There are several ways to remove rust from a car body with your own hands. Here they are considered 5. Which one to choose? It mainly depends on the type of rust that affects the body of your car. However, not only from this. It is also worth considering exactly which parts need rust removal. Also, for those who seriously started this kind of event, it would be useful to know about the nature and causes of corrosion of the car body. All this knowledge will be useful both in the process and in the future.

The nature of rust on a car body

To find out why the starter turns badly, you need to start by studying its device. And in order to understand how to most effectively remove rust from a car body, you need to turn to its nature. What is it all about? Where does it come from, and could it have been somehow avoided? For those who know the answers to these questions, corrosion is no longer so terrible, and it is better to deal with it.

The first thing to know about rust is that it only affects metal. Not paintwork, as it may sometimes seem in appearance. The second fact about corrosion is that it tends to spread. That is, if a microscopic area of metal on the body was struck by it, then the problem will only increase. Moreover, this infection is so insidious that often its reproduction is not visible at first. But then it suddenly crawls out in huge spots, and even through holes.

Some chemistry

By itself, rust, which has a red color familiar to motorists, is nothing more than iron hydroxide. Actually, iron in this case is our body. Hydro is the water that any car comes into contact with. There is still "oxy". In fact, this is what we breathe, that is, oxygen. But chemists call oxide that which has reacted with oxygen. Accordingly, iron hydroxide - our rust - is the result of the interaction of iron with water and oxygen.

Iron hydroxide or rust
Iron hydroxide or rust

The chemical formula of this nasty process for any car enthusiast is as follows:

4Fe + 6H2O + 3O2 → 4Fe(OH)3

What goes up to the arrow, the body of your car, water and oxygen. After the arrow, what will remain of your car if the rust is not removed in a timely manner. As you can see, by and large, neither salt, which is blamed for all the troubles, nor other components are needed here. Air and water. What is life for our body is death for the car body. However, this is only one of the many types of corrosion. Elevated temperature, salts and other reagents only accelerate the rusting of the metal.

A little more chemistry

The following fact about rust on a car body should be clear from the chemical formula above. Let's go back and take a closer look. Purely from the point of view of chemistry, you can turn it back into iron. But not in the case of a car body. Even everyone's favorite converters do not convert rust back into metal. Accordingly, it should only be removed.

Move on. Why does corrosion spread? Everything is simple here. As soon as even a microscopic area appears on the body, not protected by a paint and varnish coating, access to water, oxygen and reinforcing reagents to the metal is open. First, a small piece turns into rust. Then, through the formed rust, the enemies of the car body get to the metal that has not yet been struck. And off we go.

It is now clear how the car rots under the paint. However, one must also understand that body parts have two sides - external and internal. Corrosion in some places begins just from the inside, where, in general, it is not immediately visible. This is the most insidious rust, and most often it is she who turns the body into dust.

How to protect the body from rust

Could corrosion have been avoided? Actually, for this purpose, cars are painted in the first place. And then for beauty. But the paint layer is not eternal. In addition, it is extremely unstable to mechanical stress. The protection chipped off, exposing the metal. Not all cars are painted the same way. Especially if it was done again. In general, to avoid the appearance of rust, you need to close the metal from its enemies - water, oxygen and others.

Causes of rust on the car body

Knowing the reasons for the appearance, of course, will not help to remove rust from the car body with your own hands. But this information will come in handy in the future. The fight against corrosion is long, sometimes expensive, boring and not always successful. That's just in order not to face this problem for a longer time after the work done, and knowledge of the reasons is needed.

Let's get acquainted with the main ones:

  • damage to the paintwork;
  • lack of body protection;
  • condensate;
  • increased air humidity;
  • salt on roads in winter;
  • improper storage of the car.

And now a little more detail on each item.

Paint damage

Like it or not, this is the main reason why the car body rusts. As long as the metal is closed under the layers of paintwork, immerse it at least entirely in water with salt, there will be no reaction. But one deep scratch or the slightest chip is enough, and that's it. The process has started. If no action is taken, then absolutely the entire body part is at risk.

Body chips and rust
Body chips and rust

It should be noted that a lot also depends on the initial quality of the paintwork. Some cars come from the factory painted extremely poorly, and therefore can begin to rust even in the first year of relatively gentle operation. But most often this reason is faced by those car owners whose cars are repainted. No matter how cool the painter you have chosen is, it is impossible to apply all the layers with the same quality as it is done in the factory.

No body protection

There are several ways to protect body metal from rusting. For example, wheel arch liners and mud flaps are effective protection for the most vulnerable parts of the car. They suffer the most from the fact that pebbles and sand are constantly flying from the wheels onto them. All this leads to the destruction of the paintwork. Then water, oxygen and reinforcing reagents get on the bare metal.

The second common type of protection is wax-based polishes. Of course, they are not very effective in preventing mechanical damage. But, nevertheless, you should not neglect their use. If only because wax polishes are able to cover areas with damaged paint. Not for long. But they can.

Still popular are such body protection methods as pasting with films, coating with so-called liquid glass, liquid ceramics and other materials. The most effective in this regard are those coatings that are able to withstand minor mechanical loads. For example, some films easily prevent paint and varnish chipping even when small pebbles hit.

Rust protection film
Rust protection film

There is also a separate category of methods for protecting the car body from rust. These are used, so to speak, from the inside. That is, where it is not visible. Processing of the bottom, arches under the fender liner, internal cavities of thresholds and doors, luggage compartment and so on. All this is effectively used by domestic motorists and, I must say, that the methods, when performed correctly, help a lot.


Condensation and corrosion on the car body
Condensation and corrosion on the car body

Condensation is water that accumulates on surfaces that have been subjected to sudden changes in temperature. For example, you drove into a heated garage in winter from frost. The body warms up sharply, and droplets of condensate appear on it. Similar effects are observed in wet weather, fog. However, again, condensation can only harm unprotected metal. That is, if there is damage to the paint layer. Protected body condensate on the drum.

High humidity

In average climatic regions, air humidity often changes, and nothing can be done about it. In more northern regions, it is usually low. But there are other factors that accelerate corrosion. In the subtropics and tropics, humidity is always high, despite the heat. And since at night the temperature drops sharply, both in the tropics and in the middle regions, condensation will certainly form on the body. But only when the car is stored outside. Again, the body is protected from all sides with moisture to the light bulb.

Salt on the roads in winter

Salts on the roads
Salts on the roads

Salts, combined with water and oxygen, can indeed accelerate the rusting of a car body. However, as mentioned above, their presence is not at all necessary. In addition, not everywhere these reagents are used by road services during snowfalls. Often ordinary sand is scattered on snow-covered roads. He, in turn, acts not chemically, but mechanically. That is, it damages the protective coating of the body by analogy with sandblasting. Well, then ordinary water and air work.

Improper vehicle storage

There are a lot of controversies and myths about this. Some motorists say that it is better to store the car in a garage, where it is reliably protected from daily temperature fluctuations and precipitation. Others argue that the body feels more comfortable in the open air. This is justified by the fact that the machine is allegedly blown by the wind, and condensation does not form on it. However, both the first and the second are right and wrong in their own way.

Indeed, garage storage is kind of better. But only if it's correct. First of all, the garage must be well ventilated. It is not necessary to equip forced ventilation. It is quite natural, in the form of a couple of airbags. As for street storage, for the most part those who do not have a garage are in favor of it.

In fact, if you do not take into account other factors - the sun's rays, spoiling birds, leaves from trees, snow, ice, hail - then the body with a whole paintwork really does not matter where it is stored. In the garage, if it is not ventilated or, even worse, periodically heated in winter, much worse conditions can form than in the open air.

Improper storage should also include car body care. If it is constantly in mud, snow, ice, sand, rust is more likely. On the other hand, if you often wash a car with a damaged paintwork, and then immediately hide it in an unventilated garage, the chances of corrosion are even greater.

Varieties of rust on a car body

In total, four types of car body corrosion can be distinguished. They are classified according to their nature and severity. The type of rust present on your car depends on the method of dealing with it. Although some of the methods discussed below are universal, and can be used in any situation.

Pitting rust is often the first stage that occurs after damage to the paintwork by pebbles and sand. It also sometimes occurs on deep scratches. But more often in such cases, corrosion is internal or focal. Despite the apparent simplicity, removing rust in the form of dots is not so easy. Especially if these very points are like acne on the face of a teenager.

Car body pitting
Car body pitting

Internal rust begins either with a point, or originates on the internal surfaces of body parts. Perhaps the most insidious of all, because it remains invisible for a long time. Over time, it manifests itself in the form of swelling of the paintwork. Later it turns into a focal or through.

Interior rust on car body
Interior rust on car body

Focal corrosion is characterized by large areas. Often observed on machines that have not been monitored for a long time. It is dangerous because, as a rule, it is not removed by simple treatment of the affected area. Rather, it is possible to remove rust from the body in this way, but not for long. And all because pitting corrosion often remains after careless removal in the thickness of the metal, as well as under the adjacent paintwork.

Spotted corrosion on car body
Spotted corrosion on car body

Piercing corrosion is the last stage, and there are only two ways to remove it. Both are cardinal, and are described a little below. It is called so because it "eats" the metal through. Moreover, around the through holes, large pieces of the body part are guaranteed to be affected, which is not visible visually.

Through rust on the body of the car
Through rust on the body of the car

Ways to remove rust from a car body with your own hands

Loaded with theory. We turn to practice, namely, to get acquainted with the previously promised five ways to remove rust from a car body with your own hands. In fact, there are much more of them. But not everyone is suitable for self-fulfillment. Therefore, technically complex or excessively costly in terms of materials and tools will not be considered here.

With your own hands, you can remove rust from the car body by:

  1. Mechanical processing.
  2. Chemical processing.
  3. electrochemical processing.
  4. "Surgical" removal.
  5. Body part replacements.

Let's look briefly at each of these methods. In particular, we will consider the advantages, disadvantages, some technical nuances, and also for which types of rust this or that method is considered the most appropriate.

Mechanical rust removal

The advantage of this method is accessibility. All that is needed to implement it in the garage is some kind of grinding tool using abrasive materials. The cheapest way is to manually remove rust with sandpaper of different grain sizes. But, since it requires a lot of time and effort, it is only suitable for eliminating pitting. Moreover, points or the so-called mushrooms - it is not advisable to process with a power tool.

To combat internal and focal corrosion, it is more efficient to use, nevertheless, some kind of power tool. Anything will do - an ordinary grinder, a drill, and even a special machine that polishes the car body. Both metal brushes and emery wheels are used as nozzles.

Mechanical removal of rust from a car body
Mechanical removal of rust from a car body

Whatever method and tool you use, there is one important rule in machining. Namely, it is necessary to remove rust not only where it is clearly visible, but also in the vicinity. Even if the metal is already shiny, do not be lazy, clean a little with a margin. Near the visible center of corrosion, there are almost always invisible ones. If they are not removed, they will soon show themselves as swellings under the still fresh paint.

After removing rust from the body mechanically, you must immediately take care of protecting the bare metal. It is advisable to do this on the same day. Otherwise, a new process will begin on the surface of the cleaned metal on the very first night, which will later be under a layer of primer, paint and varnish. It will not make you wait long on the surface in the form of new mushrooms.

To avoid such a development of events, the cleared area must be immediately at least covered with soil. If you used car putty, then it should not be left unprotected for a long time either. It is porous, and moisture with oxygen will reach the metal, nullifying all your efforts. When to continue body repair - paint, varnish, polish and so on - is no longer so critical. The faster the better. But if the rust is removed in more than one place, then painting, of course, is better to postpone until the moment when all the affected areas are cleaned and covered with primer.

Chemical rust removal

A rather controversial way, causing a lot of controversy among motorists. Some say that removing rust from the body with some kind of converter is fast, efficient and safe. There are also those who are categorically against the use of chemistry. Allegedly, it inevitably remains on the metal, and then “eats” the body from the inside. Which of them is right and which is not?

Chemical rust removal
Chemical rust removal

To answer this question, you need to understand what rust converters are. In the vast majority of cases, these funds are nothing more than an acid dissolved to a small concentration. Various components are added to some converters, which, after processing, are designed to protect the metal. For example, zinc, which acts on motorists like valerian on cats. But back to the main ingredient - acid.

To understand how it helps to remove rust from a car body, let's turn again briefly to chemists:

Fe(OH)3 + 3HCl → FeCl3 + 3H2O

With Fe(OH)3 we have already met. This is our rust. HCl is our acid found in rust converters. The result of their interaction is ordinary water and what chemists call ferric chloride. Similarly, if products with other acids are used, water and some kind of compound are always obtained. In some cases, such compounds are very useful, as they form a protective film on the metal surface.

It looks like a nice picture is emerging. But let's get back to those who are categorically against the use of such chemistry to remove rust from a car body with their own hands. The fact is that such beauty is obtained only when all the applied acid has reacted with our Fe (OH)3. If there was not enough rust for her, then she will gladly begin to eat the metal itself.

Here is what this process looks like for chemists:

2HCl + Fe → FeCl2 + H2

For those who do not do chemistry every day, this result may seem very similar to the previous one, where we used acid to fight rust. In part, this is true. As a result, we get the same iron chloride. But there is one caveat. In the first case, we lost what we do not need - rust. Here we dissolved in acid a part of our, still whole, car body.

Therefore, after applying this kind of chemistry, care must be taken that no unreacted acid remains on the metal. It is not necessary to consider its remains under a magnifying glass. All that should be done is to achieve complete removal of rust, and then wash off the residue with plain water. And, with the use of some kind of brush, to be sure. Immediately after the water, we thoroughly dry the metal, and then protect it with the methods described above.

From the point of view of the applicability of the chemical method of removing rust from a car body, it can be safely called universal. But with some reservations. First, in order for the acid to work, it must be provided with access to rust. That is, with internal corrosion, the affected area must first be cleaned mechanically. Secondly, chemistry is useless in the case of through rust. It needs more drastic methods.

We emphasize: the chemical method of removing rust from the body is very dangerous, and even insidious. If acid remains on the metal, if moisture gets there, the part can dissolve faster than corrosion. In addition, this kind of chemistry is likely to ruin the whole paint in neighboring areas. And let's not forget about our own health. Be sure to use personal protective equipment.

Electrochemical rust removal

Compared to the previous method, electrochemical rust removal solves other problems to a greater extent. Namely, the application of a protective coating to the metal. Usually zinc. Accordingly, this process would be more correctly called galvanizing. Many consider this method to be pampering, and rightly so. Nevertheless, in general terms, consider this technology.

Technically, it is implemented as follows. A low-voltage power source, a piece of zinc-plated or pure zinc metal, and an acidic environment (weak acid solution) are taken. The negative pole of the power source is connected to the workpiece, and the positive pole is connected to the zinc electrode. Now, if you force a current to flow through this circuit, the acid will do its job with rust, and the zinc will “migrate” from the positive electrode to the workpiece.

There are two ways to do the above. The first is immersion in the solution of both the parts and the zinc electrode. The second is contact. That is, the zinc electrode is wrapped in some absorbent material (cotton wool, rags), impregnated with an acid solution and driven over the treated area. It is clear that the first method is only suitable for small parts, if we are talking about garage conditions. In the second way, you can at least cover the entire body with zinc, but this will take an extremely long time.

Electrochemical rust removal
Electrochemical rust removal

As real experience shows, the skin is not worth the candle. First, long. Second, it doesn't always work. It is much more effective to apply the usual mechanical removal of rust from the car body, protect the bare area with primer, paint and varnish, and forget about corrosion for several years. Of course, if you only need to process one small area, then it is quite possible to buy a special set for this purpose, and play around at your leisure.

"Surgical" rust removal

This method belongs to the cardinal measures. It is suitable for removing rust internal, hearth, and especially through. It consists in the fact that the area affected by corrosion is roughly cut out by a grinder, after which it is replaced with either putty or sheet metal. It is clear that it is unrealistic to fashion large areas from putty. Although the secondary market sometimes comes across cars with which they did just that. Moreover, they are molded not only from putty, but even from polyurethane foam.

Surgical removal of rust from the body
Surgical removal of rust from the body

This method has two advantages. Firstly, you will definitely not leave rust on the body, which will later manifest itself in the form of internal corrosion. Secondly, you do not need to suffer with stripping and take risks with acid. There are also disadvantages. For the repair of external body parts, the method is not very suitable. It is used primarily to remove rust on the bottom, sills, arches.

Body part replacement

The most cardinal method of removing rust from a car body. In addition, the fastest and most efficient. It is used in cases of focal, internal and through corrosion. The part is simply removed as a whole, and either a new one or removed from the same car that is not affected by rust is installed in its place. The second option sometimes even allows you to do without coloring the replaced part, if you are lucky enough to find it in color.

Body part replacement and rust removal
Body part replacement and rust removal

In general, quickly, reliably, efficiently and without problems. Perhaps the best way to remove rust from fenders, arches, sills, doors, hood and trunk lid. When installing a new part on your car, do not forget to process it from the inside. So it will last much longer. Although a lot, of course, depends on how the part will be painted on the outside.

VIDEO: how to repair rust on your car

Brief summary

Many are afraid of the question - how to remove rust from the car body. It seems extremely difficult, and for beginners it is generally impossible. However, there is nothing unrealistic about this. Especially if you know what rust is, where it comes from, what are the ways to deal with it, and how they work.