Facts, Info and Vehicles

Rust Removal Guide: How to Maintain the Integrity of Your Classic Car


Probably one of the most disturbing and difficult aspects to owning and maintaining a classic car is that one, four letter word that starts with an “R” that we all hate to hear.  Rust.  Rust has been said to be the cancer of cars.  Once a car gets rust, it becomes almost impossible to get rid of it.  Furthermore, once one does get rid of it, it often times comes back if one did not get rid of it correctly or in the right way.  There are certain, very key steps that one has to follow to do this properly.  If the steps are not followed, then the rust often comes back.

Out of everything maintenance and upkeep oriented when it comes to classic cars, this of them all is probably considered to be the most important of them all.  Rust is a big problem.  It can actually be terrifying, because it means the depreciation of one’s investment if the rust is not taken care of properly.  It is bad news for those who have to ultimately deal with it, however, there is a series of steps that can be taken to ensure that the job is done right, the job is done well, and the job is done permanently.

How to Remove Rust

For every actual, workable technique for getting rid of rust there exists about ten “Quick fixes.”  The aim here is to avoid the quick fixes and to not fall into the quick fix trap and to instead come out winning on top with a beautiful, rust-free car.  Here are some tips and tricks to follow to achieve this successfully:

  • Take your time with the prep.  Really do a good job with scraping, sanding, and scrubbing as much rust off of your car with your hand tools as you can.  The more you can get off by hand before you even begin to use any products, the better chance that you have of really, successfully getting the rest of the rust off later.
  • Try multiple different products.  There are rust goos. There are rust bombs.  There are rust sprays. There are rust solvents.  There are rust liquids.  Different cars are made out of slightly different metals, a lot of which depends on the year of the car too.  If a product you are using does not seem to get very good results, don’t assume that the rust is “Just that bad.”  Go get a different product and try something else.
  • Take your time.  You will find this in literally any guide on removing rust.  Take. Your. Time.  This cannot be stressed enough.  The professional classic car restoration specialists spend seventy to eighty percent of their time handling and addressing rust, because it is the single most disruptive agent to a classic car.  If there is one thing that you are going to do right and one thing that you are going to do well, then let it be this.  Take your time with it and there is a greater chance that you will be successful.
  • Repetition and numerous efforts are the key to rust removal.  Go over the same area two, three, even four times to really ensure that the rust is gone.  Rust exists in metal on a chemical level, so just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  Take the same area and go over it numerous times if you have to really ensure that the rust is gone, gone, gone.

These are the best tips for removing rust once and for all and for good.  There are other ways and methods of doing this, but the above shows the most successful ones by far.

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