Since every flying rock or other piece of road debris has the chance to scratch or chip your paint and trigger corrosion, rust is practically inevitable as a car or truck ages. However, ignoring the first signs of rust leads to more serious spreading of the damage and the need for bigger auto body repairs.
DIY methods may work for very limited rust development, but only professional auto body repair will work for serious or widespread rust damage. These facts will help you understand why you need a professional's help to restore a corroded vehicle and prevent future damage.
1. Replacing Entire Body Panels
When rust spreads across an entire section of the body or penetrates all the way through enough of a panel, the entire panel is best replaced. This is relatively easy for newer cars but varies from hard to impossible for older and vintage vehicles with rust damage.
A body panel replacement is also usually one of the most expensive ways to deal with rust. Most rust issues, even small patches of corrosion that pass through the metal, are easily solved with less extensive methods of body repair.
2. Welding on New Material
Welding sounds like an involved process to the car owner, but for a well-outfitted shop, it's a simple and daily process for frame reinforcements and rust repairs. After sanding away any remaining rust and weakened metal, welding allows the repair technician to attach a new plate of the appropriate metal or to fill small gaps and holes with liquid metal.
These kinds of extensive rust repairs still tend to take less time and cost less than replacing body panels, especially on older models without readily available replacement parts. Welding isn't a process you should try to DIY even if you have experience in other kinds of repair since there are many risks to using welding equipment around a vehicle's fuel tank.
3. Adding Metal Mesh
For smaller areas of serious damage, trimming out the corroded metal and attaching a flexible metal mesh is the best option. This kind of reinforcement is also used for severe dent repairs in which the body panel can't be hammered or suctioned back into shape.
The technician covers the mesh with fiberglass and epoxy coatings, sands it after curing, and hides the repair with a fresh coat of matching paint. Metal mesh only works in small patches and in some areas, so you may need both welding and mesh repairs on the same vehicle.
4. Covering With Rust-Preventative Primer
Regardless of how the rust is removed or damage is patched, the entire affected area needs a coat of rustpreventative primer before the car enters the paint booth. This primer prevents any future corrosion from forming between the new layers of material and causing bubbling, delamination, and further weakening of the body panel.
5. Matching Existing Paint
Unless you want to change the color of your car during the rust repair, you likely want the patched areas to perfectly match the existing paint job. Check in with the auto body repair shop you choose to see examples of how they've color matched paint jobs in the past for customers.
Most shops that are skilled at this challenge happily collect proof of their work for portfolios to share with future customers. Asking about the specific methods and equipment they use for matching the paint, as well as connections with OEM suppliers, will ensure you pick a shop capable of creating a seamless rust repair.
Protect your car by addressing rust issues immediately with our team here at Kearny Mesa Auto Body. We'll restore any car, new or old, that has developed patches of rust on body panels or frame components.