the bud is that it is self-propagating; when rust flakes away, it reveals fresh metal for it corrode. Scale refers to the rough, pitted damage that occurs when rust penetrates past the surface. We use wire brushes and grinding wheels to get rid of the rust and pitted texture, and then use sandpaper to leave a smooth finish. After the surface is clean and smooth, we apply paint and clear coat.
If scale is ignored, rust can eventually fully penetrate the metal. The rust will work its way through the metal and leave holes in the body panels. If this happens, there are two options: we can completely replace the rusted body panels, or cut out the affected areas and weld patches into place (like sewing a patch onto an old shirt). If rust has developed beyond the body panels and is affecting the frame, the structural integrity of your car will be compromised, and it should be inspected by a qualified service specialist.
Rust will only worsen with time, so it is best to deal with it as soon as possible. If your car is experiencing one of the types of rust mentioned above, give us a call or stop by the shop.