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How to Remove Rust From Your Car?

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Rust is a common problem that can be found in cars. Rust forms when metal reacts with oxygen and moisture, which causes the paint to peel away from the metal underneath.

For this reason, it’s essential to remove rust before it starts chipping off and becoming more challenging to get rid of. This post will give you some tips for removing rust from your car in no time at all! 

Why Cars Rust?

Cars rust because their metal bodies come into contact with water and air. This reaction causes the paint to blister and flake away from the metal, leaving rust underneath. Rust is a serious problem that can lead to holes forming in your car body if left untreated for too long.

Some typical rust symptoms include: Bubbling in color, usually orange or red Spreading of paint down toward the metal Blistering of other parts of the car Typically, cars will start to form rust on their undercarriages first since they are less exposed to the elements than other parts of your vehicle such as the wheels and hoods.

>>Related: How much does it cost to paint a car ?

Types of Rust and How to Fix Them

Rust usually forms on cars in one of two ways: through an accident or by natural causes. A crash could cause severe rusting, as water and air will speed up the oxidization process.

Conversely, rust may start to form for more natural reasons such as age, exposure to sweat from road trips, and temperature changes. No matter what type of rust you have, a few standard methods are used to remove it.

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Surface Rust

The most common type of rust you’ll find on your car is surface rust, which often forms after an accident and where moisture gets trapped underneath the paint. To remove surface rust, you can use a metal cleaner to help strip away the top layer of paint.

You should note that using this method will only get rid of the rust in its current state, but it could also damage your paint if not used carefully. Here are some other methods for removing surface rust:

Sanding: This works best when combined with two or three coats of primer. The primer helps form a barrier between your car’s original paint job and any new coatings that may be applied over it. Once the surface has been sanded to bare metal, use a metal primer.

Sanding and Polishing: If you’re a novice at sanding, this method can be good for you since it combines polished with the effects of an electric sander. Once you have applied the polisher to your car’s rust spots, use high-grit sandpaper (preferably 600) to penetrate beneath the black stains.

Be sure not to press too hard while using this method or risk damaging your paint job.

Using a Metal Scraper – This is pretty straightforward: Apply the metal scraper straight onto any rusted areas on your car! Use this method carefully, though, as scraping off too much surface paint can result in additional rusting and damage.

Also, remember that this is an excellent option for smaller patches of surface rust rather than large splotches.

Electrolysis: This method requires you to place your car on a metal tray and immerse the rusted part in a solution composed of salt water, washing soda (not baking soda), and battery acid.

The motion of the current will cause a chemical reaction that eats away at the rust. Plus, your car may spark as the metallic parts come into contact with each other!

Filling In Surface Rust: If your area contains a low level of rusting, you can probably fill up those holes without too much trouble using touch-up paint. Specifically designed to repair auto finishes, this type of paint should match your original color perfectly.

Scale Rust

If you notice rust on the sides of your car, then that means you have scale rust. Scale is a milder form of surface rust and is easier to remove compared with its stricter cousin. Some people even prefer using sandpaper because it tends to be faster than electrolysis.

Once again, remember that for best results, always use a primer before applying another coat of paint; this will help prevent further oxidization from occurring in the future.

Penetrating Rust

When rust penetrates the metal of your car, it can become difficult to fix. The trick is to first clean all traces of rust off by sanding and then using a wire brush. This will open up the surface enough for you to use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to remove any remaining stains.

Many people have reported success with the use of lemon juice as well; be sure to cover the affected area with a thick paste made from this citrus fruit and leave it on for a few minutes before wiping it away.

>> Read on about Remove Rust From Your Car

How to Stop Rust From Forming

Once rust has started to form, it can become a recurring problem for your car if not dealt with quickly and correctly. To prevent the return of future stains, always make sure that you:


Use an Undercoating: Many newer cars come pre-treated with an undercoating meant to protect against rust. If yours does as well, make sure to apply another coat over this protective layer.

Wipe Away Moisture and Salt – It’s in humid areas where salt tends to accumulate more than other regions (i.e., next to large bodies of water). So unless you want your car’s paint job to look like Swiss cheese, remember to wipe away any moisture or salt stains before they have time to bake into the metal.

Use a Rubber Rain Boot: In other words, use a rubber cover over the car’s air intake so that no rain or liquid can enter. This will keep your car dry even if it has to sit in a puddle.

Wax Your Car Regularly: As mentioned earlier, waxes do not only repel dust and dirt; they also prevent rust from forming on your paint job! So always apply another coat of wax after washing your car.

Alternatively, purchase some of these significant rust inhibitors. Just remember, though, that once you’ve applied them onto any rusted surfaces, you need to make sure that all traces of water are wiped away before allowing your vehicle to dry completely.

Otherwise, you run the risk of trapping moisture beneath your sealer and causing rust to flourish.

Bear in mind that these solutions only work for light or surface rust. If you have significant problems, then it’s time to call a professional repair shop.

It’s also recommended that you always take your car to a trusted technician instead of trying DIY methods from the Internet when dealing with high-level rusting. This way, you know your vehicle is in good hands and will come out looking just like new!

If you follow our tips on how to stop rust from forming, then hopefully, this problem (and any others) won’t be bothering your vehicle anytime soon.

But should anything happen anyway, remember that there are many solutions out there, so even the worst cases can usually be fixed easily.

Learn more about: How to mix car paint?

Project step-by-step remove rust on a Car.

  • Sandpaper (medium grade)
  • Body Filler (optional, can be replaced by the toothpaste)
  • Auto Body Primer (for the painting step, optional)
  • Toothbrush
  • Power Drill with wire brush attachment (optional)

Tack cloth or a lint-free towel to remove any excess dust. Please keep in mind that many of these steps are meant only for surface rust; if you have significant problems with rust, then it is best to bring your car to a body shop right away.

If all you’re dealing with is surface rust, though, then read on and see how you can quickly get rid of it!                   

 STEP 1: Preparing Your Car

When working on a car, it is recommended to have it on a flat surface with the engine off to avoid accidentally “misalign” the wheels. If your vehicle has an automatic transmission, then make sure to put it in Park or Neutral before starting as well.

STEP 2: Cleaning and Prepping

To clean any rust stains on the metal surfaces of your car, you can use a mix of lemon juice (or vinegar) and salt. Just be very careful when dealing with electrical components (e.g., battery, ignition box) since this solution may corrode these parts over time if left too long!

Apply a quick scrub using this ingredient combination, and then rinse away immediately afterward for best results.

Note: For stubborn rust

stains, you can use a wire brush attachment on your power drill to expedite the process. Just be extra careful not to let the drill bit puncture any holes along with metal parts since this will only make the situation worse.

STEP 3: Applying Easy-Off Fume Free BATHROOM CLEANER

If there are still rust and corrosion stains left on your car’s surface after rinsing it, then you can try using an oven cleaner like Easy-Off Fume Free to get rid of these stubborn areas.

Be sure to follow all the safety instructions for this product before applying it (i.e., wear gloves and eye protection).

Note: Since oven cleaners contain lye which could damage paint finishes, be sure that the surface being cleaned is rusted first. Only then should you apply a generous amount of Easy-Off onto the metal areas.

If there are no visible rust stains present, it’s best not to use this product since it may still damage your vehicle in ways you might not expect (e.g., thinning out paint finishes and stripping off any existing clear coats).

STEP 4: Apply Rust Remover

For major rust problems, applying an actual rust remover on your car should do the trick. These products typically contain acids that break down metal, so they can all be used for general rust removal purposes.

Just always follow instructions on how much to pour spray on any affected areas and how long to leave it on for.

STEP 5: Wax or Seal

Since removing rust from metal will affect the surface and any existing paint finishes, you should immediately apply a wax or sealant afterward. This way, your car’s paint job will be protected from potential future corrosion and oxidation issues that may occur when rain gets absorbed into metal surfaces with exposed pores.

The wax/sealant will also act as a protective barrier so rust removers won’t have direct contact with painted areas in the future.

Please Note: that these steps are just meant for dealing with light to medium rust cases; if there are significant problems such as dents and body filler, then it is best to bring your vehicle to a professional for repairs.


Can rust be stopped?

Yes, rusting can be stopped with a product like Evaporust, which will eat away at rust to remove it.

Can rust be removed?

Yes, there are many ways to remove rust from metal, including sandblasting and using rust removers.

Will acid remove paint?

Only if you leave it on long enough for the acid to erode through your paint finish.

Is there an easier way of removing rust than sandblasting? Several products claim they can make quick work of removing rust like CLR or Easy-Off Fume Free Oven Cleaner, but none has been proven reliable enough for auto body applications.

If you know of any other practical products, then please leave a comment below!

How long will it take to remove rust with sandblasting?

It can take several hours on large surfaces like the hood of your car.


The rust has been removed, and your car is as good as new! Rust removal can be a bit of an investment, but it will save you money in the long run.

If you want to take care of that pesky stain for good (and protect your paint job), there are plenty of ways to remove rust from your car with just a few household items. We hope this blog was helpful.

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