Car rust repair and treatment

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Rust removal

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How does car rust form?

Car rust is much like any other rust on metal. The term rust refers to the electrochemical breakdown of iron-based materials through the process of oxidation. During this process, surface molecules will react with oxygen in the environment and produce the by-product of iron oxide (Fe2O3).

Weather conditions can cause rust on cars, as they are generally exposed to rain, sun and all sorts of other conditions outside, making them susceptible to rust. The paint on your car is actually protecting your car from rusting, so this is why, if your car has suffered with stone chips, scuffs or paint scratches, then your car is more likely to rust. That is why having these types of repairs done quickly is the best way to avoid rust developing on your car.

On the surface rust can be remedied easier than if you were to ignore this issue, and then it leads to either scale rust or penetrating rust. Normally, the rust on the surface can simply be sanded off, painted, and given a clear-coat finish to seal out the elements. But if the rusting process goes on too long, it can eat right through the metal, causing holes and allowing body panels to fall to pieces which means costlier repairs.

Average car rust repair and treatments costs

On average, a car rust repair costs around £361.73 when booked with WhoCanFixMyCar. The cost of car rust repair can vary depending on your car due to differences in labour time and the panels affected with rust.

Find rust repair specialist garages

Looking for a rust repair and removal garage near you? Simply:

  • Enter your car registration and postcode

  • Select the power steering service you need

  • Let us know if your car is still driveable

  • Request an instant quote

  • Compare quotes and book your job with a trusted mechanic nearby

Top warning signs that your car needs a rust repair or treatment

Car rust is a serious problem that can happen anywhere on the exterior of your car. The problem is serious because the visible rusting is often just part of the problem.

What we can visually see is known as surface rust, but oxidation is common, which means the rust will work its way to the outside from inner parts of the car. The biggest signs that your vehicle needs a car rust repair include:

  • Exterior paint bubbling is an early sign of rust 

  • Puddles of wetness inside your car signals that the metal under your car may have rusted

  • Nicks and dents in the bodywork

  • Unmatched paint or exposed metal require a rust repair job

  • Rust repair

    The average cost of a car rust repair booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £361.73.

    Rust is a common issue in cars, particularly ones which have been on the road for a few years. To remove rust, a specialist will be able to sand the rusted area down and, if necessary, refill the area so that it's smooth and unblemished again. This can be finished off with a respray too.

    Can include
    • Vehicle inspection
    • Rust repair
    • Respraying
  • Paint repair

    The average cost of a full paint repair booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £976.82.

    A paint repair comes under the category of bodywork. The cost will depend on the extent and size of the damage.

    Can include
    • Scratch removal
    • Respraying
    • Panel replacement
    • Paint chip repair
  • Alloy wheel refurbishment

    The average cost of an alloy wheel refurbishment booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £119.95. Alloy wheels need to be refurbished over time due to natural wear and tear. An alloy wheel refurbishment can be done 2-3 times before a replacement is necessary.

    Can include
    • Wheel cleaning and sandblasting
    • Scratch and gauge removal
    • Paint and lacquer
    • Crack and dent repair

Which car rust repair service do you need?

Rust removal

There are three ways of dealing with rust on a car with all methods having their own drawbacks and advantages.

If your car has a large build-up of rust, it is not the end of the world as it can be removed using specialist materials and equipment.

You can try to remove rust using chemicals bought in a shop, however you will need to follow the instructions properly and be careful when applying the substance as it can be dangerous to touch. We would recommend finding a professional to carry out the work as they will be able to understand which way of removing the rust from your car will be the most effective.

Mechanical rust removal

Removing rust mechanically can involve the use of grinders, wire brushes, sandpaper and sand blasters. This helps to blast the rust away from the surface of the metal.

Depending on the extent of the rust, different methods of mechanical rust removal will be used.

Minor rust damage can be removed by using sandpaper that you will be able to buy from any DIY shop. The type of sandpaper is important as you do not want to damage the underlying metal so make sure to find out which is the appropriate grain.

If there is a heavy build-up of rust, a stronger approach is required.

Sandblasting involves shooting large amounts of sand against the rust which breaks it down into fine particles and comes off the metal surface.

It’s a highly effective method for removing rust from your car, however only a trained professional with the right tools should carry out the work, because the sand could damage the underlying metal permanently if not done using the correct technique.

Specialist rust paints

There are several paints on the market which claim to be able to stop the onset of rust completely. The effectiveness of these paints will vary depending on the extent of the rust damage and quality of the product.

Rust paints are extremely flammable and so should be handled with extreme care. The pot that the paint comes in will carry specific instructions so follow these exactly in order to remove the rust.

Acidic rust removal

Acidic rust removal products can also be easily bought and applied however we would once more like to recommend using a professional to carry out the work.

By applying the acid to the rusted area, the liquid attacks the rust itself and burns it away.

Once more, it is essential that you follow the instructions on the container as the acid is extremely strong and if it is left on the surface of your car, it will continue to burn into the metal of your car once the rust is gone.

Rust treatment

Some garages will use a spray-on rust treatment to ensure your car will be protected. For the rust protection treatment, the technician will remove the wheels of your car, as well as plastic panels or under trays.

Then they will treat any existing rust and often start the waxing. They will apply a rust treatment to all the cavities of the car, and more treatment to the underseal and underbody of the car. This helps to protect it from getting future rust.

Common places your car can get rust

Car rust can occur anywhere where there is metal, so all body parts of your car and the underside is prone to rust if the conditions for creating rust are present. Sometimes surface rust can be misleading, because on closer inspection there can be a chance for oxidation to take place inside the panel and way it’s way outward.

Of course, body work rust will be noticeable, but there are some car part under your car that can rust too, such as: 

Are car rust repairs necessary?

If you notice any signs of rust, then it’s important to get a car rust repair and removal. Rust forms gradually, and knowing where about an area of rust is in the decomposition process can help you understand the extent of the problem:

  • Surface rust: Concerns the top layer of your car and often shown by bumps and nicks to body panels.

  • Scale rust: When surface rust is left too long, it will eventually corrode the metal panels. 

  • Penetrating rust: If the surface and scale rust is ignored, then it can lead to penetrating rust, which means holes in your car, and leads to having entire panels or parts of the car replaced. 

This is why getting all types of rust repaired immediately is important. In the long-run you can save yourself a lot of money.  

Find car rust removal services and mobile rust repair specialists

Rust on your car? Rather than trying to tackle rust on your car yourself, sometimes, you’ll find it’s better to call the experts for rust problems. Your car is your pride and joy, and it deserves some specialist attention. Rust can make for an unsightly problem, but it also means that the car exterior can corrode without the correct rust treatment.

It’s not always easy knowing who to go to for car rust repairs. How do you narrow down the best car rust repair services and garages? There are a number of choices and you might want to trust your car only with the best garages in your local area.

At WhoCanFixMyCar, we help you compare trusted car rust repair garages near you. We work with a network of over 15,513 mechanics and garages across the UK so we can find competitive car rust repair costs for you. Simply insert your postcode to compare the quotes and read reviews from previous customers to find the car rust repair costs and deals before booking the local garage online.

Why does car rust need to be repaired?

Rust on your car, no matter where it is, will affect the appearance and reduce the value of your car should you resell it or trade it in.

When you deal with rust as soon as your see it, you’re saving yourself from having to deal with a bigger problem because rust spreads. It eats away at the metal if it has been ignored long enough. To stop rust from spreading, have your car booked in with a rust repair garage. 

Do cars start to rust after a certain number of years?

You may think aged cars are more likely to rust, but in truth, there is no set time or years after which a car is more susceptible to rust. It’s a matter of wear and tear and the fact that protective coatings may come off which leave the metal exposed to moisture. 

What causes rust on a car?

Rust is a reaction of oxygen and water meeting iron. The exposed metal will react and oxidation happens which creates a red-brown rough surface, which will eventually lead to corrosion. Rust is caused on cars due to a number of factors, such as:

  • Weather conditions - Exposure to rain, snow, sleet and hail can increase the chance of exposed metal oxidising and creating rust. 

  • Age - It is true that over time protective coatings will deteriorate and paint might suffer wear and tear. If the metalwork is left exposed and it reacts to weather conditions, it can lead to rust.

  • Rust treatment and protective coatings - Some older cars did not come manufactured with rust-preventative coatings, unlike modern cars. 

  • Style of driving - If you often drive through puddles and grit, then the car may be more prone to rust.

Can I repair rust and corrosion myself?

If the rust is not severe, and you catch it early enough, then rust repair can be done by yourself but you need to be equipped with specialist tools and equipment for a satisfactory job. In fact, Car expert Haynes recommends 13 different tools and materials for rust repair jobs. It might be easier to leave the rust repair to a trusted rust repair garage near you. 

How can I prevent my car from rusting?

To prevent rust from forming on your car, it is better to do the following:

  • Get a paintwork job for any scuffs or scratches to ensure the metal isn’t exposed

  • Wash your car regularly, but also ensure it is dried properly

  • Add a coat of wax to your car as a protection against rust.

  • Apply oil such as WD40 to fight against rust and corrosion

  • Park your car in a garage if possible 

Is rust repair covered by insurance?

Car insurance typically does not cover rust damage. Rust almost always results from normal wear and tear, which is typically not included in standard insurance policies.

How much does it cost for car rust repair?

The cost of car rust repair can vary depending on your car due to differences in labour time and the panels affected with rust. The quote will also depend on the seriousness of the rust problem, whether it is surface rust, scale rust or penetrating rust.

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