A car needs to be regularly maintained in order for it to stay in peak working condition. Cars made of metal are prone to rust. Rust can be severely damaging for your car and is something you need to watch out for all the time. Fortunately rust treatment for cars is possible as there are a number of methods and products which can be used to remove rust.

What is Rust?

The chemical name for rust is iron oxide. It forms due to an electrochemical process known as corrosion.

3 things needed for rust to form

  1. Cathode: Metal that acts as a receiver for electrons
  2. Anode: Metal that releases electrons, given a certain set of circumstances
  3. Electrolyte: Liquid that acts as a medium for the flow of electrons

In the presence of an electrolyte, electrons flow from the anode to the cathode, which causes corrosion to take place and iron oxide to form. The corrosion causes metal to weaken, which can be extremely damaging for your car. Rust treatment for cars involves removing iron oxide and coating a vulnerable surface to prevent the process from occurring at all.

Conditions that lead to rust

The metal of your car can act as a cathode and an anode in the presence of water, which acts as an electrolyte. Therefore cars are very vulnerable to rust. This is especially the case in humid climates. The presence of moisture content in the air can cause your car to rust even faster.

There are substances that can accelerate the process even further. Salt is one such substance. Water itself isn’t that effective in facilitating the flow of electrons. However salty water definitely is. Any metal substance exposed to salt water is liable to rust at an accelerated rate.

Therefore you need to be extra careful if you live close to a coastline. Sea water (which is salty) is liable to evaporate and permeate the atmosphere up to 100 miles. This makes your car all the more prone to rust.

Parts of the car that can get rustier

There are some parts of the car that are more exposed to rust. These are:

  • Engine
  • Chassis
  • Frame
  • Trunk
  • Exhaust
  • Painted surface

That’s almost your entire car. It’s important to understand that rust treatment for cars can be quite challenging. As the saying goes caution is better than cure, and this is especially so in the case of your car getting rust.

How to get rid of rust

Firstly, you need to watch out for when your car becomes especially vulnerable to rust. Two of the common reasons are

  • The paint of your car was chipped or scratched from the coat of primer
  • Car accidents result in the metal below being exposed to the atmosphere. That causes the metal to oxidize.

No matter the size, rust spots need to be treated fast. The more the exposure to the elements, the faster they will spread. Rust treatment for cars is a step-by-step process that a lot of car owners can do on their own. Follow the steps below to start removing rust from your car.

There are a lot of car experts that provide rust treatment for cars. Even though this is something car owners can do on their own, you should always consider the option of a professional who has had experience in providing rust treatment for cars.

Get your tools

You first need to get the necessary tools ready before starting the removal process. These tools include:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Painters tape
  • Sanding wheel
  • High quality dust mask
  • Rustic acid
  • Paint tarp
  • Sandpaper sheets

Safety first!

After you have acquired the necessary tools, you need to take steps to protect yourself during the process. Rust treatment for cars is a process that can be harmful for you if you are unprotected. Wear rubber gloves, safety glasses and a high quality dust mask to ensure that you are completely protected before you start the process.

Cover the areas where there isn’t any rust

Before starting to remove the rust itself, you need to cover the areas of the car where there isn’t any rust. There will be a lot of dust in the air and you don’t want your entire car to be covered in rust flakes. Use painter’s tape for this. It doesn’t damage the finishing of the car and sticks on. Make sure you roll up the car windows. When you start sanding the affected area, dust and rust particles will be flying everywhere, so you need to ensure that any area that doesn’t have rust is covered.

Do not use newspapers for covering your car

It is a common practice for covering the car and it can be detrimental to your car. Paper in newspapers is quite porous and as a result, paint spray can go through that very easily. That would result in specks being left on your car windows. Therefore, you need to make sure that the surface of the car is tightly covered.

First comes the outer layer

The actual rust removal process starts now. First, you need to get rid of the outer layer using a sanding wheel. You need to be very careful while doing this, because you run the risk of damaging the metal of your car. Once you have removed that layer, use sandpaper sheets to deal with the smaller spots that can’t be reached using the sanding wheel. This ensures that there isn’t any rust left at all.

Use a clean cloth on the area

Now you need to softly wipe the rusty area with a cloth. Apply a minimal layer of rustic acid to completely get rid of any rust. However you need to take care that the acid is quickly removed and isn’t there longer than necessary. Follow the instructions that come with the rustic acid to the letter. Immediately after applying the acid you need to quickly wipe it away with a cloth and then apply mineral spirits.

Ensure you have high quality primer and auto spray

Primer paint and auto sprays are essential for covering the rusty area of the car. Therefore, you need to ensure that they are of the highest quality.


Start applying the primer in accordance with the directions provided. Once you have cleaned the area with rustic acid and mineral spirits, start spraying the primer. You should apply 3 layers of primer. Wait for a few minutes after each applied layer. Once you have applied the three layers, let them dry for at least 12 hours.

Sand using 400 wet-grit sandpaper

You need to sand between the layers of paint. This is done to de-gloss and smooth the surface over. Moreover, this allows the paint layers to properly bond with the surface of the car. Make sure you have some water in a bucket with you when you do this, so that you can wash the sandpaper whenever necessary. Once this is done, wash the area using water with a mild amount of soap mixed in it.

Spray to perfection and leave to dry

Apply as many layers of paint over the primer coating as you need to get a good finish and richness of color. Finally, let it dry for at least an entire day before you pull of all the covering tape.

Rust treatment for cars is a delicate and tedious process. You should only start doing this if you are sure that you can prime and paint the area you have sanded within the next twenty-four hours. If the metal is left exposed for a short duration, rust will begin to form again and the effects will be worse.


WD-40 helps prevent rust and is safe to use on many parts of your car. Coat the area with WD-40 and reapply when necessary over time. Be sure to follow the guidelines for using WD-40 and avoid areas of the car that you don’t want to spray WD-40 on i.e. tyres.